It is a rainy day here in NJ and I am encouraging the kids to stay in, relax and work on their summer reading for school. They have been so busy with friends this summer riding bikes, swimming, and playing Pokemon Go, that the reading has taken a back seat. They play so hard all day that they are completely exhausted at the end of the day and little reading gets done. As a parent I will usually trade their physical activity for the lack of reading but now it is time to buckle down and get it done.
My kids are pretty active readers. They typically read without prompting during the school year. My school district focuses on reading as the cornerstone for education and I support them 100%. Just about any educator will tell you that the key to growing intelligence and empathy is reading. The elementary school kids are required to read for 100 minutes per week and at the end of each book they write a report about the story. For instance did they like the book or not and why. The reports are very fun to read and they are basically book reviews from the perspective of children.
The summer reading this year was different however as the kids migrated to middle school. The assignment was more formal and required notes and annotations, effectively taking the joy out of reading. I never needed to encourage my kids to read during the school year but the assignment this summer left them with a distaste for pleasure reading. Instead of reading the book through and focusing on the stories and character development from a storytelling point of view they were required to find facts about character development and quote lines and page numbers. My kids were put off by this as it felt like more like work and not pleasure reading. They were more focused on finding quotes and page numbers than getting into the story and enjoying the reading.
I am keenly aware of the need to learn notes and annotations in schoolwork. However I believe there is a time and place for it. Research papers during the school year that require documentation are a great place to practice some of the more mundane aspects of reading.
For some reason neither my kids nor I felt like a summer pleasure reading assignment was the place to practice this.
I intend to share my opinion with the principal. It may fall on deaf ears but I feel like we need to do everything possible to keep pleasure reading pleasurable.
Am I being an overprotective and coddling parent or do you agree with me?