Imagine my surprise when I read an article in our local paper yesterday morning reporting that more and more school districts in Rhode Island are rethinking the assignment of summer reading. Some are choosing to eliminate it all together and others are choosing books that are more appealing to kids. I think that's a good start. Even as an avid reader myself, I can't imagine the torture of a HS student struggling through Moby Dick, A Tale of Two Cities, Shakespeare or even Tom Sawyer without the the benefit of classroom discussion. The old classics that we all read in HS are certainly valuable literary works, but read on their own, they are just not accessible to most teen readers (or many adult readers, for that matter). Those types of books need to be read with the guidance and analysis that can only come from reading in a structured setting under the tutelage of a skilled teacher. I am glad that more school districts and teachers are finally coming to this conclusion. Now maybe we can reclaim summer vacation for our children and our families.
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