A bit ago I posted a rant-like paragraph or two in this space about summer reading. I’ve found other people who are worried by the idea of required summer reading for kids in school. It is a bit of a no-win situation. Some kids like to read and will read all summer. They may be put off books that are required reading that they might otherwise like. On the other hand, some people get turned on to reading because someone made them read a book that they ended up loving.
I think one big issue is the way literature is taught in school. I speak as a teacher, but not a teacher of literature. I like to use novels in my teaching, but I’ve never studied how to talk about books. I just have students talk about books. This seems to work. I’m not saying that studying literature is a bad idea – but I think studying literature and criticism too soon is a bad idea. I wonder if classes can become communities of readers? Maybe that would prevent the studied hatred of poetry discussed in this poem.
What makes summer reading good reading? Is it a book? Are you reading it? Good.