School Reading Lists
By Joan Whetzel
Schools create reading lists for their students - usually one for the school year and another for the summer. The summer reading list appears on most school websites near the end the end of the school year. The school year reading list makes its appearance just before school starts or is handed out to students during the first week of school. Schools don't want their students to think of that reading as a chore. The books on the most school reading lists - whether for summer or school year reading - should be seen as an invitation to a rip-roaring, alien fighting, page-turning, mystery adventure.
Why Summer Reading Lists?
Why do schools want kids to read during the summer? Isn't summer supposed to be for relaxing and taking vacations? The short answer is "Yes." However, part of the summer fun can include the adventures found in a good book. Summer reading is not intended as a punishment or more homework. The books included on the summer reading list are meant to foster the enjoyment of reading, to cultivate curiosity, to invite kids into reading experiences that will provide an enjoyment of reading.
What About the School Year Reading Lists?
Usually these are books that go along with the curriculum. So these books are considered homework. However, the teachers, and the schools, try to choose books that the children will emjoy reading as well books that they will learn something from.
How to Get Your Kids Reading
Just how do you convince your kids it's cool to read?
1. First and foremost, by letting them catch you reading yourself. Kids who see their parents, guardians, and grandparents reading for pleasure, develop a pleasure of reading themselves.
2. Secondly, when the adults in their lives peruse the bookshelves with them at the local library or book store, the kids soon realize just how many intriguing books are out there waiting to be discovered. Besides, if you let them pick out a few books of their own choosing, books that aren't on the list, they have an even greater incentive to read, because it's something they picked out themselves.
3. Reading any time of year provides a cool and quiet activity for those afternoons when it's too hot to play outside and those rainy or cold days when they are stuck inside.
4. For younger children (1st through 3rd grade), when parents read the books with their children, they get to share the adventure with them. And what could be more fun than a shared adventure?
Buy or Check Out from The Library?
Purchasing the books on your child's reading list is not strictly necessary. They can be checked out from the local library. However, if it turns out to be a book the child really loves and wants to read again, a purchased book becomes part of their own personal library, a cherished possession. This can only foster a deeper love of reading. If, after a while, the child finds he or she has outgrown the book, it can be passed on to another child or family, or it can be donated to the library for others to check out. If you can't afford to buy many books, or you're just not sure how much you child will like a certain book, then a trip to the library is the most cost effective method for obtaining the books on the list. Make sure to check out discount book stores as many of these stores carry the books on local school reading lists at a fraction of the cost. Also ask friends and family if they have these books and would be willing to lend them to you as another cost saving method of obtaining the reading material.
Where to Find the Reading Lists
Locating a copy of the reading list is easy. Check in with:
· School District Web Site
· The Website for Your Child's School
· School Front Office
The summer and school year reading lists are usually broken down by grade level, for elementary school readers and at individual middle school or high school classes. So if your child just completed the 2nd grade, he or she will need to read books on the 3rd grade summer reading list. The school district or your child's school will let you know if there's a form or a place on the website where the kids can check off the books they've read, or if there is anything that needs to be turned in at the beginning of the next school year showing what they've read. They can also let you know if they recommend your child read a minimum number of books.
Parents and students can get a jump start on their summer reading by going online or visiting the school's front office to obtain their copy now. But don't worry if it isn't, ready yet, you won't have long to wait. Just keep checking back for your summer reading adventures. Have a wonderful summer and Happy Reading!