In summer, let kids read what they will

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Dear Editor,

I would like to take a moment to express my thoughts concerningthe summer reading assignments implemented by various schools inthe area. First of all, I firmly agree that reading is a veryimportant part of a student’s education and we must make sure theirreading skills are maintained throughout the time they are awayfrom school; however, with their summers getting shorter, thereshould be other ways of encouraging them to maintain their readingskills without mandating which books they should read andrequiring them to take a test that counts as part of their regularschool term grade.

The way it appears to myself and others, children and parentsalike, the kids may not have been required to physically attendschool but remained in school just the same by receiving an outsideassignment that required much of their free time to complete. Iknow that the books on the list were not the typical books normallyrequired during the school year, but it was still an assignmentthrust upon each of them during a time when they should have beenenjoying themselves doing activities they wanted to do.

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For many kids, reading is a part of the activities they enjoydoing. They may not have read the books on the list; however, theydid read and may of them read often. I don’t know how many childrenI’ve heard say, “We love to read, but let us read what we’reinterested in and don’t require us to read what you want us to. Weget enough of that during the school year.”

With that thought in mind, I feel like there ought to be changesregarding this requirement next year. We as parents should beresponsible enough to encourage our children to read. We shouldalso be responsible enough to keep a journal regarding ourchildren’s reading and asking them questions concerning whatthey’ve read. No list should be necessary, but for those who wouldlike to continue using the list, they may do so. On the other hand,children who would like to read something other than what’s on thelist should be given the opportunity to do so. There should be achoice.

I have watched my children read all summer long. One of mychildren has read countless hours from the Bible. To us, there isno greater book. She has commented on how nice it’s been to read itas much as she’s wanted because during the school year she hadother assignments and didn’t get the opportunity to spend theamount of time reading it that she would’ve liked to. Other kidsfeel the same way with regards to their book preferences. No matterwhat books they choose, the important thing is that they read andthat we continue to encourage them to do so.

Leah N. King,