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W. R. Thomas Middle School

Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet


W. R. Thomas Middle School Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet

Instructions: The Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet will be available online at throughout the summer. All students attending W. R. Thomas Middle in 2011-2012 are to complete this packet with the following recommendations: Based on his or her scheduled Language Arts course in 2011-2012, students in Grades 6, 7, and 8 must complete the Summer Reading Requirement and Assignments: Activities A and B (pages 614). Students in Grades 6, 7, and 8, may also complete the FCAT Prep section of the packet including the reading passages and multiple choice questions. Language Arts/Reading teachers will collect these packets from all students after the summer break. Language Arts/Reading teachers will grade the Summer Reading Requirement and Assignment portion of the packet. This section will be counted towards the first marking period in the 20112012 school year. Language Arts/Reading teachers may also review the reading and writing portions found in the FCAT Prep section of the packet. Accelerated Reader During the 2011-2012 school year, independent reading will be monitored and assessed through the district approved program Accelerated Reader (AR). In this program, students read designated AR books and take quizzes to assess reading comprehension. These quizzes will count 15% towards the students' grade in language arts class each quarter. As such, students will be permitted to satisfy this requirement by taking Accelerated Reader quizzes on their summer reading selections during the first grading period.

Contact Information W.R. Thomas Middle School 13001 SW 26th Street Miami, FL 33175 Phone: (305) 995-3800 Denise Flores Reading Curriculum Leader [email protected] Stacey Williams Language Arts Curriculum Leader [email protected]

W. R. Thomas Middle School Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet 2011


Summer Reading Requirement and Assignment Verification Form

The summer reading requirement at W. R. Thomas Middle School is part of a district-wide summer reading program. The purpose is to promote a life-long commitment to independent reading and to foster a love of literature. We encourage parents and students to discuss the books and their characters. Summer reading provides students with an opportunity for personal exploration, intellectual growth, and reading for enjoyment. As such, we ask that parents support their student in the summer reading program which serves to nurture the student's imagination and build reading skills. Students will be required to read two books from the summer reading list. Afterwards, students are to complete the summer reading assignments, Activities A and B. To ensure students read two books from the summer reading list, Activities A and B cannot be about the same book. Please fill in the following information for the teacher.

Student Name

Activity A

Title of Book Author Total Pages

Activity B

Title of Book Author Total Pages

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------

The signatures below verify that you, as parent and student, acknowledge the successful completion of the respective summer reading requirement.

____________________________________ Student Signature Date

_____________________________________ Parent signature Date

This form should be completed and returned to school no later than Friday, August 26, 2011

W. R. Thomas Middle School Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet 2011


Summer Reading Requirement and Assignments

W. R. Thomas Middle School Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet 2011


Summer Reading Requirement and Assignment

Listed below is the W. R. Thomas summer reading requirement. Students should refer to their respective course and grade level for the upcoming school year. All students are expected to fulfill the required summer reading and assignments. Summer reading packets will be graded by language arts teachers and counted towards the first marking period in the 2011-2012 school year. Please contact the school at (305) 995-3800 should you have any questions. Incoming 6 Grade Grade Level Lexile Range 800-1050 General Ed/Advanced Gifted/Cambridge


Required Reading

Choose Two from the list below (1) The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien ­ 1000 (2) Choose one from the list below. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer ­ 930 Mark Twain All the Lovely Bad Ones: A Ghost Story 670 Mary Downing Hahn Cover-Up: Mystery at the Super Bowl ­ 780 John Feinstein Everything on a Waffle ­ 950 Polly Horvath Gossamer ­ 660 Lois Lowry Maniac Magee ­ 820 Jerry Spinelli Schooled ­ 740 Gordon Korman The View From Saturday ­ 870 E. L. Konigsburg


Classic Literature Fiction Sports Fiction Fiction Fantasy Multicultural Fiction Humorous Fiction Fiction

Incoming 7 Grade Grade Level Lexile Range 850-1100 General Ed/Advanced Gifted/Cambridge

Required Reading

Choose two from the list below. (1) The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros ­ 870 (2) Choose one from the list below. Absolutely Normal Chaos - 900 Sharon Creech Fiction The Black Pearl ­ 980 Scott O'Dell Classic Literature Bound ­ 800 Donna Jo Napoli Multicultural Fiction Flush ­ 830 Carl Hiaasen Fiction Freak the Mighty ­ 1000 Rodman Philbrick Fiction Peter and the Starcatchers ­ 770 Dave Barry Fantasy Tangerine ­ 680 Edward Bloor Fiction Silent to the Bone ­ 810 E. L. Konigsburg Realistic Fiction

Incoming 8 Grade Grade Level Lexile Range 900-1150 General Ed/Advanced Gifted


Required Reading

Choose two from the list below. (1) The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert L. Stevenson ­ 1040 (2) Choose one from the list below. Before We Were Free ­ 890 Julia Alvarez Historical/Multicultural The Call of the Wild ­ 1120 Jack London Classic Literature Code Orange ­ 850 Caroline Cooney Fiction Flipped ­ 720 Wendelin Van Draanen Realistic Fiction Hatchet ­ 1020 Gary Paulsen Fiction Summer Ball ­ 910 Mike Lupica Sports Fiction The House of the Scorpion ­ 660 Nancy Farmer Science Fiction Savvy ­ 1070 Ingrid Law Fantasy

W. R. Thomas Middle School Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet 2011


Summer Reading Activity (A) facebook/characterbook

After completing the summer reading requirement, select one of the books and complete the activity on the following page. Remember that the book you select for this assignment cannot be used for Activity B.

Activity Instructions: On the handout that follows, create a mock Facebook page (characterbook) for one of your favorite characters from your summer reading. The instructions are outlined below.

1. In the Photo Column (left) draw a picture of the character, draw and label pictures of people (other characters) he/she knows, and draw two pictures that illustrate the setting of the story. You may also use magazine cutouts or computer graphics. 2. Under Basic/Personal Information (right) choose a quotation to post as the character's status (how he/she is doing), fill out basic information, physical characteristics (what he/she looks like), and hobbies. o For Feelings, list 2 quotations (and page numbers) from the novel that best shows how the character feels about his/her life. o For About Me, list 2 quotations (and page numbers) from the novel that best show what the character thinks about himself/herself. 3. On the Wall list 3 quotations (and page numbers) from other characters. These characters are essentially `posting' on your character's wall. Posts may include someone (another character) giving your character advice, or any specific words/dialogue (from the posting character) that can be taken from the book.

**Don't forget to use quotation marks**

W. R. Thomas Middle School Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet 2011




Home Profile Friends Inbox Status:









Basic Information ----------------------------------------------------------------Name: Photo of Me People I Know Age: Parents: Siblings: Personal Information -----------------------------------------------------------Physical Characteristics: ______________ ______________ Gender:


______________ Photos

______________ Feelings:

About Me:


Wall _____________ says...

_____________ says...

_____________ says... _______________________________

Summer Writing Activity (B)

Directions: Respond to the writing prompt listed below. Use the pages provided. You must select a different book from the one you used in Activity A. It is recommended that you plan on a scrap sheet of paper before writing your essay.


Your teacher is in the process of choosing a novel to be taught in your language arts class. This year, you have been asked to recommend one of the books from your summer reading. Before you begin to write, think about which summer reading book you would recommend to your teacher. Why should your teacher choose it? What impact will this book have on the students in your class? Now write to convince your teacher to choose the book you read over the summer. Be sure to offer reasons why the novel is a good choice for your class to read.



W. R. Thomas Middle School Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet 2011


W. R. Thomas Middle School Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet 2011


W. R. Thomas Middle School Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet 2011



W. R. Thomas Middle School Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet 2011


Reading Strategies That Work Have you ever read a very long passage and found that you really don't remember much of what you have read? If the answer is yes, you are not alone. Often times, readers lose track of what is going on in the selection as they read. Use one or more of the tips below as you read through the passages on the upcoming pages. Read and Write Something After reading the first paragraph or section, draw a line under it. Then pause and think about what you have read. Try to summarize what you have read by writing a few words in the margin that contain the main idea of the paragraph. If you cannot summarize it, go back and reread the section and try it again. Question the Author After reading a selection ask these questions: o What has the author done to help me understand the passage? o What is the author trying to tell me in this passage? o What does the author expect me to know after reading this passage? Answer the questions and discuss your answers with your parent or a classmate who is working on the same passage. Visualize while Reading As you read the passage, try to create a mental image of what the author is describing. Share the image you have in your mind with a parent or classmate who is working on the same passage. Know that making pictures in your mind helps you to understand and clarify what you have read.

W. R. Thomas Middle School Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet 2011


Read the article "Ladybugs" before answering the questions.


by Jennifer Galvin Ladybugs have captured the hearts of people everywhere. These helpful beetles are fun to watch and enjoy. What you may not know about ladybugs is how helpful they are to the plants around your neighborhood. Farmers and gardeners like ladybugs because they eat insects that could harm plants. There are many questions that we would like to answer about these insects. What do ladybugs look like? Ladybugs are beetles. They are insects and have six legs. Ladybugs have three main parts to their bodies: the head, the thorax, and the abdomen. On their heads, they have two antennae that are sensitive to smell and touch and two sets of compound eyes. Ladybugs have two sets of wings. The ladybug's shell, the elytra, is actually its first set of wings. When the ladybug opens up the elytra, then the second set of wings are visible. The second, thin pair of wings, which are normally kept folded under the elytra, are the wings the ladybug mainly uses to fly. The elytra provide lift.

Do ladybugs look like ladybugs when they are born? When a ladybug is born, it is not the red-orange beetle with black spots that you are used to seeing in your garden. Ladybug larvae hatch from eggs and begin a process called metamorphosis. This metamorphosis, or change, starts when the female ladybug lays several yellow eggs on a plant where aphids1 or scale insects are found, so her young will have plenty of food when they are born. The eggs gradually turn white. Ladybug larvae are white when they are born. After they hatch, the larvae turn black. The black ladybug larvae are already helpful to the plants on which they are born, because they are born ready to eat aphids or other harmful insects. Each larva can eat several aphids a day. Each larva must molt, or shed its skin, at least three times before it is ready to enter the next stage of metamorphosis. After it has molted three times, the larva attaches itself to a leaf or stem with a sticky substance and emerges as a pupa. The pupal case is orange with black spots, but it still does not look much like the ladybugs you are used to seeing.


aphids: small insects that feed on plant sap 13

W. R. Thomas Middle School Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet 2011

After about five days, a fully grown, but soft and light orange ladybug emerges from the pupal case. In the hours afterwards, the ladybug's shell hardens and its true colors and spots appear. Different species of ladybugs have different numbers of spots and different colorings. Are all ladybugs red with black spots? There are many different types of ladybugs. They can be red, orange, or gold with black spots. They can also be black with red, orange, or gold spots. There are even some ladybugs that are gray or brown. There are about 4000 different species of ladybugs around the world. There are approximately 150 types in the United States. Ladybugs are hard to tell apart by their spots alone. Ladybugs of the same species can have different numbers of spots. Where do ladybugs live? Ladybugs live where they can find the bugs that they like to eat, mainly aphids and scale bugs. Aphids live mainly on alfalfa, wheat, and roses. Scale insects live mainly in apple and orange orchards. A good place to look for ladybugs would be near the places these plants grow. Ladybugs will stay in an area as long as there is enough food. How long do ladybugs live? During warm summer months, ladybugs live about three to four weeks. Females mate and lay eggs so new ladybugs hatch to replace the ladybugs that die. When winter gets close and the weather starts getting cold, ladybugs hibernate. Ladybugs born when winter is coming can live for up to six months. Where do ladybugs hibernate? Ladybugs hibernate wherever they can find a place away from the cold. Many choose to gather together to hibernate. Ladybugs might hibernate inside rock crevices and under fallen leaves. How do brightly colored ladybugs hide from predators? They don't hide. Their bright color keeps the predators away. Birds and other predators that have tasted a ladybug know they don't taste very good. They are very bitter. Birds see that same bright color and know to stay away from the ladybug. Unfortunately the first ladybug has to be a sacrifice so the bird can learn. Ladybugs also roll over and play dead to look less appetizing. They ooze bitter orange liquid from their leg joints when they are frightened. Not very appealing for the predator's appetite!

W. R. Thomas Middle School Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet 2011


Answer Numbers 1-6. Base your answers on the article "Ladybugs."

1. The author organizes the article by: A. explaining the life stages of a ladybug in order B. listing the important parts of the body of a ladybug C. presenting a series of questions and answers about ladybugs D. using a personal experience to share information about ladybugs 2. What is NOT a function of the ladybug's elytra? A. hiding the thin wings B. covering the body C. flying forward D. providing lift 3. Which two words from the article have almost the same meaning? A. molt, shed B. gather, hatch C. change, process D. grow, hibernate 4. According to the article, the preferred diet of ladybugs is made of: A. bird and insect eggs B. aphids and scale bugs C. pupae and black larvae D. beetles and flying insects 5. The best place to look for ladybugs is: A. in flower beds B. in piles of leaves C. in rocky areas and grassy yards D. in wheat fields and apple orchards 6. According to the article, in which situation would a bird most likely prey on a ladybug? A. when the bird is hungry for ladybugs B. when the ladybug exhibits colorful spots C. when the ladybug gives off a sticky liquid D. when the bird is unfamiliar with ladybugs

W. R. Thomas Middle School Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet 2011


Read the article "Catfish Bigger Than Kids" before answering the questions. Walking catfish. Nature equipped this feisty little catfish, found in southern Florida, with an extra lung for breathing on dry land. When its swimming hole dries up, the walking catfish waddles on stiff forward fins in search of another lake or stream. If an enemy attacks, the fish flares its top and front fins like sabers and leaps at the attacker to scare it off. Armored catfish. This cat has heavy, bony plates protecting its body. The armor makes the fish difficult to fillet. To cook it, toss the fish whole into a fire. When it is done, crack it open for eating. Some armored catfish are found in Florida, but the 100-pounders live in South America. Rounding out the family of odd catfish are talking catfish, which make guttural2 sounds when you pull them from the water; climbing catfish, which scramble up shore brush in search of food; electric catfish, which can deliver a mild shock; and blind catfish, which dwell in the inky blackness of underwater caves. Blind catfish find food through taste buds in their eight whiskers.

Catfish Bigger Than Kids

By Homer Circle Can you imagine a catfish bigger than a boy? Some bewhiskered giants bigger than several boys lurk in South America's jungle rivers. Weighing in at 300 pounds, one of them can feed a lot of hungry catfish lovers. I encountered one of these whoppers at a remote airstrip in Colombia a few years back. Just as I got off the plane, I saw a man offering a giant catfish for sale. It drooped over a wheelbarrow, head and tail almost touching the ground. I figured it weighed more than 150 pounds. Locals told me about seeing huge catfish gobble down many things. I can believe it. The mouth of a 300-pound catfish must be as large as a washtub. There are more than 1,000 kinds of catfish; 28 species are found in the United States' lakes and rivers. This huge family has some mighty peculiar members. Let's meet a few.

W. R. Thomas Middle School Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet 2011


guttural: growling 16

Most catfish have four whiskers on the upper jaw and four on the lower jaw. Sensory pores on these whiskers help the fish smell and taste food even in the muddiest of water. The United States does not have catfish anywhere near the size of those in South America. But in some large U.S. rivers, blue and flathead catties do top 100 pounds. Most of the catfish you are likely to catch will be much smaller, about frying-pan size. All 28 kinds of catfish found in the United States are good to eat. When you catch one, remember that the dorsal, or top, fin and the two forward, or pectoral, fins have poison glands at their bases. They can give you painful puncture wounds. The safest way to handle an average-size catfish is to wear a glove and grab it by the lower jaw. Then use wire cutters to clip off these dangerous fins. To cook catfish, skin and slice them into fillets or steaks. Flour them and fry in oil until golden brown. You will see how easy it is to overeat these tasty fish. Answer Numbers 1-6. Base your answers on the article "Catfish Bigger Than Kids." 1. Why did the author write this article? A. to explain how to catch a variety of catfish B. to encourage readers to go fishing for catfish C. to tell readers about the world's largest catfish D. to describe the unusual characteristics of catfish 2. Read this sentence from the article. If an enemy attacks, the fish flares its top and front fins like sabers and leaps at the attacker to scare it off. What does the word sabers mean? A. jaws B. plates C. swords D. whiskers 3. What is the author's attitude toward catfish in this article? A. afraid B. hostile C. amused D. fascinated 4. Which statement provides the BEST evidence that catfish can be dangerous to people? A. Some catfish can walk from one lake to another. B. Many catfish have sharp pectoral fins that release poison. C. Most catfish have whiskers on their upper and lower jaws. D. Armored catfish have bony plates that protect their bodies. 5. If the article needed a new title, which would be BEST? A. "Catfish out of Water" B. "A Most Unusual Family" C. "The Fish That Got Away" D. "The Hidden Dangers of Catfish"

W. R. Thomas Middle School Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet 2011 17

Additional Resources

W. R. Thomas Middle School Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet 2011


Reading Plus®

Reading Plus is an online reading program available to the students at W. R. Thomas Middle School. Since this is a web-based program, students will be able to access it from their home computers. This program provides effective practice with attention building, silent reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension building activities. This practice helps improve a student's silent reading rate, thus improving his or her performance on standardized tests. Please make sure your child uses it at least 3 times a week for a period of 30 minutes. Reading Plus® program has been proven to increase reading gains of all students. The program will be available for summer usage until August 7, 2011. Log-in instructions: 1. Website: (Once logged on, click on "Requirement Check" in the center of the page. Your computer will go through an online check to make sure your computer has all necessary technical requirements. An "x" will appear if your computer needs to be upgraded to the requirements.) 2. Click on 3. Enter and submit the Site Code: (wrthomas)

4. Use the drop down arrow to find the class Name. Select the Links to Learning Class corresponding to the first letter of your last name. For example, John Smith will select Links to Learning S because his last name begins with "S".

5. Use the drop down arrow to find and highlight your name on list. Your password is MDCPSstudentid. For example, John's student ID is 123456. Therefore, his password is MDCPS123456.

6. When you are done with your session, click on "My Progress" tab on top and view your graph. Then click on Guided Reading link on bottom to review your scores. Remember your goal is to get 70% or higher in comprehension. Reading Plus Summer Contact Support 1-866-598-9284 or [email protected]

W. R. Thomas Middle School Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet 2011 19

FCAT Explorer The Florida Department of Education offers students in Florida's public school system access to an educational Web site called FCAT Explorer. This free resource is designed to help your child practice reading, math, and science skills outlined in the Sunshine State Standards. Currently, FCAT Explorer offers reading programs for 3rd, 4th, 6th, 8th, and 10th grades, math programs for 5th, 8th, and 10th grades, and science programs for 5th, 8th, and 11th grades. You can find FCAT Explorer on the Internet at Your child's classroom teacher has provided your child with a sign-in name and password. FCAT Explorer practice programs provide your child with practice questions and other educational materials that strengthen the skills measured by the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) for reading, math, and science. The FCAT Explorer provides a creative, exciting context for your child's learning experience while reinforcing subject areas such as science and history. About FCAT Explorer: FCAT Explorer is available to all Florida public school children, their teachers, and their parents. Children can access the FCAT Explorer from computers at school or at home. FCAT Explorer includes a Parent and Family Guide, offering practical advice and focused activities for parents, guardians, and mentors who want to help children succeed. FCAT Explorer is free. There is no cost to students, teachers, schools, or school districts.

For your child to use FCAT Explorer at home, your home computer must meet the technical requirements listed below. If you have any questions concerning these technical requirements or the use of FCAT Explorer, please contact the FCAT Explorer Help Desk toll-free at 1-888-750-3228 or click on the "Contact Us" e-mail link available on the FCAT Explorer Web site. Technical support staff will be happy to assist you Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Operating System: Windows 98 or higher or Macintosh system 9.0 or higher Web Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher or Netscape Navigator 4.8 or higher recommended. Please note: Netscape Navigator 6.0 is not supported for FCAT Explorer use on any operating system. Plug-ins: Macromedia Flash Player 6 minimum. Science Station requires Flash Player 7 or higher. (a quick and easy download is available from the FCAT Explorer Web site.) Display Resolution: SVGA (800 x 600 or higher) recommended; VGA (640 x 480) minimum. Display Color Depth: 16-bit (thousands of colors) recommended; 8-bit (256 colors) minimum, Internet Connection: 56.6 kbps modem or network connection speed recommended (28.8 kbps modem minimum) Sound: A sound card and speakers or headphones are optional.

We believe you and your child will find the FCAT Explorer practice programs to be a valuable learning resource.

W. R. Thomas Middle School Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet 2011 20

FCAT Links Information about advancement, career and college planning, mentoring, school choice, and other education services Information about the vital role communities and families play in a child's education. Information about how to read your child's FCAT report. FCAT information for parents and students This Web page includes a brochure you can download in Spanish, English, or Haitian Creole. It also includes an FCAT fact sheet, sample and released FCAT tests, and frequently asked questions about the FCAT. Statewide Recent FCAT Scores This page includes reading, math, science and writing test scores. You can compare state, district, and school scores. This page also includes other general information links and press releases. Microsoft Excel is needed to open many of the documents on this Web page. Released and Sample Test Items This Web page has sample test questions with answer keys and correlation to benchmarks. These questions come from sets no longer in use on the FCAT. Check this page frequently as new materials are released throughout the year. Information about FCAT Design This page offers information about how the test is designed, the kinds and quantities of questions included on each test, and the various levels of difficulty for each grade level. FCR--STEM (Florida Center for Research in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) A multi-disciplinary research center created to improve K-12 teaching in science, mathematics, and technology and prepare students for higher education and STEM careers in the 21st Century.

W. R. Thomas Middle School Summer Break Language Arts/Reading Student Packet 2011



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