Keep them Reading in the Summer

When parents, teachers and students work together a summer reading list is not a hard and dreaded thing. Students should have a well-developed habit of reading by the time they reach high school.  Many times students even find reading an enjoyable experience.

A great summer reading list is a combination of classic works and modern writings. There should be enough variety and a large enough list so that everyone can find something to enjoy. There are many lists out there and they vary greatly.

It is interesting to note that different parts of the country have a few different choices on their summer readings lists. For example, Huntsville, Alabama city schools has the reading lists broken down by grade, required reading, and enrichment reading. There are different expectations for those students who are enrolled in AP classes as well.

Prospect Height Public Library in Prospect Height Illinois had the high school students create their own personal summer reading list. One of the more interesting choices is “With Their Eyes: September 11th -The View from a High School at Ground Zero.” This book is edited by Annie Thomas, a writer in her own right.  But the stories are those of the student, teachers and school workers and their recollections of the events.  It is an excellent choice.

The reading list from Lake Highlands High includes “All the Pretty Horses” by Corman McCarthy. It is a coming of age story and part of a series. This may encourage students to read more.

With all the choices out there much of a reading list comes down to personal choices.  While this list is not perfect, or even all inclusive, it is “the” summer reading list to share.  The books are not listed in any particular order and the most important one may seem frivolous to most, but every reading list should begin with:

“Oh, The Places You’ll Go” – Dr. Seuss
“Whiteout” – Ken Follett
“Never Too Late: A Prosecutor’s Story of Justice in the Medgar Evars Case” – Bobby DeLaughter
“Gym Candy” – Carl Dueker
“Learn to Read Music” -Howard Shanet
“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” – Betty Smith
“Catcher in the Rye” – J.D. Salinger
“House of Spirits” – Isabelle Allende
“Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” – Annie Dillard
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” – Mark Haddon
“The Chocolate Wars” – Robert Cormier
“Animal Farm” – George Orwell
“Flowers for Algernon” – Daniel Keyes
“The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens” –  Sean Covey
“A Short History of Nearly Everything” – Bill Bryson
“Human.4” – Mike A. Lancaster
“Finding George Orwell in Burma” – Emma Larkin
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – Shakespeare
“The Bookseller of Kabul” – Asne Seierstad
“Little Women” – Louisa May Alcott
“The Keeper’s Tattoo” – Gill Arbuthnott

The problem with any list is that there is a limited number of items one can put on the list and some of the best ones have be left by the wayside. Lists are also about opinions. Everyone has their reasons, so take the list with a grain of salt and encourage others to do the same.