June 17, 2009

School's Out--Poor Kids...

I work in a public library, and the kids in town had a half-day today to end the school year. School is over and summer looms large!

Not two hours after school was dismissed, though, we had parents come in looking for summer reading lists for their kids. Good grief! What ever happened to the idea that summer was a long, leisurely time to enjoy being a kid?

God, knows, I'm all for reading, but can't a kid have 24 hours without being assigned a reading project?

I can only hope that some of the books on assigned summer reading lists are actually fun to read. How many books, especially those suggested by teachers and librarians, force a kid to ponder life's great questions? I had a teacher friend who used to refer to books found on recommended reading lists as "dead fill-in-the-blank" books. If it wasn't a parent dying, it was a friend, or a dog. These books make an adult verklempt, for some reason we like a good cry. But, what they do for kids? Perhaps, they lead them to think that reading is a real downer?

My advice is to let children read what they want to read this summer. At least wait until a week or two before school starts before forcing them to read something "recommended" to report on in their summer reading journal. (And, if they have trouble filling in the journal, there's a rubric they can consult...It's usually attached to the back of the list!)

1 comment:

  1. Love librarians! I learned simply to lay books around. Suggestions almost always are met with resistance.

    I'm running a reading challenging beginning next week. Nothing required and hoping the girls will be interested. I work with a population of almost all non-readers.