Hilltop Launches New Summer Reading Program

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Hilltop Launches New Summer Reading Program

Hilltop Country Day School unveiled a new summer reading curriculum to its students this year.

Instead of reading two assigned books and doing a book report, every student in the school, from preschoolers to eighth graders, will be reading books on a shared theme: Friendship and Tolerance.

“The theme we have selected is timely and critical, both at Hilltop and in our world – friendship and tolerance,” said Head of School Kevin Folan. “I hope that throughout the course of the summer our students can reflect on how these two topics play out within their families, friendships, and communities.”

Students are assigned one title based on their grade level and then may choose one additional book from a list of options. Once the students return to campus in September, elementary and early childhood students will gather with their P.E.A.K.S. buddy to discuss their summer reading in a fun, relaxed environment while enjoying light refreshments.

Hilltop’s P.E.A.K.S. Buddy Program has been one of its signature programs since the schools inception in 1967. Students are paired at the beginning of their prekindergarten and fourth grade year. These buddies remain in place for the duration of their experience in the program. The P.E.A.K.S. partners, or buddies, meet together and participate in a broad range of activities and events throughout the school year. These activities typically include morning breakfasts, collaborative craft experiences, shared readings, joint social events and shared field trip experiences.
Middle school students will also gather with their teachers in September for a Book Bistro where they will also discuss the required and choice selections while enjoying refreshments. To encourage shopping locally, Hilltop has partnered with Sparta Books to make the required and choice readings available to students.

“Reading, whether it’s independently or together as a family, is an incredible way to ensure children stay intellectually engaged over the summer,” Folan said.

The new summer reading model is representative of the educational philosophy and mission at Hilltop which values deep understanding of course material over a student’s ability to memorize and regurgitate facts and figures. Hilltop’s academic curriculum focuses on project-based learning where students explore practical applications for the concepts taught in its signature small classes.

To practice what they preach, Hilltop’s faculty and staff also have a summer reading assignment: “Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee. Parents will be invited to campus to discuss this selection with Folan and other school administrators in September.

Hilltop Country Day School has limited space available in preschool through eighth grade. Please visit www.hilltopcds.org , call 973-729-5485 or email admissions@hilltopcds.org for more information.