It’s that time of year when school is finishing up and kids are thinking about those long summer days with no studying and no homework. But just when they thought it was safe to relax, the dreaded Summer Reading List arrives. In the elementary school kids get a suggested reading list, which some parents follow and some don’t. The middle school and high school kids get required summer reading. It’s always interesting for me when I get the lists from the schools. (Though sometimes I don’t get them and have to procure them from a library patron, but whatever….) Some teachers change up the lists every few years, while some have been the same since the 1950’s.
The link below is the list is for 4th graders going into 5th grade. I think this is the best list I’ve seen so far because there isn’t one “required book” and they only have to read one from a pretty big list. Not as daunting or scary as some. They can choose one book from the following list of authors: Avi, Andrew Clements, Cornelia Funke, Kate DiCamillo, Jerry Spinelli, Katherine Paterson, Christopher Paul Curtis, Pam Munoz Ryan & Mike Lupica. It’s a list of authors with different styles and genres. Hats off to the teacher or reading specialist who created this list!
For the most part, I think summer reading is a good idea as long as it’s not a crazy amount. For the kids who don’t like to read, it won’t kill them to read one or two books. I also try to carry as many of the required books on CD at the library because sometimes it’s the only way they’ll do it. Some teachers and librarians don’t agree with this, but if it’s a choice between listening to the book or nothing at all (or worse, the MOVIE version of the book) then I think it’s a good alternative for a reluctant reader. And giving kids a choice of books to read is easier to manage, though most teachers will have at least one required book that they all have to read, and then a choice of one or two more. Another thing I try to do, though last year no one really took advantage, is to have a book group for the required reading books. The idea was for kids and parents to read the book together and then talk about it over yummy snacks and a fun activity.
For the kids who do read, I think that requiring too many books over the summer is just plain mean!
I like to put out a list of my own favorites as suggestions for some fun summer reading. Because summer reading SHOULD be fun! It shouldn’t be something a kid dreads the minute school lets out. Here are a few great middle grade books I’ve read recently that I’ll be recommending at the library (I’ll leave the YA for next time):
I’m also looking forward to reading all the galley copies I picked up at BEA last month! Some of them look very good and I can’t wait to get into them. I’ll post my reviews and let you know when they are due to come out. Have any good books to recommend or Summer Reading horror stories??