Summer invasion by aliens and school

Students have mixed feelings about TISD’s new summer reading program

Photo+illustration

Photo by Kayleigh Moreland

Photo illustration

Story by Eleanor Schroeder, staff writer

You turn in your final exams. You make plans with your friends to make your summer epic. When the bell rings, you throw your papers in the air “High School Musical” style and run to your car. But then you catch a glimpse of the book buried under the unique assortment of trash on your floorboard, and you realize that school is never going to end.

The English department implemented a new policy that requires every student to read an assigned book over the summer. Also, advanced students are required to complete a project and turn it in during the first week of school.

Many students are aware of the benefits this assignment will bring.

“I am for required reading because it can help get teachers and students a head start on the school year and give more time to discuss and learn about the book,” senior Cecelia Goesl said.

The summer assignment has many purposes and values. As Goesl said, coming to class having read the same text allows students to start with a common focus and allows for deeper instruction on the first day. This common reference point is used throughout the first few weeks to activate reading and text analysis. The policy also fosters the integration of vocabulary and writing practice and promotes reading for pleasure. Summer reading stimulates high order thinking skills to prepare students for college placement tests.

However, not all students are fond of the policy for multiple reasons.

“I did not like the summer reading because I have a job which gives me little time to work on reading the book,” sophomore Cameron Tarpley said. “It also takes away from a kid’s summer. ”

Many students who participate in summer camps or have jobs feel that required reading reduces their available time to do these activities.

“I’m totally against summer reading like any other student would be,” senior Angeles Chavez said. “Summer is our time as students to take a break from all the homework and stress and teachers giving students summer reading is dumb.”

Students agree that the intentions are good, but when anything is labeled “required,” students tend not to want to do it.

“I honestly do not think summer reading should be required because summer is our time, as teenagers, to escape from all the pressures that come with high school,” junior Elizabeth Sanders said. “We should be encouraged to read on our own time, or at least get to choose a book that interests us.”

Sanders said students are less likely to enjoy a book if it is about something that they are not interested in. For instance, many students were required to read about aliens and war, a subject of somewhat limited appeal. A possible solution to this issue would be to allow students to choose books to read from a short list of approved books that will actually interest and relate to them. However, a downside of this would be the loss of a common book for discussion in class.

There is no arguing the fact that reading improves students’ vocabulary and writing skills, which in turn will raise test scores.

The results of this year’s summer reading program will be influential in improving the assignment for next year.