• June 2020

    Dear Parents/Guardians of Incoming Sixth Graders:

    While your children are beginning what is sure to be a wonderful summer vacation, we are also concerned that the COVID-19 crisis and prolonged school closure will weaken the many reading gains that our students have made this year. When it comes to English class, we think the best way to maintain these gains is through more engaging reading. We recognize that you also want to help prepare them for a successful start to their middle school years and the development of lifelong reading enjoyment. 

    The New York State Education Department recommends that all middle school students read a minimum of 25 books each year to achieve fluent literacy. Our summer reading program is designed to encourage reading for pleasure and to help students develop and maintain reading proficiency. All incoming Sixth Graders to Orchard Park Middle School are expected to read at least one book from the 6th grade reading list (below) during the summer break. Summer reading report forms can be downloaded by clicking on the link on the summer reading page. Each child should fill out this sheet after every book she/he reads. Your support and involvement in your child's summer reading is encouraged.

    Thank you - your support makes a real difference!

    Happy Reading,

    OPMS Sixth Grade Teachers


    Suggested Reading List for New 6th Graders



    GRL: Guided Reading Level (Fountas & Pinnell) indicates text complexity A-Z

    [RR] – recommended for reluctant readers

    Realistic Fiction

    Almost Home, by Joan Bauer [RR] Lexile: 590 GRL: W
    Sixth-grader Sugar and her mother lose their beloved house and experience the harsh world of homelessness.

    Becoming Naomi León, by Pam Muñoz Ryan - Lexile: 830 GRL: V
    When Naomi's absent mother resurfaces to claim her, Naomi runs away to Mexico with her great-grandmother and younger brother in search of her father.

    The Fear Place, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor - Lexile: 810 GRL: S
    When he and his older brother Gordon are left camping alone in the Rocky Mountains, twelve-year-old Doug faces his fear of heights and his feelings about Gordon -- with the help of a cougar.

    Fish in a Tree, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt - Lexile: 550 GRL: W
    Ally's greatest fear is that everyone will find out she is as dumb as they think she is because she still doesn't know how to read.

    Jake Maddox Series, by various authors [RR] GRL: ~M-Q
    Often found under the author name Jake Maddox, each book in this series focuses on a sports theme and explores teamwork, fair play, and discipline. The books are mostly independent of one another and typically may be read in any order.

    The Melting of Maggie Bean, by Tricia Rayburn - Lexile: 1010 GRL: X
    Hoping to make new friends and gain the attention of her crush, Peter Applewood, overweight, straight-A student Maggie Bean, decides to try out for the synchronized swim team.

    Moo, by Sharon Creech - Lexile: 790 GRL: T
    Following one family's momentous move from the city to rural Maine, an unexpected bond develops between twelve-year-old Reena and one very ornery cow. When Reena, her little brother, Luke, and their parents first move to Maine, Reena doesn't know what to expect. She's ready for beaches, blueberries, and all the lobster she can eat. Instead, her parents "volunteer" Reena and Luke to work for an eccentric neighbor named Mrs. Falala, who has a pig named Paulie, a cat named China, a snake named Edna and that stubborn cow, Zora.

    My Life in Pink and Green, by Lisa Greenwald - Lexile: 680 GRL: T
    Lucy's family's beloved pharmacy is in financial trouble.  When she learns of a grant to help the store become more environmentally friendly -- and expand into an eco-spa, her dream business -- she's determined to get it.

    My Louisiana Sky, by Kimberly Willis Holt - Lexile: 770 GRL: T
    Growing up in Saitter, Louisiana, in the 1950s, twelve-year-old Tiger Ann struggles with her feelings about her stern, but loving grandmother, her mentally slow parents, and her good friend and neighbor, Jesse.

    The Perfect Score, by Rob Buyea - Lexile:710 GRL: Y
    Randi the gymnast, Gavin the football fanatic, Trevor the tough guy, Scott the brainiac, and Natalie the know-it-all are all in Mrs. Woods's sixth-grade class. When the time for statewide assessment tests arrives, these unlikely friends band together to put in motion a big idea that will have huge consequences.

    Rain, Reign, by Ann M. Martin - Lexile:720 GRL: V
    Struggling with Asperger's syndrome, Rose shares a bond with her beloved dog, but when the dog goes missing during a storm, Rose is forced to confront the limits of her comfort levels, even if it means leaving her routines in order to search for her pet.

    Secret Language of Girls, by Frances O'Roark Dowell - Lexile: 870 GRL: V
    Marylin and Kate have been friends since nursery school, but when Marylin becomes a middle school cheerleader and Kate begins to develop other interests, their relationship is put to the test.

    Shouting at the Rain,  by Lynda Mullaly Hunt - Lexile: 560 GRL: X
    Delsie loves tracking the weather--lately, though, it seems the squalls are in her own life. She's always lived with her kindhearted Grammy, but now she's looking at their life with new eyes and wishing she could have a "regular family." Delsie observes other changes in the air, too--the most painful being a friend who's outgrown her. 

    Sports Story Series, by Fred Bowen [RR] GRL: ~N-R
    Books in this series by Fred Bowen focus on a single sport. Each book is fast-paced and action packed. The books may be read in any order.

    A Week in the Woods, by Andrew Clements - Lexile: 820 GRL: T
    The fifth grade's annual camping trip in the woods tests Mark's survival skills and his ability to relate to a teacher who seems out to get him.

    You Go First, by Erin Entrada Kelly - Lexile: 640 GRL: M
    Twelve-year-old Charlotte Lockard and eleven-year-old Ben Boxer live across the country from each other and know each other from an online Scrabble game. Although they are different in many ways, the two find friendship and connection as they face family issues and the turmoil of middle school.

    Historical Fiction

    Dear America series, by various authors GRL: T and up
    Written in a diary format, each historical novel is extensively researched from actual letters and diaries, allowing readers to experience the daily lives of girls from different times in American history.

    A Drowned Maiden's Hair: A Melodrama, by Laura Amy Schlitz - Lexile: 690 GRL: R
    At the Barbary Asylum for Female Orphans, eleven-year-old Maud is adopted by three spinster sisters moonlighting as mediums who take her home and reveal to her the role she will play in their séances.

    Homeless Bird, by Gloria Whelan - Lexile: 800 GRL: X
    Thirteen-year-old Koly enters into an ill-fated arranged marriage and must either suffer a destiny dictated by India's customs or find the courage to oppose tradition.

    My Name is America series, by various authors GRL: U and up
    Adventure-based historical fiction series written in journal (diary) format and designed to appeal to boy readers.

    Nory Ryan's Song, by Patricia Reilly Giff - Lexile: 600 GRL: T
    When a terrible blight attacks Ireland's potato crop in 1845, twelve-year-old Nory Ryan's courage and ingenuity helps her family and neighbors survive.  

    A Single Shard, by Linda Sue Park - Lexile: 920 GRL: U
    Tree-ear, a thirteen-year-old orphan in medieval Korea, lives under a bridge near a potters' village, and longs to learn how to throw the delicate celadon ceramics himself.

    Something Upstairs, by Avi - Lexile: 580 GRL: T
    When he moves from Los Angeles to Providence, Rhode Island, Kenny discovers that his new house is haunted by the spirit of a black slave boy who asks Kenny to return with him to the early nineteenth century and prevent his murder by slave traders.

    Turtle in Paradise, by Jennifer L. Holm. - Lexile: 610 GRL: S
    In 1935, when her mother gets a job housekeeping for a woman who does not like children, eleven-year-old Turtle is sent to stay with relatives she has never met in far away Key West, Florida.


    11 Birthdays, by Wendy Mass - Lexile: 650 GRL: V
    Peculiar things begin to happen when Amanda and Leo plan to celebrate their eleventh birthday separately after celebrating their first nine same-day birthdays together.

    Bob, by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead - Lexile: 590 GRL: n/a
    Ten-year-old Livy hasn't visited her grandmother in Australia in five years, and when she returns, she gets the feeling she forgot something from her last visit. She then meets a small green creature named Bob, who reminds Livy that she promised to help him get home, and he's been waiting for her ever since.

    The Boggart, by Susan Cooper - Lexile: 1030 GRL: U
    After visiting the castle in Scotland which her family has inherited and returning home to Canada, twelve-year-old Emily finds that she has accidentally brought back with her a boggart, an invisible and mischievous spirit with a fondness for practical jokes.

    Gregor the Overlander, by Suzanne Collins [RR] Lexile: 630 GRL: V
    When eleven-year-old Gregor and his two-year-old sister are pulled into a strange underground world, they trigger an epic battle involving humans, bats, rats, cockroaches, and spiders while on a quest foretold by ancient prophecy.

    Grump, by Liesl Shurtliff - Lexile: 630 GRL: W
    Borlen (nicknamed "Grump") has always dreamed of visiting the Surface, so when the opportunity to leave the dwarf caverns arises, he jumps at the chance. He befriends Queen Elfrida, who feeds him all the rubies he can eat and allows him to rule at her side in exchange for magic and information. But when Elfrida commands him to do something horrible to her stepdaughter, Snow White, Grump finds himself in a lot of trouble. He's bound by magic to obey the queen, but also to protect Snow White. Grump will have to find a way out of his predicament and do the right thing.

    Island of the Aunts, by Eva Ibbotson - Lexile: 890 GRL: U-V
    As they get older, several sisters decide that they must kidnap children and bring them to their secluded island home to help with the work of caring for an assortment of unusual sea creatures.

    The Lost Years of Merlin, by T.A. Barron - Lexile: 770 GRL: S
    A young boy who has no identity nor memory of his past washes ashore on the coast of Wales and finds his true name after a series of fantastic adventures.

    The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate [RR] Lexile: 570 GRL: S
    When Ivan, a gorilla who has lived for years in a down-and-out circus-themed mall, meets Ruby, a baby elephant that has been added to the mall, he decides that he must find her a better life.

    Redwall Series, by Brian Jacques - Lexile: 890 GRL: Z
    An epic saga by a master of the animal fantasy genre.  In this first volume, the peaceful life of ancient Redwall Abbey is shattered by the arrival of the evil rat Cluny and his villainous hordes.  Matthias, a young mouse, determines to find the legendary sword of Martin the Warrior which, he is convinced, will help Redwall's inhabitants destroy the enemy.

    Secrets of Droon series, by Tony Abbott - Lexile: 610 GRL: O
    Eric and his friends find entry into the mysterious world of Droon by using a staircase in Eric's basement. What fate awaits them there?  The first volume in the series is, The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet.

    The Wishing Spell, by Chris Colfer - Lexile: 720 GRL: U
    Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, twins Alex and Conner leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.


    The Door to Time, by Pierdomenico Baccalario - Lexile: 610 GRL: S
    After moving from London to an old mansion on the English coast, eleven-year-old twins Jason and Julia discover that their new home has twisting tunnels, strange artifacts from around the world, and a mysterious, locked door. This is the first book in the series, Ulysses Moore.

    All the Lovely Bad Ones : A Ghost Story, by Mary Downing Hahn - Lexile: 670 GRL: W
    Travis and his sister Corey decide to boost business at their grandmother's Vermont inn by staging a few "hauntings" that soon draw tourists from across the country, but when their antics awaken a dark force, they must find a way to put to rest the ghosts they have disturbed.

    Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story, by Mary Downing Hahn - Lexile: 750 GRL: U
    Molly and Michael dislike their spooky new stepsister Heather but realize that they must try to save her when she seems ready to follow a ghost child to her doom.     

    The Eyes of the Amaryllis, by Natalie Babbitt - Lexile: 840 GRL: V
    The ship Amaryllis sinks in a hurricane, but for 30 years the captain's widow waits for him to send her a message from the bottom of the sea. With her granddaughter waiting with her, the story reveals that the line between reality and imagination is indefinable.

    Who Was That Masked Man Anyway?,  by Avi - Lexile: 420 GRL: T
    When nearly everyone else is thinking about fighting World War II, sixth-grader Frankie Wattleson gets in trouble at home and at school because of his preoccupation with his favorite adventure programs on the radio.


    Maze of Bones (39 Clues Series, book #1), by Rick Riordan - Lexile: 610 GRL: U
    When their beloved Aunt Grace dies, Dan, 11, and Amy, 14—along with other Cahill descendants — are faced with an unusual choice: inherit one million dollars or participate in a perilous treasure hunt.  Cahills have steered the course of history for centuries and this quest's outcome will bring the victors unimaginable power and affect all of humankind.

    Beardance, by Will Hobbs - Lexile: 890 GRL: U-V
    While accompanying an elderly rancher on a trip into the San Juan Mountains, Cloyd, a Ute Indian boy, tries to help two orphaned grizzly cubs survive the winter and, at the same time, completes his spirit mission.

    Call Me Francis Tucket, by Gary Paulsen - Lexile: 1050 GRL: W
    While on a wagon train headed for Oregon, fourteen-year-old Francis Tucket is kidnapped by Pawnee Indians and then falls in with a one-armed trapper who teaches him how to live in the wild.  First in the Paulsen series: Tucket Adventures.

    Far North, by Will Hobbs - Lexile: 820 GRL: V
    After the destruction of their floatplane, sixteen-year-old Gabe and his Dene friend, Raymond, struggle to survive a winter in the wilderness of the Northwest Territories of Canada.

    Jason's Gold, by Will Hobbs - Lexile: 860 GRL: T
    In 1897, fifteen-year-old Jason embarks on a ten thousand-mile journey in hopes of striking it rich after hearing the news that gold has been discovered in Canada's Yukon Territory.  This book has a sequel, Down the Yukon.


    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl - Lexile: 810 GRL: R
    Each of five children lucky enough to discover an entry ticket into Mr. Willy Wonka's mysterious chocolate factory takes advantage of the situation in his own way.

    The Great Brain, by John D. Fitzgerald - Lexile: 840 GRL: T
    The exploits of the Great Brain of Adenville, Utah, are described by his younger brother, frequently the victim of the Great Brain's schemes for gaining prestige or money.

    Hank Zipzer Series, by Henry Winkler [RR] GRL: ~O-R
    The first book in the Hank Zipzer series is Niagara Falls, Or Does It? However, the series has been restarted more recently with The Crazy Classroom Cascade. The series focuses on the antics of Hank, the “world’s greatest underachiever” who suffers from dyslexia. It is based on the real life of Henry Winkler.

    Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, by Jack Gantos - Lexile: 970 GRL: T
    To the constant disappointment of his mother and his teachers, Joey has trouble paying attention or controlling his mood swings when his prescription medications wear off and he starts getting worked up and acting wired.

    Knights of the Kitchen Table, by Jon Scieszka - Lexile: 630 GRL: P
    One minute they're looking at pictures of knights in the book, a birthday gift from Joe's magician uncle, the next minute they're battling fire-breathing dragons and a foul-smelling giant in King Arthur's Britain. Will Joe, Fred, and Sam escape death from these only to die at the hands of a fearsome Black Knight?  

    Skinnybones, by Barbara Park - Lexile: 590 GRL: P
    Alex's active sense of humor helps him get along with the school braggart, make the most of his athletic talents, and simply get by in a hectic world.

    Zack Files Series by Dan Greenburg [RR] Lexile: ~400 GRL: N
    The Zack Files contains 30 books, each of which is a humorous take on the main character, Zack, dealing with a supernatural issue. The first book, Great-Grandpa’s in the Litter Box, focuses on what happens when Zack gets a talking cat from the animal shelter which claims to be his great grandpa. The series does not need to be read in order, but it may help with minor details from one book to the next.


    These books may be available in the school's Sora e-books app, the public library system, or at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com.