Summer reading needs to change

Summer reading needs to change

Story by Davis Elordi, Sports Editor

     Summer reading is something all students are familiar with, but it is imperfect. While it may be a great concept, the actual practice of summer reading needs improvement.

     There are problems for both the teachers and students. The very welcome rest and relaxation provided by summer break is interrupted only by the one book students have to read. Many students choose not to read the book, leaving it until the first week of school. It is seemingly a waste of time for the people that read the books over the summer, like they were supposed to. Even then, there is not much discussion over the book, only a day devoted to discussing it before taking a test on the book and then moving on for some teachers.

     One of the biggest issues is a lack of choice. Just one additional option for students to pick from would allow for better success rates. Freshmen in General Paper are offered the chance to pick from any biography of their choice that is larger than 150 pages. This provides the opportunity where a student can choose to either read about practically anyone. This kind of freedom and opportunity is never again offered to students in summer reading or in any form of reading for the rest of their high school experience.

     “As a concept it’s great, but it’s mostly ignored by students,” said Jon Ritacco, a junior. “Being able to choose a book from two or three choices would make it a lot more enjoyable. Books like Julius Caesar are long and pretty difficult to try to understand, but we’re still expected to read them in a short amount of time.”

     Similar books are being read time and time again over the summer. Books like The Great Gatsby and A Separate Peace have been read and analyzed for decades. As such, students need only look at Sparknotes without even reading the book they were assigned. It does not help others to discover the joy of reading when they can find everything they need to do by searching for it online.

     “Summer reading is important because it allows students to really maintain the level of reading they developed over the school year,” said Mrs. Christina Hessing, an AICE English teacher at Boca High. “I absolutely think that self-selecting reading should be introduced, such as providing a list and then allowing the students to pick one or two books from the list. They could then make a project based on the book rather than just taking a test on it.”

     Introducing more freedom in summer reading would be a fantastic opportunity for students to be able to express themselves. The problems that could arise for teachers could involve teachers not wanting to have to create and grade multiple different tests at the beginning of the year. At the same time, creating another similar test for another book would help allow students to become more passionate about whichever book they read over the summer. It is much more important for students to find books they enjoy rather than ones that are specified for a test.

     It is also fair to assume that teachers would prefer students find a book that they can enjoy over the summer rather than just doing well on a test. As it stands, summer reading needs a change to make it more enjoyable, and this may be just the change needed.

     “Choosing a book promotes more responsibility,” said Hessing, “When we were children, our parents got us interested in reading by letting us pick books we enjoyed. It does not have to be so different in high school.”

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