Saint John Academy Summer Reading

For Rising 8th Graders 2019

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Greetings Parents and Students

Dear Parents,

The books, stories and poems have been carefully selected to foster an enjoyable and thoughtful reading experience. Enjoy this special time with your child. These assignments are meant to be enriching and meaningful. Be sure to balance the assignments with lots of fun, enjoyable time outside with family and friends.

Best to you and your family,

Mr. Jeffrey P. Presberg


Mrs. Karen Tessier

Assistant Headmaster

Saint John Academy

Core Elements for Rising 8th Graders

Journal & Books
  • You will need a writing journal (a leather journal that you may keep and reuse over time).
  • Read 3 books from the list below.

  • You are encouraged to read as many as you like.

  • For each book draw a picture of something interesting or an image that strikes you and illuminates something important to the story. Think about the characters, the setting and the sequence of events as you draw. Sketch the picture and then color it.
  • Write 1-2 paragraph(s) describing each picture inside of your journal (pictures may be drawn and placed inside journal if you would like).

1776 - David McCullough

Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain

Empires of the Sea - Roger Crowley

Gulliver’s Travels - Jonathan Swift

The Fellowship of the Ring,

The Two Towers,

The Return of the King - J. R. R. Tolkien

Murder on the Orient Express - Agatha Christie or your choice of another mystery by Agatha Christie

The Hound of Baskervilles - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Time Machine - H. G. Wells

David Copperfield - Charles Dickens (counts as 2 books)


  • Read all four recommended poems, copy one in your journal and memorize, reciting it at home (at the dinner table or some other spontaneous moment). This will also be recited at school.

“Digging” by Seamus Heaney

“God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins

“Mending Wall” by Robert Frost

“Musée des Beaux Arts” by W.H. Auden

  • Read these Gospel selections focused on the religious leader Nicodemus and the resurrection moment with Mary Magdalene.

Nicodemus John 3: 1-21 and John 19: 25-42

Mary Magdalene and the Resurrection John 20:1-18

Please view (and ponder) H.O. Tanner’s paintings of Nicodemus and the The Three Mary’s (below) to help you enter the scene of those moments.

  • Choose one of the Gospel passages to reflect on, such as the challenging (and rather abrupt) conversation of Nicodemus and Jesus, as well as what happened inside Nicodemus that led him from secretly seeking Jesus at night to the bold and risky action of requesting the dead body on the cross.
  • Write a paragraph about the other Gospel passage imaging you are a servant or creature observing what is going on. Tell it like a story.
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DONATE TO THE ANNUAL FUND USING PAYPAL HERE OR send a check to St John Academy, 6422 Linway Terrace, McLean, VA 22101

Be sure to read what is required but also read what you LOVE

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Top painting: watercolor by J.S. Sargent: Corfu Lights and Shadow