The case for and against summer reading

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Time to hit the books!

CLARA DEL VECCHIO, Staff Writer

Now that the long and chaotic school year marred by the pandemic is coming to an end, students are preparing for even more work over the summer. Summer reading is a highly debated topic between students and schools. 

For years, books have been assigned to be read over the summer, and while some teachers and some students like it, others say it is counterproductive and does not increase the amount of summer reading students do. Both sides have compelling arguments. Summer reading can be a good thing and help people keep reading when school is not in session, but sometimes students don’t complete it, and/or the book is not even brought up in class.

On one hand, having a list of books to read from can make it easier for people to choose. They won’t have to spend time searching, and more often than not, the books assigned will be available for free at the library. The books on the list will be relevant to the curriculum, and will be the correct level of difficulty for the students. Members of the faculty will have read the books and know whether or not they are worth reading, whereas picking a book on your own can lead to reading something horrible and poorly written. 

Having the reading required may motivate students to read, and if the book is part of the english curriculum, everyone starts the school year on the same foot. Summer reading is a push by schools to make sure that students don’t lose valuable skills over the summer. If people are going months without reading, they might fall behind some of their other classmates or lose critical thinking skills they should have.

However, many feel that assigned summer reading is not beneficial and actually demotivates students. Summer is supposed to be the one time where there aren’t assignments due every day, and having something required goes against that goal. Additionally, the books that the school assigns are very specific to what will be read in class. There aren’t a variety of options, and for people who prefer graphic novels or fantasy books, the summer reading list often doesn’t have those types of books. 

Without a list people can choose books that appeal to them, and topics they may actually be interested in. Choosing what you want to read will encourage students to actually read the book, instead of just skimming it for the information the teachers will expect them to know. 

Instead of a specific book, schools could offer a list of books with a variety of genres that students could choose from.When a book is assigned for school reading, some lose interest simply because it is for school. When you are reading a book for school, assignments and essays come along with it, which takes the fun out of reading. Sometimes, the books aren’t even discussed in class, which makes the reading seem pointless.

There is a case for why summer reading is given by schools, but there are flaws in it. While some people like it, most students don’t enjoy it or simply don’t do it. It may be educational, but it isn’t very enjoyable and the selection of books is limited. 

I am a reader. I read all summer long. But not everyone reads for pleasure. So if we must assign books, I would like to see a wider variety in genres of books, and books written by more diverse authors, so that readers like myself no longer despise it. 

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