This is a timely reflection on summer reading lists: http://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/teachersatwork/2856/
No one ever gave me a summer reading list. No one had to: I just read. I associate the blood, chills, and horror of The Shining with the cheer of a July sun. The Mists of Avalon was read on sandy beaches: the moors and castle walls brought to life in the pages of a book, with gritty sand and coconut oil in the background. Soaking in the sun’s rays or cooling off in air conditioning, there was a novel in my hands at all times.
Most of what I do is basically this: I try to get 8th grade students to not hate school.
They come to me saying they hate to read. They hate to write. And I feel that I have to constantly “trick them” into other behaviors. It feels manipulative and sneaky sometimes. That spoonful of sugar only works with British governesses who drop out of skies, slowed by bumbershoots. But I model that joy, share it excessively, exhubertenly, and rain down on their darling heads lots of sugar and chimney dance numbers.
But it doesn’t always work.
And I must admit, sometimes I feel a bit discouraged. Were there more kids who would step up and read? Now it seems that the majority are defiantly, blatantly embracing ignorance and broken habits of mind. We enjoyed an emergence of a generation of nerds and geeks who rule; is now the age of the punks and rebels?
I look around. Did we “take away” the summer day, the day at the beach, park, library, where a kid can just read?
It’s our fault. Bring back the metaphorical lounge chair.