Writing my way through the school year!

Posts tagged ‘summer reading assignment’

The Joy of Summer Reading!

I went to the library today!  I left,  struggling with an armload of books by some of my favorite authors, Kellerman, Sanford, Block. I lovingly placed the books in the back of my car, envisioning myself on the couch, deck, gazebo, curled up with one of my books, lost in the story.  I am also a Nook owner ,  but I love the feel of a book in my hand.   I would read it at lunchtime, with only the light from my desk lamp illuminating each page.  I relished those 20 minutes, lost in a book or my Nook.

As you might have guessed,  I am an avid reader. I’m one of those people who writes Reading as their hobby.  I was that kid, devouring a book, while the other kids played in the street. I’m the teacher, who reads in her dimly lit room, instead of eating in the Teacher’s Lounge. 

 I tried to pass my love of reading to my students.  I managed to snag a few of them when I read “Series of Unfortunate Events” aloud.  I also made a habit of giving them a little teaser of whatever I was reading at the time.  But too many of them  weren’t interested.  There are  too many obstacles that block  kids from experiencing the joy of a good book.  Video games, lack of books at home, television, video games. It’s difficult enough to get them to read during the school year, the summer is a killer!

Educators, along with others, have begun to fight back!   My son’s district started a “one book-one district” requirement last year. My son read, The Hunger Game” last year and really enjoyed it.  This year, they are required to read, “The Uglies” and ” The Things a Brother Knows”, he’s already started, and my son is not a fan of books.

My school, like many others, have begun opening  the school library during the summer.  Our school will be open to the community every Wednesday, and our librarian will be there so the students can check out books.

There are websites that encourage reading over the summer, we used  the Scholastic Summer Challenge  last year. Good program, but unfortunately not many of our kids participated.  I recently found out about another one, Ivillage PBS Kids Summer Reading Community Challenge  from 5MinutesforBooks.com.

Local libraries usually have reading programs where incentives are offered.  TDBank offers a Summer Reading program as well, with an incentive of  $10 in a Savers Account. What a great idea!

I’ve read the about what happens to students who don’t read during the summer.  I’ve experienced, year after year, the difficulty of teaching students who have not picked up a single book during their break.

But all is not lost!  There were four librarians working  the desk at  my library, and I still had to wait in line!   Only one person in the line had DVDs in their hand, the rest, adults and children, had books. Reading is still alive and well!

“There are worse crimes than burning books.  One of them is not reading them” Joseph Brodsky

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Reading IS Fundamental!

I took my teenage son and two of his friends to the mall today, not to shop, but to meet District English teachers to discuss the book they had to read for their Mandatory Reading assignment. No, I wasn’t forced to grab both his legs and drag him, kicking and screaming, out to the car, he went willingly. The high school students in his district, had to read, “The Hunger Game” by Suzanne Collins, and they LOVED it! The District developed a “one-book, one district” policy and the results were amazing! There was a small turnout at the mall, but suprisingly, most of the students were male. I haven’t read the book yet, so I asked one of my son’s friend a question about the story. In the middle of answering me, he paused, and said, “I can’t believe I’m sitting here talking about a book!” I laughed and let him know it was ok to read. The teachers discussed the book and helped the students understand the project that accompanies the book. I spoke to the participating teachers afterward and they have heard nothing but good things about this initiative. One teacher said she saw one of her students from the previous year, who almost failed her class, at a McDonald’s she visited. He yelled, “Mrs.F, I finished the book, and I can’t wait to read the next one!” Wow! I am encouraged by this experience, excite them and they will learn! By the way, my son will also be reading the second book in the series. 🙂

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