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Thought-provoking books for eighth and ninth graders
Eighth and ninth graders are at an important transitional period. As eighth-graders prepare to enter high school and ninth-graders get accustomed to a more challenging curriculum, better comprehension skills are of the utmost importance. How well do they understand concepts? How good are they at following directions? Do they have a strong grasp of the language arts? How well can they understand their own emotions or other people and the world? If you want your child to not only excel at school but also experience greater personal growth, your eighth or ninth grader should be reading as much as they can, from acclaimed classics to modern works in niche genres. Your child can start with these beautifully woven tales below to become a better learner for a brighter future! The Outsiders | S.E. Hinton No one ever said life was easy, but Ponyboy is pretty sure that he’s got things figured out. He knows that he can count on his brothers and true friends who would do anything for him. He knows only trouble comes from the Socs, a vicious gang of rich kids whose idea of a good time is beating up “greasers” like Ponyboy. At least he knows what to expect—until the night someone takes things too far. The Prince and the Pauper | Mark Twain Tom Canty, a poor beggar boy, and Edward, the Prince of Wales, are shocked when they come across each other and find that they look exactly alike! After deciding to temporarily switch identities, the two boys live in each other’s shoes, experiencing vastly different class cultures in this humorous and exciting tale. Will they be able to switch back, and what will they have learned? The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy | Douglas Adams Seconds before Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect. As a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Ford has been posing as an out-of-work actor for the last fifteen years. Together, this dynamic pair begins a journey through space aided by a galaxy full of fellow travelers. Lord of the Flies | William Golding This timeless tale explores the question about the inherent nature of human beings. A group of young British boys find themselves stranded on an island, where they decide to organize into groups and create a system of rules in order to survive. However, the boys discover that peace is hard to maintain, and their government descends into anarchy under the clashing leaderships of Ralph and Jack. Animal Farm | George Orwell This allegory retells the early stages of the Soviet Union through the lives of farm animals that decide to revolt against their human farmer. The animals are tired of being treated poorly and wish to create a better world for themselves in which they are free and equal. They unite under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, but soon learn that power can corrupt even the best of intentions. To Kill a Mockingbird | Harper Lee In the last years of the Great Depression, the lives of a well-to-do white family in Alabama are forever disrupted when the father, Atticus, becomes the lawyer representing Tom Robinson, a black man accused of assaulting a white woman. The children, Scout and Jem, begin to see the world through new lenses as they deal with racial slurs, harassment, and threats by the townspeople they have known all their lives. - These timeless classics are often found on school reading lists for a reason! They introduce thought-provoking themes about society and human nature that will open your child’s eyes as they enter the final stage of adolescence. Depending on your child’s reading level or the speed at which they consume novels, you may also want to consider our previous book list! There are so many excellent books out there that reading can be an endless adventure. To get the most out of all our recommendations, enroll your child in our State Standard-aligned JEI Reading & Writing program, now available temporarily through JEI Remote Learning! This program ensures that your child not only reads the books but also understands the themes, appreciates the symbolism, and digests the plots. It is best paired with our JEI English program so your child can take what they read and apply it to high school-level essays. Start today by finding a center near you and scheduling a diagnostic test!
2020 Math Olympiad Cancellation
As of March 5, 2020, this year's JEI Math Olympiad, which was originally scheduled for March 14, 2020, has been canceled due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). As various health officials have stated, “Do not panic, but be prepared.” The decision was not made lightly, but we felt it a necessary precaution at this time. We have considered other ways to conduct the Math Olympiad, such as within individual centers, but have come to the conclusion that the best course of action would be to cancel the event entirely. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause, but the well-being of our students, parents, and directors is our number one priority. Therefore, we have taken these proactive steps to ensure the safety of our communities. There will always be next year’s competition! In the meantime, all centers should be offering full refunds to registered participants, so please be prepared to handle such requests. Also, to keep spirits high during this time of uncertainty, we will be sending the giveaway prizes to you to be distributed to currently registered participants. To find the contact information for your local Center please visit our Find a Center page.
Brilliant books for fourth and fifth graders
If your child is in the fourth or fifth grade, then middle school is right around the corner! That means they will encounter many new things, which can be a bit intimidating. How can you help your child feel comfortable and shine in no time? Encourage your child to take a break from digital screens to crack open a book and dive into a new adventure! While they explore new worlds and time periods, they can improve comprehension and social skills to excel in more challenging classes and befriend new classmates. All of this can then boost their confidence to try new things, like extracurriculars! From heartwarming to fantastical, here are the best books for fourth and fifth graders to read for fun and middle school preparation: Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes | Eleanor Coerr Hiroshima-born Sadako is lively and athletic—the star of her school’s running team. Then, the dizzy spells start. Soon gravely ill with leukemia, the atom bomb disease, Sadako faces her future with spirit and bravery. Sadako sets to work folding paper cranes, recalling a Japanese legend that holds that if a sick person folds one thousand cranes, the gods will grant her wish and make her healthy again. Matilda | Roald Dahl Matilda is a sweet, exceptional young girl, but her parents think she’s just a nuisance. She expects school to be different, but there, she has to face Miss Trunchbull, a kid-hating terror of a headmistress. When Matilda is attacked by Miss Trunchbull, she suddenly discovers she has a remarkable power with which to fight back. It’ll take a superhuman genius to give Miss Trunchbull what she deserves, and Matilda may be just the one to do it! A Wrinkle in Time | Madeleine L’Engle Winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, this is the story of the adventures of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe through space and time. They are in search of Meg’s father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract (wrinkle in time) problem. Will they be able to find him in this science-fiction adventure? Island of the Blue Dolphins | Scott O’Dell Far off the coast of California looms a harsh rock known as the island of San Nicholas. Here, according to history, an Indian girl spent eighteen years alone, and this beautifully written novel is her story. It is a romantic adventure filled with drama and heartache, for Karana had to contend with the ferocious pack of wild dogs, constantly guard against the Aleutian sea otter hunters, and maintain a precarious food supply. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe | C.S. Lewis Air raids during World War II compel four siblings to be sent away to a professor’s house, where they discover a wardrobe that is a passageway into Narnia. A once peaceful world inhabited by Fauns, Dwarves, Giants, and Talking Beasts, Narnia has been frozen into perpetual winter by the fiendish White Witch, who rules over it. Soon, all of the children become embroiled in an adventure that includes themes of betrayal, forgiveness, death, and rebirth. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler | E.L. Konigsburg Claudia Kincaid decides to run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City with her brother, Jamie. There, they find themselves caught up in the mystery of a statue that the museum purchased. Is it an early work of the Renaissance master, Michelangelo, and worth millions? This mystery leads Claudia to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the old woman who sold the statue, and to some equally remarkable discoveries about herself. - From magical lands to realistic experiences, these stories can teach your child a lot about being kind to others, believing in themselves, and thinking creatively. These well-written classics will improve your child’s vocabulary, comprehension, and writing skills! Tackle the list above, and if your child wants more—or they already read the six books—feel free to move on ahead to the next level. They can also refer to the previous level if they want quick reads or have some difficulty with these ones. As long as your child is reading, they are learning, improving, and growing! No matter where they are in their reading level, JEI Learning Center can help them advance through our JEI Reading & Writing program, now available through JEI Remote Learning! Even when they’re stuck at home, they can log on to discuss and answer questions about their latest reads with our expertly trained instructors. There is nothing better than implementing what they’ve learned from these books to complete our weekly workbooks. Contact your local center today to enroll your child and boost their reading skills with our State Standard-aligned JEI Reading & Writing program!