Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Now as a parent I greet the summer with a mix of relief (Yay! We can sleep in!) and worry (Okay, now what?) and the statistics of "summer learning loss" that are tossed around as early as a month before school gets out. I particularly enjoy the commercial for a learning center that shows words literally pouring out of a child's ear as he climbs out of the pool. The parent in me gets completely freaked with this information but there's this other part of me that's like...
Oh. Please. Come. On.
Whatever happened to summer just being summer? Family vacation? Time to goof off? Time to swim, make a sand castle, hunt for treasure, sleep in a tent, capture lightning bugs, run just because it feels good or eat ice pops that turn your tongue purple?
Not that I'm against summer reading - I don't like being the ENFORCER. And while I never had a summer reading list, I usually read during the summer. Mind you, I wasn't reading Newbery winners - more like Forever by Judy Blume or the Flowers in the Attic series by V.C. Andrews. Books that I enjoyed - does it matter if I wasn't analyzing them? Answering essay questions? Thinking about deeper themes and meaning? I read, for the sake of - gasp - reading and I'd really like to raise children who read because they love it as well.
I do think summer reading is important, but so is goofing off. Make anything a requirement and it suddenly becomes a drag. A sure fire way to make any reluctant or rebellious would be reader push away from the table.
So Paper Waiters, what do you think? Is it more important to read from a classic reading list and work on a project than to read for enjoyment? Or can the two co-exist peacefully, especially in the summer?