Over the years, many students and teachers have realized that summer reading has become a drawback in our education. I can safely speak for most of the students at BHS when I say that no one likes summer reading. Yes, there are a handful of students who read for pleasure and actually try to uphold their reading levels during their time away from school, but for most, summer reading is a drag that we put off until the last possible week.
“In theory summer reading is an excellent idea. It is grounded in research, however the way it is carried out is not effective,” Ms. Keogh, former English teacher said.
Since the packets are not often altered from year to year, cheating runs ramped. Students have access to Sparknotes, Cliffnotes and other websites that practically do all the work for them. On top of that, many students have older siblings that have already completed the packet. It is extremely tempting for students to copy and paste material and become dependent on outside resources.
“Last year I spent 45 hours of my personal time tracking down plagiarism cases,” Keogh said.
It is also hard for students who wish to transfer from AP English courses to normal English classes because the chosen summer reading books are the main focal point of the curriculum. Each new school year, students come in with tests, essays and socratic seminars that are extremely hard to make up, especially for new students who are trying to transfer in.
Moverover, each English class is geared towards discussing and analyzing every ounce of our summer reading books for months and months, which makes students increasingly more uninterested in reading. A common trend among students is not only their disgust towards the forced work over the summer, but also the quality of the books. Throughout my years at BHS, I have yet to find a book that has sparked my interest. The vast majority of students will be more willing to complete the summer reading assignments if the books wear appealing.
“With summer reading, students should have the power of choice.” English teacher Weitman said.
The English department is the only department that begins the new year with packets and tests to grade. Yes, some AP courses do require you to do work over the summer, but those classes are optional and a smaller volume of students take the course. In order to change the curriculum, the new proposal must be voted and approved by the teachers in that department and undergo the Curriculum Improvement Plan (CIP), which can take up to years to change.
Summer reading was designed to maintain students reading and writing abilities, but the current system is making students hate reading rather than enjoy it.