Summer Reading: The Good and the Bad Part I

Since returning to school after spring break, I’ve been mulling over summer reading.  How it will look for my students and how it would look in an ideal world.  I’ve got a blog post on the subject almost ready to go that I’ve been working out over the past few days.  I’ll share what I’ve done in the past, what I’m doing this year, how to get the most out of even the more restrictive programs, and my thoughts on the practice in general.  First, though, I’d love to get your thoughts on summer reading.  If you wouldn’t mind taking the poll below, that would be fantastic!

Thanks friends!

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7 responses to “Summer Reading: The Good and the Bad Part I

  1. Gary Anderson April 12, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    We have struggled with this at our high school. For the past few years, we have had lists that the students were required to choose from. Some students faked it; some teachers faked it too. A highly unhealthy situation.

    So, this year, we’re trying a variety of things depending on the class. The class I’m working with will be required to read three or four books (that number is still undecided) of their own choosing and approved by their parents. In the fall, they will either write something or report their learning in some other way.

    I’m a proponent of choice. Choice is empowering, whether it’s through the books they read or they way they report their learning.

    Thanks for sharing your thinking as you make up your mind about summer reading.

    Like

  2. Andy Esquivel April 12, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Last year, we had success running a wiki help page during the summer. We ran it “live” for a limited amount of time per day and only on weekdays. That kept things easy. This year, I wish we could run a schedule so that teachers rotated being the person available.

    I’d also like to run summer reading groups online and meet a few times over the summer at the public library. Placing faces with names is important, so visiting our feeder schools to visit incoming freshmen would be cool.

    Like

  3. Ashley April 13, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Ooohh…I have strong feelings about this topic! Bias disclaimer. 🙂

    As a student, I loved (and obviously still do) to read. I read all summer long, regardless of assignments. And I never minded having required reading – what I passionately hated was having to write papers and do projects during the summer BREAK with the required reading.

    I worked very hard during the school year, and thus saw the summertime as a much-needed break. Doing projects and papers that took days & days to complete and kept me inside in front of the computer only made me resent the entire thing.

    As a result, I’m very much a proponent of having maybe one or two required titles (I see the usefulness of being able to discuss a book as a whole class right from the start), maybe some free choice books, but having NO other work-related requirements during the actual break.

    When school starts again, I say test, quiz, project-assign all you want. But let the kids enjoy their summer without overloading them. 🙂

    Like

  4. mardie April 16, 2011 at 11:32 am

    I wish we had a summer reading program for our middle schoolers (think I’d get laughed out of town for suggesting something, though). If we did have a summer reading program, I’d provide a list of suggested titles but allow for choices beyond the list – something like what Gary is doing. In the fall, I’d ask students to write a reflection of some sort on at least one of the titles read. For me, the purpose of the summer reading program would be to encourage reading for pleasure, reading during real life. 🙂

    Like

  5. Fran Lo April 17, 2011 at 6:04 am

    We have 1 required title and 1 free choice. Most of the reading we do during the school year has choice – independent reading, literature circles (about 10 choices), 2-way journals (2 read book of choice and write to each other about it). That means I need to have at least one book we can refer to during literary discussions so students have a common frame of reference. “Remember in The Hunger Games when…”

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  6. Pingback: Poem-A-Day Challenge Updated « teachernextdoor

  7. Pingback: Summer Reading: The Good and The Bad Part II « teachernextdoor

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