By Sumiya Kibria ‘17
Imagine yourself coming back to school in September after summer vacation and not knowing the things you should know for your grade level. To help students better improve their reading, writing and speaking skills, the English Department issues a summer reading list at the end of every year. This is to make sure that students are not only taking the time off to relax and have fun but also stay on track in their academic field.
According to Ms. Suzane Thomas, the Assistant Principal of the English Department, “the summer reading assignment gives students a way to be productive and not only play video games or watch TV all day. It prevents students from having a ‘brain drain.’”
Shehrukh Wasif ’17 said, “Not only does summer reading benefit students in their academic levels it also provides an alternative to their social life. Rather than always being on social media, playing games, or hanging with friends students read to spend free time and just relax.”
The list is created by all the English teachers, who propose different books, which are then selected at random keeping a few things in mind such as availability, appropriateness, and relevance. The list consists of seven different sections, one for each grade level and one for each Advanced Placement English class. Students have six to eight different books to choose from.
However, the task for the Advance Placement students differs. The Advanced Placement English Language and Composition students have to read the book assigned to their class only and one of the books assigned to their grade level. The Advanced Placement English Literature students are instructed to read all three of the books assigned to their class and also one of the books assigned to their grade level. The AP Capstone Seminar students have a choice of three books to choose from. The task for all students is to be prepared to complete an assignment in the fall. The assignment may be a test, essay or project given by the teachers.
“Teachers propose titles and from that list we choose books that are thematically connected to discussions in class for the coming year,” said Ms. Catherine Kaczmarek.
The books assigned cover different interests that are commonly read by students, Ms. Thomas added.
Many students have given positive feedback on how the summer reading has helped them keep their brain active academically and gave them an alternative route to spend time when they had no plans.
Zaina Syed ’18 said, “I think summer reading is a great idea because it not only benefits students by keeping their brain active during the summer but it also gives them another way to spend their free time on days they don’t have anything planned.” She added, “It reduces the difficulty students may have due to the two month gap in their learning.”