Though I always enjoyed school, I found summer to be exciting because I could read what I wanted. No required reading for three whole months! My mom would take me to the public library, and the librarian would give me suggestions, and I could spend my entire summer reading…in addition to mowing lawn, weeding the garden, canning vegetables, and helping my dad remodel yet another room in the house.
In my (not so) humble opinion, summer reading assignments have ruined a huge opportunity for keeping the enjoyment in reading. All school year, kids have to read this science textbook or that debate on social issues or this literary essay—all very important, but not necessarily fun. “All work and no play” tells Jack and Jill that reading is a dull task indeed.
I taught my boys to enjoy books, both stories and nonfiction. But, just like many other pre-teens, their enjoyment took a nose-dive right around middle school. Thankfully, their teachers did not have required summer reading lists, so I was able to tempt them with many reading choices during the summer…rather than force them to read yet another assigned book that they would be tested on later.
(Hmmm. I hope I do not hear from the teachers in the Farmington school district, telling me that actually, they DID assign summer reading. I guess I wouldn’t put it past Alex or Nathan to have neglected to share that information with me.)
So if “Summer Reading: Work or Play?” ends up on the ballot, my vote will definitely be for “Play!”
Mackin’s staff of collection development librarians has put together several lists of fun books for librarians, teachers, or parents to share with kids who are wondering what to read this summer. We have focused on high interest—though that does not necessarily mean “light reading.” We had to narrow our criteria down a bit—or the lists would be unmanageable—so these lists contain books published only in 2011 or 2012. They have been well-reviewed—either in a review journal or by Mackin’s collection development librarians—and are chosen because they are fun and interesting.
Click on the links below—and enjoy!