Summer Reading

Every summer, since the one before my oldest child started school, we have had summer reading projects. Depending on your child’s age they have to read x number of books and then do a project on one of them. I know why schools do this because it’s been proven that reading levels deteriorate over the summer if kids don’t read. Makes sense. They don’t want my kids getting less smart over the summer, or heaven forbid going down in reading levels which would in turn affect test scores the next year…well this summer we are doing something different at my house. Some of my kids will be homeschooling next year so I decided I , I mean they, didn’t have to do reading projects this year. GASP!

Disclaimer: at this point ya’ll are thinking I am crazy and my husband, who is a school administrator, is covering his eyes in embarrassment that his wife would do such a thing. So, I want to let you know that my husband did not condone this behavior. lol

So, back to not reading this summer. I am gonna tell you why I chose this path of least resistance this year.

1. I am tired ya’ll. I am tired of making my kids do stuff they don’t want to do. All year long they have to read each day at school and then again for homework. They have to do projects and more homework. And who is it that has to make my kids complete this stuff….me! I would love to tell you they are intrinsically motivated enough to want to do this stuff for the betterment of themselves, but really, no. They are in elementary school. The only thing they are intrinsically motivated to do is nothing. Parents are the ones who ultimately hold the responsibility to motivate their kids to do their school work by whatever means necessary. (bribery, punishment, beatings…whatever). I am tired of motivating my kids. I have been doing it for five years now and I’m tired. I felt like we needed to take a break this summer and just play. What happened to summer break…meaning no school whatsoever? Doing schoolwork during the summer when I was growing up meant you didn’t pass the grade you were in and were in summer school. Now, every kid has summer work to do. I think we need to just give kids a break during the summer. Let them be kids for a while.

2. My kids hate reading. When I sent my son to school in first grade, we homeschooled kindergarten, he loved to read. Now, entering fifth grade he hates it. Why? Well, mostly it has to do with the way that kids are made to read in school. They have to read certain book based on their reading level. My son is picky about what he likes to read and when I taught him to read I let him read whatever he wanted. Usually you start kids reading on these leveled reader books for young kids. My son had no interest in those and instead wanted to read a very hard book about dinosaurs. The librarian told me I couldn’t teach him to read on that book that I should get a leveled reader for him. I disagree. He learned to read on hard books with my help and he loved to read. I understand why schools do reading levels, to motivate kids to challenge themselves and grow as readers. I get it. However, I think it fails to do one thing. Teach kids to love to read. I think kids should be able to read whatever they want to read, within reason, and therefore learn that reading is fun and they enjoy it. Reading levels take all the fun out of it. So, now that they have been in school for a few years and exposed to this reading levels stuff, they hate reading. So, this summer we just stopped any forced reading. They were allowed to read whatever they wanted whenever they wanted and I said nothing about it. They see me reading all the time and they in turn want to read. They are learning to love reading again. That is a more valuable lesson, I feel.

That’s why we stopped reading this summer. They will have some things they have to read for homeschooling this year, but most of the time I will let them read what they choose to read. I know my husband is having a coronary right now, so I will stop all the anti reading rhetoric. lol

“He that loves reading has everything within his reach” William Godwin


2 thoughts on “Summer Reading

  1. I say, bravo. A break is good but finding a way to reinstill the love is even better. (And the break is probably responsible for half of that.) I used to say this in conferences all the time. “Take him to the library and let him choose something he’s interested in.” Interest is an irreplaceable motivation.

  2. This post isn’t anti-reading at all! You’re doing exactly what your kids need – letting them read what interests them and setting an example by reading yourself. Do you read to them or get audiobooks for them to listen to? My kids love listening to audiobooks from the library while they play or draw.
    I remember a children’s librarian at the public library asking WHY I was reading chapter books to A when he was 2 or 3. My response – why not?!?

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