post script

As much as I railed the other day about the institution of summer reading, today is the first day of the program at MPOW and I am loving talking to all of the kids and getting them excited about coming to our programs and reading.

I think my real problem isn’t with summer reading. I love the fun, the whimsy, the decorations and the special events. I think what I resent is the idea that we’re being held responsible for helping children maintain skills, when really we should be sharing literature and stories with them, without any ulterior motive.

I also just really detest the American school system. Too many tests, not enough play, and not enough emphasis on the joy and fun of learning.


2 responses to “post script”

  1. Julie, I find what you just said so interesting in light of reading your posts about your emerging reader storytimes (which I think are a fabulous idea!) last night.

    I have to say that in my community, the schools really partner with us to get the kids interested in reading over the summer. One of the private schools even offers their own summer reading program and opens their school library one day a week all summer. Some of the schools give pizza or ice cream parties for the kids who complete the Summer Reading Club, and they all emphasize to their students how important it is for them to visit the library and read over the summer (um… some more than others).

    I don’t disagree with you about the illogical summer break system, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that in some communities the schools do share the responsibility for encouraging kids to read over the summer. Of course, ultimately the bulk of that lies on the shoulders of parents and students.


  2. It does ultimately lie on the shoulders of the parents. Yet so many parents have been indoctrinated to think that only SERIOUS reading matters, and the school systems, with their mandatory summer reading lists, aren’t helping. I’ve had kids bring in mandatory reading lists where the newest title was 20 years old, and you could tell that sheet had been copies forty times over and probably originally came from a mimeograph. Not to say that older books aren’t great, but when you ignore a couple of decades worth of literature, you’re obviously either oblivious or so beyond caring that you can’t be bothered to get a new list. Or, better yet, forget the list and let kids read for enjoyment over the summer.

    Many libraries and school systems do have successful partnerships, but I suppose I am looking at the larger, more fundamental issues of our country’s education system, and how libraries, by making small changes, can help instigate changes. I think the lines between libraries and schools is really blurred for a lot of children and parents and libraries should embrace this perception rather than ignoring or refuting it. With initiatives such as Every Child Ready to Read, we’re actually willingly taking on a more educational role, which I, for one, am pleased with.

    Thanks for commenting! I think a lot of librarians have a lot to say about Summer Reading…and I am enjoying the conversation.


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