Friday, May 29, 2009

To List or Not to List

School is almost out.
Where are the summer reading lists?
Do schools still do that?

Way back when I was in high school I remember going through my list the day after school was out for the summer and rushing out to get the books on the list immediately. Yes, I was one of those students who did their homework on Friday night rather than worry about it all weekend. By the first week or two of summer my list was completed and I was able to move on to read anything my little heart desired, which always caused problems when school began in the fall. After reading all summer, how could I possibly remember all the little details needed to pass the exams on the summer reading list?

I don’t remember my own kids ever coming home with a summer reading list, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I suppose it depends on the student. For someone who wouldn’t read unless they absolutely had to, the list would give them some incentive to do so. How many of these kids and their parents scramble to track down the books and quickly skim through them at the last minute? Summer reading lists may introduce students to new authors and genres that they would never choose on their own. A great way to open minds, but doesn’t this turn reading into a chore?

A perfect example of this occurred in my household this past week. My daughter had to read a book for class and she was struggling with it. She loves to read and has a stack of books almost as tall as she is waiting patiently for her to inhale them, but this was a book she had to read. She put it off until the last minute, skimmed through it quickly and took the required test. No real interest, no real involvement. My son, on the other hand, was excited to be home from college and have the opportunity to read what he chose for a change. He had been looking forward to reading this particular book for months, finished it quickly and discussed it frequently at the dinner table. What is so ironic about this story? Both kids were reading the exact same book! Their attitudes made all the difference.

I am thankful I no longer have to follow a list when deciding what to read this summer.

What about you?
Do you have a summer reading list?
Will you be taking the
Beowulf On the Beach Reading Challenge?
Or will you be reading whatever your heart desires this summer?

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