Verona High School


Summer 2019 Theme


"Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles." - Alex Karras

Dear Parents / Guardians,

Verona High School and the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment believe strongly in the value of summer reading. Beyond the enjoyment derived from reading for pleasure, many scholars and educational researchers have written extensively about the “summer slide,” or the learning loss and potential setback to student achievement resulting from a summer devoid of any academic engagement. For more information about this phenomenon, please feel free to read a recent article from Education Week.

With this in mind, and with numerous studies highlighting the importance of cognitive stimulation during the summer months, we feel it is in our students’ best interest to read during the summer months and not only for those classes that require a summer reading assignment. Accordingly, we are proud to announce our summer reading program for 2019-2020.

Building off of the theme of mental health in 2018, we offer book choices connected to the quality of resilience for the 2019-2020 school year. With regard to human beings, resilience has been defined as the “ability to ‘bounce back’ after encountering difficulty” (Southwick & Charney, 2012). Whatever the forces and factors that serve to divide us as a people, one thing we surely share in common is that no one is immune to life’s myriad challenges, difficulties and hardships. In the several choices we offer this summer, our students will learn of individuals, some fictional and others real, whose resiliency and ability to persevere in the face of significant and at times seemingly insurmountable adversity provide us with inspirational examples of the indomitable human spirit. Please click on the Book Choices tab above to read more about this summer’s choices that our students can select from. If your child has summer reading and an assignment that are required for an Advanced Placement History or English class, it is important to note that he or she is encouraged to read one of the books above but it will not be mandatory.

In short, we believe it is highly beneficial for our students to read generally and to read tales about resiliency in particular. For this summer, we have expanded our book offerings from four to eight choices and have endeavored to include a healthy variety of genres, characters and stories in the hope of meeting the diverse interests of our students.

Students will have the opportunity to sign-up for their book of choice through their English classes during the month of June, and reflect on their reading once they return in September. For more information regarding reading reflections, please visit the Reading Assignments tab. A limited number of our book selections will be available at the Verona Public Library and available for purchase at the VFEE summer reading book fair fundraiser to be held at the H.B. Whitehorne Middle School on June 18th and June 19th from 12:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Please feel free to reach out to me with any further questions regarding our 2019 summer reading initiative.

For any community members interested in reading more about the scientific research on the quality of resilience, here are some book recommendations:

  • Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. New York, NY: Scribner.
  • Hanson, R. & Hanson, F. (2018). Resilient. New York, NY: Harmony Books.
  • Southwick, S. & Charney, D. (2012). Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Best regards,

Steve Schels

Supervisor of Humanities

Verona School District

(973) 571-2029 ext. 7522

Have a question? Contact Us!

Mr. Steven Schels | Supervisor of Humanities | | (973) 571-2029 ext. 7522