Can I Ask You a Question?

I’m working on a piece about summer reading for our local library. I thought I would start at the beginning of the writing process and do a bit of thinking before I start drafting. I realize that I don’t spend enough time in this first phase of the process. I tend to jump right to drafting. I think my writing would be better if I spent more time in rehearsal. And so, here I am, rehearsing.

I ask kids to jot ideas, sketch across pages, talk with partners, just sit and do some thinking, some wondering. It’s hard for them. They want to get started right away. I realize that it’s hard for me too. And so, here I am, rehearsing.

I started with notes:

The summer slide – bigger concern this summer than ever before.

What is summer reading?

What do I do?

What do I hope kids will do?

What is my vision, my hope, my dream for our kids as we send them off for a summer of reading?

I started wondering: What do kids envision when they hear the words summer reading? Do they envision books in a beach bag, reading in the back yard, or in a park, or in a special place in a home or apartment? Do they see stacks of favorite books piled next to their beds? Do they picture trips to the library? Or do they envision “lists and Pizza Hut and some kid who always read like 80 books” (my daughter’s response to my research question – a dinner at Pizza Hut being the reward for a summer of reading)? Does summer reading say pleasure, or does it say torture?

I was wondering what you envision when you hear the words summer reading? If you have school aged children, I’d love to hear their responses too.

Can you help me with this first phase of my process?

10 thoughts on “Can I Ask You a Question?”

  1. What an interesting question! I’m checking back to see all the responses you get on this. What immediately comes to mind is TIME to read – the days without deadlines and demands and tight time constraints. Whether I’m reading in a hammock or a beach chair or in the air conditioned house on the sofa, I envision long
    Stretches of time to read.

  2. Live that your doing this. I love that I can read anything I choose! Many of my summer choices are more laid back than my other reads.

  3. Summer reading for me is all about sinking into YA lit (I teach 8th graders). I almost always begin with the Library Association website and the many, many lists….then I make my own list, put the books on hold at our library and move through them, one at a time. It is glorious!!

  4. I like the questions you’re asking. It’s fun to hear your thought process.
    I love reading, but when I hear teachers talk about summer reading (unfortunately) I think of homework more than choice. I wonder why? I never felt burdened by it.

  5. I remember the required books of high school. They were heavy and hard. Dated and dingy. Adi says she would like to read Mercy Watson in the shade. I’ll get back to you for Wren!

    1. Wren said she pictures a big book and looking out the window. The sun is shining. Out bookshelf gets more crowded because we get more books to read over the summer.”

  6. Well, my school-aged children are now grown – 26, 21, and 19. But, summer reading was always a thing for us. There were all enrolled in the summer library program that gave prizes for recording the books that were read, getting pages in folder stamped, and collecting tickets for a prize booth. My oldest did it until he was almost done with HS. My other two, not so long. My two oldest would embrace summer reading, but my youngest, not so much. Summer meant time for fun as well as time to read what you want….no requirements. That’s what we did. And, I think that’s what made it enjoyable for the most part for them.

  7. I love how you’re taking the time to unpack this! When I think of summer reading, I think of the adventures I can take in books and the endless choices. I think of getting to stay up as late as I want with a great book and I think of the refreshing chill of the air conditioned library.

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