By: Samantha Sanburn
Summer reading is an outdated method of teachers trying to force students to keep their minds sharp over the 2 months of summer break. When teachers assign summer reading, the goal is to read, comprehend, annotate and sometimes write an essay on the assigned book. But the question we ask is, “Why choose a book that students cannot relate to?”
The administration and English elite that choose the summer reading list take into consideration the classics, of course. However, the classics are just that — classic.
They have no merit to the minds of modern teenagers. Many teens cannot relate to E.B. White’s view in his chapter, “Death of a Pig.” For people to want to read a book and be interested in it, they have to be able to relate the plot or the moral of the story to their own life. Most of the essays written by E.B. White were written in the 1950’s or 1960’s, 40+ years behind our times now. Much has changed in the 40 years since these essays were written. Our society is a completely different world now and teachers need to assign relevant, current and modern novels that reflect that.
While on break, students want to relax and get away from school. They don’t want to have to focus on assignments and school related “homework” while we are trying to have fun during the summer. Teens also have a short attention span during the summer. Often they are running on a spontaneous, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants mentality. Often, many students wait until the week before school starts to read their summer reading assignment, and yet they do not fully engage — they often just turn to book forums.
If teachers desire to continue having the Advanced English classes follow a strenuous summer reading program, then they should consider that students need interesting books. However, as of now — summer reading is a no-go.