Monday, June 29, 2009

Pop Lit or Classic? Meyer or Melville?

Summer Reading Lists Promote Reading
for the Fun of It

Although educators may disagree about what kids should be reading this summer, all assert the profound need for kids to read something!

In the June 25 Boston Globe, staff reporter Lisa Kocian writes in "Sands Shift in Summer Reading" about the dramatic changes being made to assigned reading lists and educators' reasoning behind the revisions. At many high schools, educators are promoting reading lists with a more diverse selection that limits the classics and includes more popular books, such as Stephanie Meyer's best-seller Twilight and Dan Brown's sensation, Angels and Demons.

Donna Johns, a library teacher at Newton North High School explains, “I’m concerned about turning reading into work. Sometimes you do read for work, for information, for class, but sometimes you really should just be reading for pleasure.’’

On the other side of the table are those who believe the summer reading list is an ideal way to introduce students to the beauty of classic literature. Heather Mac Donald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, states that the removal of classic books from summer reading lists is "heartbreaking." She further notes that such an elimination avoids the "cultural responsibility to keep this literature alive.’’

What do you think?

The National Ambassador for Young People's Literature
Provides Tips to Motivate Kids to Read
Regarding his goals as National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Jon Scieszka states, "My mission as Ambassador is to get kids excited about reading. Recent surveys and statistics show kids reading less, and getting worse at it. My experiences as an elementary school teacher, a children’s book writer, and the founder of a literacy initiative for boys called GUYS READ, have all taught me that kids will read if they are motivated to want to read."

Jon further states, "There is no one book that is right for all kids. But there are all kinds of crazy, interesting, and amazing books out there. It’s our job to help kids find that book that will inspire them to want to become readers. " Read more...

Additional Resources for Summer Reading Ideas Are Widely Available!
If you would like to pursue books beyond your child's or student's assigned list, visit your local library and check out these fun lists:

Association for Library Service to Children 2009 Notable Children's Books

The Horn Book's Summer Reading List for Kids and Teens

The National Endowment for the Humanities Summertime Favorites

Helpful advice for parents who struggle with getting their kids to read can be found in "Getting Your Tweens and Teens Reading This Summer!" on the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance website, which features a variety of articles geared at parents, teachers, and librarians who are invested in reading and literacy for kids.

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