Summer Reading for the Elementary Division

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Free picture: daisy, flower, book, grass, reading, learning

Dear summer readers, we are wishing you the happiest, healthiest, most fun summer with a lot of time lying on the grass reading (or inside, in the air conditioning).

If you read with a device, remember that you still have access to our MackinVIA and Sora collections any time- new titles added weekly. On Mondays through Fridays, 8am to 4pm, you can also access our Epic and Pinna collections of books, audiobooks, and podcasts for kids. Your Epic class code is SNY9020 and your Pinna code is 6S1LJ9.

If you prefer a print book, don’t forget to get your MyLibraryNYC card that allows FINE-FREE BORROWING(!!) for Rodeph Sholom Students from the New York Public Library. Check out their summer reading goodies, too! Most NYPL locations are now open for curbside pickup and limited browsing. If you are going to buy, we highly recommend indie locals WORD bookstores and Books of Wonder for your ordering needs- and be sure to check out their summer book programming for author visits, book clubs, and more.

Slidebrary will remain open for business through the beginning of next school year. You can use Slidebrary to get to different websites for music, art, science, math, and coding. Slidebrary is now student-edited, so if you want to be an editor and add different sites that you enjoy over the summer, please email Ms. Shaw at

The Best 100 Closing Lines From Books

Now for the big question: What should you read?!?! The linked lists below will get you off to a great start. Parents, you can use your students’ login to access MackinVIA lists, or login with username rodeph and password sholom.

Student Recommendations – Rodeph Sholom’s Favorites

Dare To Be Scared Spooky stories to chill your bones

Falling for Sports Books for sports fanatics of all genders

Fantasy Magic, spells, witches and myths.

Funny Illustrated Fiction Like Big Nate or Dog Man? Try these funny illustrated books.

Graphic Novels For fans of Smile and El Deafo.

1st Grade Recommendations Great books for a range of interests and a range of 1st grade reading levels

2nd Grade Recommendations Great books for a range of interests and a range of 2nd grade reading levels

3rd Grade Recommendations Great books for a range of interests and a range of 3rd grade reading levels

Great Middle Grade Novels for Middle Schoolers Great books for fully launched readers with more middle-school themes.

Word Bookstore’s Summer Picks for Kids

Sora Sweet Reads

NYPL’s Summer Picks for Kids

The first books I’m reading? Not Your All-American Girl by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang and All Thirteen: The incredible cave rescue of the Thai boys’ soccer team by Christina Soontornvat.

For any account issues or password resets for current or former students, please contact Ms. Shaw at! Happy reading and…

5 tips for your home while you're out on a summer vacation

2nd Grade DL Recommendations

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The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak (A.D.R.S.)

Blblblblb (J.S.)

Saturday by Oge Mora

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This gentle story about expectation, disappointment, and gratitude is perfect for teaching about Shabbat, special days, and dealing with unexpected challenges. -Elizabeth Shaw

Weslandia by Paul Fleischman and Kevin Hawkes

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This is a fantastic book to talk about the activities that make up culture and civilizations. It’s a long one for little kids to sit through, but the vibrant illustrations make it delightful to pore over or use with older kids. -Elizabeth Shaw

Yo? Yes! by Chris Raschka

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I love the simplicity of this book and have found it to be a powerful tool with children who present with emerging language. The illustrations are emotive and the friendship has a universal feeling. -Zubeida Ullah-Eisenberg

Recommend a book!

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Mock Newbery II: The Sequel

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After this year’s Mock Newbery Club was a roaring success, we can’t wait any longer to get started on the next one!

Who It’s For

The Mock Newbery club is open to current, former, and future Rodeph Sholom Students who will enter the 4th, 5th, or 6th grade in Fall 2020.

What It Is

Every year, the American Library Association awards the John Newbery Medal to the most distinguished book for children published in America in the past year. A Mock Newbery Club is a group of students and teachers who read the books we think are most likely to win, talk about them, and vote on which one WE would give the medal to.

What Do Mock Newbery Club Members Do?

To participate in the club, you should try to read at least three books from the list below by November 3rd, 2020, and an additional two before January 22nd, 2021.

RSS librarians will host optional social meetings over the summer every Thursday from 3:30-4:30 at the RSS Virtual Library for anyone who is dying to talk about the book they just finished or get help deciding which to read next. After finishing a book, readers can post about it in an online forum or record a conversation with a friend or librarian about the book.

Between September and January we will have a monthly lunch or break meeting to discuss and deliberate on which books we think should win.

The week of January 27th, we will have a party to celebrate the reading we’ve done and kibitz about the ALA’s decision.

Benefits of Mock Newbery Club

Mock Newbery participants can use their Mock Newbery reading to count for summer reading and independent reading requirements. They also have priority on checking out these high-interest titles from the Rodeph Sholom School Library on MackinVIA and on site at 79th street.

What are the books?

To view the books and their summaries, please download the Mock Newbery One-Pager below!

How do I sign up?

Fill out the form below:

Podcast recommendations: Circle Round, Wow in the World, Kids Ask Authors

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Tired of looking at a screen? Want to move, draw, sew or play while also listening to an absorbing story or discussion? A podcast or two might be just the thing.


Circle Round – WBUR

WBUR’s Circle Round is a beautifully produced venue for traditional stories- folktales, parables, and teaching stories from world cultures. Showrunner Rebecca Sheir narrates, a talented rotating cast of actors does the dialogue, and each episode highlights a different orchestral instrument. Additionally, each episode comes with its own printable coloring sheet for a relaxing activity to do with your hands while you listen.

SEL connection: Stories have themes of generosity, truthfulness, caring, and kindness that are skillfully highlighted without being overbearing. Length: 10-20 minutes.

Ms. Shaw’s Picks

The Nine Sticks with Nikesh Patel and Maulik Pancholy

The Banker’s Riddle with Jeannie Mai

Wow in the World -NPR

Wow in the World is perfect for budding engineers, inventors, social scientists and psychologist who want to understand themselves and those around them. Hosts Mindy and Guy Raz explore different topics of science, physics, psychology, and medicine with the additional fun of two Whats and a Wow, a participatory trivia game that goes over recent news stories. Each episode also comes with a Wowshee to follow along with activities (while still not staring at a screen 🙂 Length: 20-30 minutes

Ms. Shaw’s Picks:

Oobleck- Make Up Your Mind! It’s swim time in the neighborhood, and Mindy is getting ready to fill her pool! Will she fill it with a liquid, a solid, or both?! Join Mindy, Guy Raz, and Dennis as they explore a rule defying non-newtonian fluid that’s full of surprises! It’s the Who, What, When, Where, Why, How, and Wow in the world of Oobleck!

Are You Smarter Than a Toilet? Are you tired of the same old toilet? Mindy is! And thanks to a team of engineers at Stanford University, a newer, smarter, toilet is on the horizon! Join Mindy, Guy Raz, and Dennis at the Bathroom Showcase, as they learn the latest in new toilet technology! It’s the Who, What, When, Where, Why, How, and Wow in the world of SMART TOILETS! 

Kids Ask Authors

You have questions. Authors have answers! In Kids Ask Authors, host and beloved author/illustrator Grace Lin sits down with creators of children’s literature to ask them questions that kids have sent in. And yes, you can send in questions, too, as well as jokes and reviews. Length: 5-10 minutes.

Ms Shaw’s Picks:

Raina Telgemeier Answers: Which Book of Yours Was Most Enjoyable to Write, and Why?

Christopher Dean Myers Answers: What One Thing Would You Give Up to Be a Better Writer or Artist? 

The comments are open- any recommendations for our ears?

Happy listening!

Ms. Shaw







Best Books for 1st Graders

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Dear 1st Grade families,

If you’re looking for good ebooks for your kids, you’ve come to the right place! MackinVIA, the online branch of the RSS Library, has hundreds of ebooks that are great for 1st graders and their parents. To learn how to access MackinVIA, go here: How to Access MackinVIA for Students and Parents

I’ve picked out about two hundred of my favorites and made a collection called ‘Best Books for First Grade’. Some highlights from this collection include:

The Thirteen Story Treehouse series

Big Nate books

Graphic novels by Raina Telgemeier and George O’Conner

Stella Batts books

Fairy Magic books

Nonfiction fun (space, body, jobs, natural disasters, dinosaurs, etc.)

As always, if you want some recommendations for your child, please reach out to me at and please put recommendations in the subject line!

Thank you,

Ms. Shaw