MS 51 Summer Learning Guide

Summer reading and more for 2021

Restore Reading Joy and Fight Summer Slide with a Summer Learning Plan!

Our kids have been through a lot since the COVID-19 pandemic reached NYC in March 2019, and I know that my family is looking forward to the break from the stress of blended and remote learning. The well-documented "summer slide" phenomenon is always on an educator's mind in June and most parents I know have some anxiety about where their children are academically after all we've been through.

Never fear, though: Reading teacher and expert advocate Donalyn Miller writes that "reading is the only activity consistently linked to summer learning." The NYSED research brief "The Importance of Summer Reading states "the body of existing research demonstrates the critical importance that the early development of summer reading habits can play in providing the foundation for later success. Free independent reading with access to a broad range of genres, formats, and subjects is the single best method we have to combat summer slide AND rekindle the reading joy that leads directly to an intrinsic love of learning.

Last year, The Washington Post ran a great article about how to encourage teen readers that has tips to break kids AND adults out of their reading slumps. My professional advice to you: keep summer reading fun, light, and social. Volume matters most, and kids read more when they are allowed free choice, so take advantage of a wide range of e-books and e-audiobooks available through the resources below AND get back to the library with public libraries opening more branches for browsing each week. Any reading that your students do this summer will help get them ready for school in the fall, so don't despair if you find them in a giant stack of manga all summer! I hope you and your kids find some great books and resources to share together and I can't wait to see all our returning students back IN PERSON in September!

MS 51 Summer Reading Challenge

Incoming 6th graders and rising 6th & 7th graders, take our summer reading challenge. Graduating 8th graders, check out our list of 50 great books to read before high school. There's something in our recommendations to keep everyone reading all summer! All of the links connect to e-books in our citywide digital library through Sora.

Incoming 6th Grade

Class of 2023 (Current 6th Graders Rising to 7th)

Class of 2022 (Current 7th Graders Rising to 8th)

Graduating 8th Grade

Sora: Our Citywide Digital Library

This year, NYC DOE has given us the most incredible collection of digital books through Sora in our Citywide Digital Library. MS 51 students have access to TWO collections in Sora this year (NYCDOE and HVLA) AND can integrate their public library information to search for ebooks in one app! Sign in with your account information and you can search for books in a browser or download the app to your phone or iPad. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to set up and use Sora to find your next great read.

Get More Graphic Novels & Manga with ComicsPlus

ComicsPlus is a subscription service bringing great comics, graphic novels, and manga to middle school readers. Log in with your account to read tons of great comics. You can get started with Ms. Ahart's top 10 titles in ComicsPlus!

Request an Open eBook Access Code from Ms. Ahart

Ms. Ahart has codes available to access First Book’s free collection of eBooks. Fill out the Open eBooks access request form and Ms. Ahart will email you codes and instructions to download the app for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. NOTE: you will need the code and the app to browse this collection and read these books; not currently available on a computer or for Kindle.

Free Reading Resource Guide from MS 51 Library

There are SO MANY free resources for reading online available to us since remote learning began in 2019. You can still view all those resources and all the book recommendation lists your ELA teachers shared with you to find something else great to read this summer! The MS 51 Library website also has a "Book Life" section that can give you even more amazing book lists and reading resources for the summer and beyond.

Public Library Summer Reading Program

Starting in June, Summer Reading 2021 launches at Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Library with "Read What You Love/Love What You Read" as the theme at all locations with fun programs and activities for all ages. Join us for live music, story time, scavenger hunts and special performances.

Get some great summer reading recommendations from Brooklyn Public librarians!

Watch some videos to learn how to search for a book and place a hold in the Brooklyn Public Library catalog and how to use BPL's catalog to grow your reading wishlist!

Download Free Audiobooks Each Week All Summer Long

SYNC is a free summer audiobook program for teens 13+. SYNC will give away two complete audiobook downloads a week--pairs of high interest titles, based on weekly themes. SYNC is sponsored by AudioFile Magazine and titles are delivered through the OverDrive app. Sign up to get notifications when the FREE audiobook downloads are available. You can receive alerts by text message, email newsletter, or by visiting Titles change every Thursday at 7am ET when the program is running. Get a step-by-step tutorial on how to use the SORA app to download the SYNC titles.

BrainPOP All Summer Long

Our school has a summer subscription to BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr., award-winning educational websites we trust. As part of that subscription, you have access to these resources at home all year!

Looking for ideas on how to extend learning at home this summer? BrainPOP’s got you covered! Sign up at and receive monthly ideas, tips, activities, and more including four upcoming summer learning packets featuring reading, math, writing, and physical fitness.

Newsela Summer Reading Text Sets

For our nonfiction readers, check out Newsela's reading clubs for middle schoolers and spend some time thinking about how your summer can prepare you to be a better learner when we all return to school in the fall... or browse around all of the great text sets on a wide variety of topics and read more about something that interests you!

Curated Podcasts for Summer Learning

A new search engine, Listen Notes, designed specifically for podcasts, is making it easier to create, curate, and share playlists for on-demand listening on topics from fictional stories and science to history and biography. Here's a curated playlist from School Library Journal, inspired by this year’s summer reading theme, "Imagine Your Story."

History, literature, music, science, and storytelling are some of the subjects featured on this list, which includes such offerings as “The Kid Scientists' Galapagos Adventure” (Tumble Science Podcast for Kids); “Echo and Narcissus” (Greeking Out with National Geographic Kids); “Bigfoot, Unicorns and Dragons” (Brains On!); and "The Magic Seed" (Story Seed). The full playlist contains 20 episodes and approximately six hours of listening. For true podcast buffs, Common Sense Media has a list of even more great podcasts for your summer enjoyment.