Sunday, May 20, 2012

Summer Reading

As the school year begins to come to a close and summer rolls in, an event beloved by some and dreaded by others looms ahead; Assigned Summer Reading.  At Borders we worked hard to try and get the reading lists and the books on them for numerous schools in the region.  Some schools had very strict assignments that required the students to all read 2 or 3 specific titles others had very broad lists and allowed the students to choose 2 or 3 books from that list.

When I was in high school our school required all classes to read 3 books of their choosing and we were tested on them in early September.  We also had to keep a journal as we read where we were to summarize the chapters and note our thoughts on what we read.  Despite being an avid reader, I dreaded summer reading.  I wanted to read what I chose to read.  I found the assigned reading boring and the need to keep a journal monotonous.  One of the worst books I had to read was "Lord of the Flies," by William Golding.  I don't understand what a teenage girl was to learn from a group of boys who went wild after being stranded on a deserted island.  You can mock Sweet Valley High all you want but the series is full of life lessons; if you do drugs, you'll die; if you stay out all night with a boy, you'll get a bad reputation; if you drink and drive, someone is going to get hurt or killed.  Every summer I put off my assignment until the last minute and read my favorite reads all summer long.

However, after I polled my fellow bloggers, I found not everyone shared my experience.  KC loved "Lord of the Flies," and actually asked her teacher if she could go past the page limit on her assigned paper to make additional arguments.  Her other favorites included "Siddhartha" by Herman Hesse and "Miss Lonelyhearts," a novella.

Mallory had to read an assigned book every year and then write a paper on it.  She still remembers "The Red Scarf Girl," by Ji-Li Jiang.  She was amazed by the story of the horrors this young girl experienced in her life.

Rachel looked forward to summer reading and often got the assignment done early.  She found "The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck to be vivid and beautifully written. I  Like KC she also loved "Siddhartha" as well as"A Separate Peace," by John Knowles, and "The Catcher in the Rye," by J.D. Salinger.

I had to read "The Good Earth" in my freshman year of high school and I struggled to get through it.  I thought it was really boring.  I'll have to have Rachel enlighten me the next time I see her.  Jess P. and Albert had the type of summer reading assignment that I wanted, none !

Jess P. went to a school that didn't have an assigned summer reading list so she spent the summer reading what she loved such as books by Beverly Cleary and Ann M. Martin's "The Baby-Sitters Club." series.

Meanwhile Albert spent his summer days reading every "Goosebumps" book by R.L. Stine that he could get his hands on.

When I wasn't in Sweet Valley, or Stoneybrook with "The Baby-Sitters Club," I could be found not too far from Albert, over on "Fear Street," R.L. Stine's other hit series.  The "Fear Street" story, "Lights Out," is still one of my all time favorites.

So what about you?  What kind of summer reading assignments did you have?  Or, are there any teachers out there who could share what kind of summer reading assignments they give?  If so, what do you hope your students gain from the assignment?  Share with us !


Jessica said...

I have to share that now my school district does do summer reading but prior to 1997 they did not.

Darkand Stormynight said...

I live in a fairly rural area of PA and as a child, my school district did not have a summer reading list. I guess this was a good thing because I got to read whatever I wanted through those three glorious months off. RL Stine is after my time so there were no Goosebumps and the Sweet Valley/Babysitters Clubs books were never at the library. I found a great tween romance series called Sweet Dreams. The first of the series was titled "P.S. I Love You" and it introduced me to a whole new world filled with the bittersweet feeling of first love coupled with the agony of heartbreak. After I finished that series, I ended up moving on to "The Mists of Avalon" which then led me to David Eddings' Belgariad series - ah such wonderful memories. Darnit, now my TBR pile will have some re-reads on top!!! LOL