Should Summer Reading Be Required?

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Should Summer Reading Be Required?

Lexi Bessette, Staff Writer

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Books are an essential part of all young peoples’ lives. Books create a world where anything is possible. They give kids an imagination. They give kids the ability to fly, fight dragons, produce magic, and many more amazing things. Books provide an escape from the real world; from the scary, cruel dangers of the world. They provide a beautiful embrace of endless possibility. So the real question is: Why can’t we read what we want to read over the summer instead of being forced to read a book we have no interest in?

The latest book that was placed upon us was American Like Me by America Ferrara. It wasn’t a fun book to read at all. The people who were in the book were not very interesting. However, there were some people in the book who were exciting, to read about, like the people who were familiar to me. Celebrities like Lin Manuel Miranda and Liza Koshy; their short essays interested me. No one else really did because I have never heard of them, so it made me less intrigued to read their stories. America Ferraras’ reasoning behind the book was thoughtful and creative, and creativity is important, and is a key part of life. It’s just this book’s not it for me.

As children, picture books are a key part of our learning, but once children grow to be young adults all the fun is no longer allowed. We need to be serious and read ‘adult books’ about Stephen Hawking. Personally, I would rather read Harry Potter. I believe that books should be enjoyed, not forced upon us to read something we have no particular interest in. I agree with summer reading books, but don’t give us a list of books to choose from, or buy a bunch of books that no one is going to read. How about let us pick a book of our choosing and at the end of the year, before school ends, have each student give the teachers their book title and author, and at the beginning of the next school year have us write an essay about the book we read? Reading isn’t enjoyed anymore; books aren’t being read anymore. And it’s sad, honestly. I feel that people will be more willing to read if it doesn’t seem like a grade, and is not forced on us. I love reading, but only when it is my choice. I will read nonstop, but if it’s for a grade, I won’t; I would rather read for fun on my own with a book I’ll actually enjoy.

I understand why the school wants us to read books, I do. It’s just let it be on our own terms. Books are a gift and should be enjoyed. I’ve asked a couple of people, and they all said that if we got to pick the books, not from a list or anything, but a book we found and were genuinely interested in, then they would definitely read it.  The people I asked think it would work and is a good method, and that it would get more people to read. If they choose the book, then there is no reason why they won’t read it. The downside of this is how do we get these books out to the students? The solution can use the budget money we would usually have for the summer reading books and get the individual books for each student, but that seems like a hassle. I’ve talked to students, and they think this is an effective idea. Now, I just need to figure out how to execute it.