Friday, July 31, 2009

Read it "because I said so"

Why, as a mother, do I find Summer Reading assignments so aggravating? Probably because I feel the need to check in with my children and make sure they're getting through the list. And because invariably as we approach the back to school deadline there is much eye rolling and "I'll get it done" rather than the "Finished!" replies I'd prefer to hear.

But, more importantly, why does the Summer Reading list have to be so dry? Yes, I agree a study of literature is necessary and informative and educational - I'm an author after all - but it's also hard to support a list when the entire summer selection lacks even the smallest glitter of excitement in the forest of critical essays, forewords and footnotes.

I know their teachers and classmates will blow the dust off the text in the classroom discussion, but that's a hard sell on sunny days when the other chores are done and the temptations of waterparks, movies, and paintball beckon.

Having long ago broken my youthful (and ignorant) vow to never use the phrase "Because I said so..." on my own children, it's not a big surprise to hear myself saying "I read it and survived. Now it's your turn."

After all, what doesn't kill our love for reading makes it stronger.


1 comment:

  1. This is my pet peeve. If educators want kids to want to read, then they need to let them read some of what they want.

    If you force a kid to eat brussel sprouts they will NEVER like them, but if you let them make that choice on their own, they might just WANT to.

    Same with books. I am still traumatized from Kafka's The Metamorphasis, have had a phobio of bugs since the day I read it and that is just horrible!