It is the last day of school. You can’t wait to sleep in, relax, and forget about school. No more math, no more science, no more writing, and no more reading. Usually, this is true, but starting this year every grade in District 158 will have summer reading.
Students will be required to read three books, one of the books the teacher picks and the other two the student can pick. There will be book talks towards the end of the year, where teachers will give suggestions for books according to the students’ interests and hobbies.
“Readingis one of the most important things students can do over the summer,” said English teacher Brian Conant.
There will not be a test or a project having to do with the reading when the students return to school. There might be an activity where the students talk about the book, but it will be worth only a small amount of points. The purpose of having students read over the summer is not for a grade.
“We want to avoid the idea that reading is a punishment,” said Conant, “If there’s a punishment, it’s less fun.”
The purpose is to get students more excited to read. The district does not expect the program to work immediately. If students are required to read over the summer every year, then they will get into the habit and start to enjoy it.
“We don’t expect every student to read the three books,” said Conant, “If everyone reads one more book than last year, that’s awesome.”
The focus is not on the grade but on “celebrating reading.” They will be straying from the idea that if you do not do the work, then you will receive a zero. They do not want to punish the people who did not read, they want to celebrate those who did read.
It is important to realize that this program is not the same as reading for honors or AP classes. The purpose of summer reading for honors or AP classes is to fit the whole curriculum in one school year. Students going into honors or AP classes will have tests or projects relating to their books.
Any kind of reading is good, whether you will be tested on it or not.
“I believe that people who read for pleasure are better people than those who don’t,” said Conant.