Summer Reading: Is It Really Necessary??

Coming from a teenager, an annual event that we call summer vacation happens after every 10 months of a whole school year working our butts off. And to us, this means freedom, fun, and sun! And when someone asks “What time is it?” after the long-anticipated final ring of the school bell, we all ring out “SUMMER-TIME!” Not “SUMMER-READING!” No. That there is just a downer to our youthful ears.

It’s not like we teenagers absolutely despise the idea of getting down and quiet by reading, because some people like me actually love to read a good book. I think we just dislike the thought of how school is still managing to maintain a firm control on us even during our vacation.And they do just that by assigning us summer reading. What happens in summer reading is this: our school gives us a certain book to read over the summer depending on our level in literacy. Usually we have to accompany some kind of note-taking or essay along with our reading, but this year we didn’t (Thank God). But we do have a series of projects and tasks that welcomes us back into our new school year when we return.

Vacation:(n) an extended period of recreation.

Recreation:(n) activity done for enjoyment when no one is not working

Now look at those definitions. STUDY those terms. (like NOT WORKING-specifically on summer reading). In my opinion, I think that the school district should just give us a break. That’s what vacation is all about, isn’t it? I mean, can’t they handle not assigning any homework for just 2 months? That’s all we schoolers ask.

But then again, summer reading may also not be that bad. We just have to read one book within a 2 month time period. And that could be the only book we read in those two months, and off we go playing on the beach. It also makes sure our brains don’t completely shut down the moment school ends, because that would be pretty unfortunate if we all came back forgetting  10 months worth of education in just 1/5 of that time! Summer reading also introduces us to more difficult books as we get older, so that what we’re reading is mutual to our age and learning. It may even let us try out new book genres that we’ve never considered reading before!

So what do you think of summer reading? Do you think it is worthwhile? Or is it just another homework assignment?

To give you some examples, here are the 7th grade going into 8th summer reading list for our school this year.

Last Shot by John Feinstein

Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

Shabanu by Suzanne Fisher Staples

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

Advanced Students

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side by Eric Schlosser

I’m in advanced, so I chose to read Treasure Island, because I’m absolutely in love with fantasy-adventurey books like that. Plus it’s a classic. Right now, I’m on page 109, Chapter XII. And I have 234 more pages to go, and only 8 more days to read them. Since this is a summer reading book, I can only borrow it for 2 weeks, as oppose to 1 month. So as I’m trying to read through this, I’m having a little hard time because of the, what I call, “old world language.”(But then again, I’m a teen, so everything is pretty much a haul right now) I guess you could say that I’m carefully picking up on the main ideas and getting along, with the help of my trusty dictionary beside me. But it’s not really helping that they’re talking in pirate speak, too. I stumbled across the word sittyated at the beginning of the book, and I was basically thrown off for awhile.

“This is a handy cove,”says he at length, “and a pleasant sittyated grogshop.” -Treasure Island

After googling, I finally realized that sittyated meant situated, but it was just spelled accordingly to how I pirate would apparently say it. I had a pretty amusing time with the word grogshop, too. (grogshop- a place where spirits (originally rum) are sold)

Reading can be such an adventure in itself. It’s already worn me out!

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