Required Summer Reading?

Discussion in 'High School' started by bandnerdtx, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 28, 2009

    Do any of your English departments assign summer reading, and if so, what are the kinds of pieces that are required?

    My daughter will be entering high school this fall, and she's been assigned to read A Tale of Two Cities. I think this is ridiculous.

    Don't get me wrong, the piece itself is a good piece and worthy of being studied, but I don't think it should be read independently by 14 year old kids over the summer. I just don't see how they are really going to get anything out of it. Worse, I think they'll get so frustrated that they'll never pick it up again as adults when they really might be able to get it.

    Anyway, I'm just curious what your English departments assign for the summer (if anything).
     
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  3. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jul 28, 2009

    We don't.
    A Tale of Two Cities should not be read independently ... Readicide at its best, eh?
     
  4. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Jul 28, 2009

    I'm new to our department this year, and I was sad to discover that at my new school only honors and gifted students have summer reading. Also, it must be from an approved list, which does not have much interesting on it. I'll be teaching general, and I would have loved to have something to get the discussion going the first week of school. I've already been told to expect to be able to accomplish much less with my general kids than I would like, but it seems like if you expect less from kids they will do less.
     
  5. carlea

    carlea Comrade

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    Jul 28, 2009

    I didn't read A Tale of Two Cities until I was a senior & even then I didn't understand it until we had our class discussions! I ended up loving it though.

    In 10th grade we were assigned to read Shakespeare's Julius Caesar silently in class. I refused, told the teacher "Why should I sit here and read it when I don't understand it?" and she sent me to the 'adjustment room'.
     
  6. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 28, 2009

    The bonus side of this is that I've been able to teach my daughter to effectively and correctly use Spark Notes/Cliff Notes to help you understand a text.

    What really makes me upset is that it's simply a status thing with the school. They want to be able to say, "Oh, our students read Tale of Two Cities independently their freshmen year." My daughter's bff is arguably one of, if not *the* brightest student in her class (headed straight for Valedictorian), and she told me, "Ms. Bandnerdtx, I 'read' it, but I can't really tell you much more than the basics about it."

    Grrr.
     
  7. dovian

    dovian Comrade

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    Jul 28, 2009

    Yep, we do - and summer work in other subjects too. It used to be 3 books a summer for English but year before last we got together and said no more - now it's only two.

    Freshmen: Shabanu by Suzanne Fisher Staples
    The Learning Tree by Gordon Parks
    Sophomores: The Color of Water by James McBride
    The Piano Lesson by August Wilson
    Juniors: regular: I Tituba Black Witch of Salem by Maryse Conde
    The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
    AP/IB: The Crucible; The Scarlet Letter
    Seniors: regular: Angela's Ashes, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (this is new this year; we were made to get rid of The Joys of Motherhood)
    IB: Madame Bovary, The House of the Spirits, Woman at Point Zero
    AP, don't remember.

    For each book they have written work that varies by grade and a test when they get back in the fall.
     
  8. Teaching_101

    Teaching_101 Companion

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    Aug 22, 2009

    I know that this post is a bit late, but I remember explicitly the summer reading list I had as an incoming freshman and as a sophomore. It consisted of three separate books each year:

    Freshman
    Mythology
    Odyssey
    Le Morte d'Arthur

    Sophomore
    A Separate Peace
    Ethan Frome
    Cold Sassy Tree
     
  9. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Aug 22, 2009

    The whole school read one book this summer, called The Book Thief. This is the first time the school did it this way - prior to this students were assigned several books based on their grade and academic level.

    I felt this was a very heavy subject (Holocaust) to ask students to tackle on their own without any guidance. It is 576 pages long.
     
  10. kfhsdramaqueen

    kfhsdramaqueen Rookie

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    Sep 3, 2009

    Kids have to read to keep their minds active. My AP students personally had 4 books to read over the summer: Grapes of Wrath, Civil Disobedience, Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, and I Know why the Cage Bird Sings. We had an online discussion in which they had to answer questions about language, attitute, atmosphere, etc. The only way students can learn to interprete is to read and try. If they are always being guided and having their hand held, they will never learn. My AP reading list, was Scarlet letter, Grapes of Wrath, Walden, Red Badge of Courage and OUr Town.

    And frankly, Tale of Two Cities is one of Dickens easiest novels, I don't think its that difficult to understand. I hate Dickens, and I read it in 8th grade.
     
  11. Vegas Art Guy

    Vegas Art Guy Rookie

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    Sep 19, 2009

    Nope, they'll do enough reading this year as it is. We've already done one short story (Two Kinds), in the middle of "The Most Dangerous Game" as well as several news articles. I want reading for my students to enjoy or at least not hate reading, assigning reading will insure that they hate reading.
     
  12. kidsandpups

    kidsandpups Companion

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    Sep 19, 2009

    I only assign summer reading because I have to. I gave the incoming 6th graders Gone Away Lake and the 7th/8th graders Hound of the Baskervilles. They had to come back to school with a book report.

    If I could I'd just ask them to keep a list of what they read during the summer and have a parent sign off on it.
     
  13. KLSSwimmer

    KLSSwimmer Habitué

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    Sep 19, 2009

    When I was in high school, and I think that it is continued now, I was required to do summer reading, but I was in honor's classes. We had to read three to four books, and do writing assignments/projects with them.
     

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