Sacramento Waldorf School

Summer Reading

Last Updated May 27, 2016

The Sacramento Waldorf School expects ALL students (except seniors, see below) to read at least three books over the summer break and complete an assignment for each book. Each grade also has a required book to read.  Please know that all students, including seniors, will be required to purchase A Pocket Style Manual by Diana Hacker. This is available online or through local bookstores. Our aim is for students to have a useful writing manual through high school and into college.

We believe that the students should be well read in order to be successful in school and in our modern culture.  The books on “The List” are readily available and can be read with pleasure by anyone of high school age.  If you are drawn to a book not on “The List,” by all means read it, but e-mail one of the teachers in the Humanities Department to make sure it will qualify for the summer reading requirement before you complete your book report.

The choices given below are intended to provide some flexibility and inspire creativity. Everyone is required to complete an oral report. You may complete one of each art project, or two of the same art project. Please chose only one option per book.

Oral Report: One of your reports will be presented in oral form to your academic advisor. This will be a short 2-3 minute sharing within the advisor group. You should include the title and author of the book. Summarize the book briefly, share some of your favorite elements, and make a recommendation to the other students in the group. Your advisor will note the completion of your report and pass that information on to your humanities teacher.

Photo Essay: An example of photo literacy.

  • Take a photograph which most reminds you of the book you have read. This could be a staged photograph or a spontaneous image.
  • Matte the photograph. On a 4 x 6 white cardstock (index card is fine) type a minimum paragraph of ten sentences that explain how this photo reminds you of a scene from the book, a character, a theme or a symbol. Include at least five specific details from the book.
  • Take care in your work and create an eye-pleasing display that will inspire others to read this book!

Book Jacket Cover:

  • Create an original jacket cover for the book, which includes art work, the title and author.
  • Write a book review for the back flap which includes at least five important details from the story. Include your name as the reviewer.

You should come to school in September with your three book reports completed and ready to turn in to your first meeting with your Humanities teacher.  The oral report will be presented in your first meeting with your advisor. The book assignments comprise 10% of your first quarter Humanities’ grade.


Seniors are required to read the last chapter in Walden by Henry David Thoreau,  Nature (the 1836 version) and Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson,  over the summer in preparation for your course in American Transcendentalism. This is a significant read so give yourself some time, and be ready to discuss in depth during the first weeks of class.  You are required to write book reports for two of the three selections.  These selections are the only requirements for summer reading for seniors. If you have any questions, please e-mail Mr. Sullivan.


Juniors are required to choose at least one book by one of the following authors:

Sherman Alexie

Maxine Hong Kingston

Amy Tan

Toni Morrison

Alice Walker

Walter Mosely

Sarah Vowel

Bill Bryson



Sophomores are required to choose one of the following books to read:

The Absolutely True Confessions of a Part Time Indian Sherman Alexie

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Dee Brown

The Chosen Chaim Potok

and choose two others from “The List”.



Freshmen are required to read Maus by Art Spiegelman and two books of your choice from “The List”. You will be using Maus as the basis for work in the first quarter of English class. Please complete one report as outlined above and one oral report for your advisor.

We hope that your summer reading goes well beyond the required and into the realm of the pleasurable and adventurous.  There are few things better than a good book on a long summer’s day.

Happy reading!

The SWS Humanities Department,

Andrew Sullivan

Beth Ghiorso

Isabelle Tabacot

Melissa Hiatt

Dunja Popovic

Liva Laswell