Last week, I shared links and quotes from a variety of discussions about the power of social reading and the defense of kids reading at and below grade level. This week, I'm continuing my link-sharing theme, and bringing you a selection of posts about the joys of kid-selected summer reading (as opposed to required or extra-challenging books). As with last week's links, these posts are all from blogs that I read regularly - people whose opinions I value. I hope that you enjoy the articles. [Image credit: photo by Gracey, shared via MorgueFile.]
Children's author Kate Messner inspired a flurry of posts and comments when she wrote an article In Defense of Summer Reading. She lists several "compelling reasons for schools to keep their standardized noses out of kids' summer reading". For example: "Summer is a time when our kids actually have the luxury of extra reading time, and if they're passionate about what they're reading, they can read for hours on end. We can't do that in school (as much as it's a lovely thought). But summer readers only show that kind of passion when they have choices. As teachers -- and parents -- we need to respect those choices." It's great stuff - another must-read post. Kate also includes a list of recommended (not required) titles for seventh grades. The list was assembled from student suggestions, and is an impressively diverse collection of books.
Here are some other posts on this topic from the last couple of weeks:
Kate Messner has another brief post linking to several responses and summer reading suggestions from her blogging friends. In that post, Kate also links to a post of Donalyn Miller's (Donalyn wrote The Book Whisperer) from last summer. It's one that I remember, out of the sea of blog posts from the year. Donalyn pointed out the lamentable difference between the light, escapist selections on her bookstore's summer reading table for adults and the classics-heavy summer reading table for teens. While Donalyn's post is certainly still apt a year later, I have been pleased to see a stronger defense of escapist summer reading for kids from around the blogs and newspapers this year.
Librarian Liz Burns takes up this topic at A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy, focusing on the importance of kids learning to make their own selections. She says: "If summer is about freedom --at least, for students if not for the rest of us! -- why not the freedom to pick your own books, including the freedom to fail at picking the right one?"
Teacher Monica Edinger shares a tongue-in-cheek poem about summer reading at Educating Alice.
Dawn Morris at Moms Inspire Learning says that summer reading should be kept fun. Based on the recommendations from her own kids, she shares "some books that have the potential to turn reluctant readers into avid readers" (for readers age 5 to 12).
The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance also has an article about summer reading "for the fun of it". They link to a June 25th Boston Globe article by Lisa Kocian about this, and also quote National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Jon Scieszka on tips for getting kids excited to read.
Kate Coombs has a must-read post at Book Aunt about how even "college educated parents in our society" aren't necessarily doing the right things to raise a new generation of readers. She touches on our previously-discussed topic of pressuring kids to read ahead of their grade level, and makes a strong plug for regular visits to the library and trying lots of different books.
And of course, if you somehow missed it, Pam Coughlan had a great post about summer reading here at Booklights last month.
And one final point, which ties back to our earlier discussion about reading and grade levels. If you're looking for book recommendations for early expert readers, Robin Gibson at Bookmuse recently recommended a book called: "Some of My Best Friends Are Books: Guiding Gifted Readers from Preschool to High School by Judith Wynn Halsted (Great Potential Press, 2002)". Robin said: "this book is an excellent resource for those early expert readers discussed a few weeks ago -- not just gifted children. It also includes ideas and book suggestions for readers as they grow." A new edition is scheduled for publication September 1st.
We hope that you and your kids are finding plenty of time for relaxing summer reading this leisurely 4th of July weekend.