Summer Reading Has Many Benefits
June 21, 2022
Shannon Gustin, Veritas Features Editor
This summer at Rockland High School, the RHS library is hosting a summer reading program, directed by Ms. Kemp, the librarian for RHS and RMS. Even though it is optional, students are encouraged to participate in the event.
Ms. Kemp says, “I made this optional since so many classes assign work, and being required to read would only make people want to read less. I want the students to enjoy reading and not see it as just another assignment.”
This year Ms. Kemp put together a list of books that she hoped people would resonate with and be interested in. The books students can choose from are, Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman, Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life by Helen Czerski, The Many Worlds of Albie Bright by Christopher Edge, I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys, The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku, Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer, How to Stop Time by Matt Haig, Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard by Liz Murray, The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon, The Grapes of Math: How Life Reflects Numbers and Numbers Reflect Life by Alex Bellos and The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa.
“I want students to be inspired and want to read, so I chose books that reflect differences in people’s likes with many different genres” Ms. Kemp stated.
Some of the books that she liked the most and the ones she recommended are Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life by Helen Crzerski which is about how ordinary objects relate to problems like Climate Change and energy crisis. Crzerski introduces Physics in a way that many can understand and makes it less daunting.
Another favorite was, Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer, which is about Irena Sendler, a hero in World War 2, she saved 2500 Jewish children from the horrors of Auschwitz but her story went unnoticed, and 60 years later three students want to learn more about her why she is not heard of for a research project.
After the students pick and read their book they would complete a project where they would redesign a book cover that shows their interpretation of the book they chose. The design would include:
- Visual representation of a theme within the book
- Meaningful quote that reflects an important aspect of the book. Students should be able to explain why the quote was chosen during our RHS Library Takeover in September.
- Students will use Canva to complete their projects. Completed covers should be emailed to email@example.com by September 9th.
Then at the beginning of the year, students will be called down on September 23, during G block to participate in The RHS Library Takeover. During the takeover, there will be a book chat, serving of refreshments and a display of students’ redesigned covers. Ms. Kemp is hoping that through this takeover students would make connections with new people and celebrate reading.
Our school hasn’t hosted summer reading since 2019 before COVID-19 hit our community. But before the virus each year the number of students who participated varied. Ms. Kemp as well as many RHS teachers are encouraging students to participate in the event.
“Reading strengthens literacy skills, promotes empathy, heightens English skills, a celebration of works, and reading is good for the brain, so I think all students should make an effort to participate in summer reading this year” explained Ms. Kemp.
A few students have mentioned that they like the idea but do not think they have the time for it. Freshman Melia Olinek thinks that summer reading is a cool program but doesn’t think a lot of students will be doing it because of all the work they have already.
She states, “I will not be doing it this year. I am taking honors English next year and I have to read a book for that. I think it is important and I love to do it but also I want time to relax and not think about school. ”
Sophomore Meghan Gustin says, “I won’t be doing the summer reading this year because I already have many assignments from other teachers, and with work, I don’t think I will have any free time if I do the reading.”
Sophomore, Thomas Enman, had an opposite opinion on summer reading. “Over the summer reading has been easy and isn’t even bad. I honestly find it kind of fun when I get to do it on my own time.”
But some students don’t feel they will have enough time, especially since many teachers at RHS are assigning other work to get ready for their classes in the fall.
Some students have expressed that if it was mandatory or graded they would do the reading. But since it’s not they don’t feel it’s as important as other activities this summer.
The book options have been sent out to every student and if parents or students want additional information they can visit Aspen / X2 in the announcements section to get the link to titles and descriptions for each book.
Nicole Cedrone and Cameron Babcock also contributed to this report.
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