Now that we are this close to summer vacation, let’s talk about the most important thing. Summer reading lists. Every summer I pride myself on a healthy selection of summer reading lists. I try to maintain a balance of comfort reading (aka beach books), the latest and greatest in children’s literature, and amazing books for adults. I plan on getting my hands on a stack of Oliver Jeffers’s books. There is just something about his books that brings out the inner child in me.
In the summer I am allowed the freedom to really revel in the delight of slowly turning pages. There is something so different about the leisurely reading of summer. I make a list, of books I just can’t wait to read, and then I read them while sipping something delicious.
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Which is why I was so thrilled when our school changed the policy on summer reading this year. In the past we have dabbled in a plethora of summer reading assignments. This year, as a staff, we reflected on the joy that comes from being able to choose what you read, rather than being assigned. We discussed how we know that being told to read one or two books, complete a book report or a shoe box diorama, can lead to kids resenting books and reading. Why would we ask kids to do this when WE wouldn’t even do it? They should revel!
However, as always, there is the balance. We know part of our job is to immerse kids into good literature. But what makes a book great and enriching for our kids? Is it the right combination of accessible yet challenging vocabulary? Is it the character development? Is it the ability for it bring out the inner voice inside our head?
In the end our school found a middle ground and offered our students at each grade level between 6 and 8 books to choose from. But instead of giving you a laundry list of the books my particular school chose let’s just take a moment to think about what makes good literature. What do you think makes a story truly great? I’d love to hear from you. Comment on Pearson’s PreK12 Facebook page to list some of your favorite summer reading selections and why you chose them.