Sunday, September 7, 2014
Reflections on Summer Reading
We noticed that there were not as many semi-trucks on this route as on I-70. I'm sure there are multiple reasons that is true, but my husband and I began to reflect on the toll the inclines seemed to be taking on the trucks.
When we were driving on an incline, oftentimes the interstate went from two lanes to three lanes, because the trucks seemed to slow to a crawl at times, carrying their loads upward and they needed their own lane. It was a very laborious process for the trucks; sometimes you could even hear engines "screaming" in protest.
On the downhill slopes, it was another story. The trucks would begin to pick up speed, and start flying down the hills.
When Lee Ann sent an all-call out last week because she was beginning to reflect on what was happening in classrooms around summer reading, the pictures of those trucks immediately came to mind.
Like most readers, when a text is required of me (and I'm not invested in that requirement), I move pretty darn slow. I begin to exhibit many avoidance strategies, and my movement through the required text is as slow as those trucks we watched in western Maryland.
However, if the choice is mine, I am flying through the reading. In the summer, I always have a huge pile of books from the library and I am a carnivore of books - reading all types, quickly jumping from one to the other.
The week before school, I ran into one of my students from last year and her mother. This student was a voracious reader; she was always reading and had a "to-be-read" pile at all times. When I asked her what she read this summer, she listed multiple titles, and was very excited about all of them. But her ending remark was the one that bothered me and the reason I decided to dust off my part of this blog, and post a few things on this Sunday Series about Summer Reading. The student said she had started her chosen book (out of a list of 4) for her sixth grade summer reading requirement multiple times, but she just wasn't enjoying it, and couldn't seem to get past page 50. The book she chose is one I love a great deal - I know it's a good book, and she would like it if it had been her choice. However, she became like one of those trucks - she was struggling to get up the hill of an assigned summer reading.
I truly appreciate the thinking and effort that went into creating the different summer reading lists for our district's middle school; some of the people that helped create these lists are very smart colleagues of mine. The books they chose are good titles, and most will provide thoughtful discussion around a common story line. And they did create choice for summer reading - the soon-to-be 6th graders had to read at least 1 book of choice as well as 1 book from the list of 4.
Yet, all that being said, this voracious reader I know, is left feeling frustrated that she can't complete a required text. As someone who encouraged her love of reading, I worry about that. Should she be thinking more about the 1 text she didn't complete, or the 30 books she did read over the summer?
I do believe students should be reading - A LOT - during the summer.
I do believe there is a perfect time for students to share and study a book as an entire class.
I'm just not sure the place to start that study is in the summer.
Now that Lee Ann encouraged me to dust off the blog, I'll be back with some further reflections next Sunday. As truth in advertising, I should mention that as an elementary teacher, summer reading isn't a topic with which I had to deal in my classroom. However, as a parent of children who had required summer reading, I did have an opinion. But, I will be interested to see how others who are invested in this topic year in and year out, such as middle and high school teachers, weigh in on this topic. For more of these reflections, head over to Lee Ann's blog, Portable Teacher, to read today's reflections.
Posted by Karen at 11:13 AM