Sparknotes, Shmoop, and Cliffnotes: these are all websites that students use as shortcuts for summer reading. This year, Pinewood students were assigned “I am Malala” as their all school read.
Though many found the book inspiring and interesting, there were also many students that found the book to be a bit dry because of all the uninteresting details. Thus, Pinewood students should be allowed to select an all school read without teacher intervention.
“I usually like the summer reading at Pinewood, but I like the idea of being able to choose my own summer reading even better,” senior Evan Escher said.
Students like to have their own choice, especially when it comes to school, since they are usually forced to comply with the teachers’ methods. Therefore, allowing students to choose their summer reading could possibly allow them to feel like they have a break from teachers during summer.
“I think that if I could choose my own summer reading I might actually enjoy it more since teachers won’t be forcing me to do it,” freshman Jack Ahrens said.
Having students pick their own summer reading will also benefit teachers by facilitating the lengthy process of picking a suitable book.
“We spend months deciding on what the summer read will be because we want to find a good book for the students,” principal Mark Gardner said.
Obviously, there are both pros and cons to allowing students choose their own summer reading. One disadvantage is that often times, students choose shorter and easier texts that fail to meet Pinewood’s standards of difficulty based on their current reading level.
In addition, many students prefer books centered on romance, such as “Twilight,” and science fiction novels, such as “Ender’s Game.”
These books do not expand the critical thinking skills or vocabulary of students, which is the overall goal of Pinewood’s summer reading program.
There is also the possibility that students will choose books that they and their peers have already read. Still, if students are allowed to pick their own summer reading, they might find it more engaging and relevant to their lives.
Despite the obvious pitfalls in the plan, there is a happy medium. One alternative is to limit students to choosing from a specific genre of novel that has at least a certain number of pages. This would prevent students from finding loopholes..
Another is to have students submit two or three novels that comply with academic standards, (which can be decided by the teachers) and have teachers compile an abridged list of novels, which students can vote on.
Also a viable solution is to have teachers pick a list of 20 to 30 novels that they think are good reads and from there have students vote.
“I think there are definitely ways to make this plan work out; it’s just a matter of what the school plans to do. If students can have a say in their reading, I believe that it will make summer reading more interesting,” junior Roshan Bal said.
Overall, having students choose their own summer reading will bring a new variety of novel genres to Pinewood that will satisfy both the teachers and the students.