Monday, February 11, 2008

Summer Reading

"The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas."- Linus Pauling

I often use this quote with teachers to talk about the brainstorming process or keeping a Writer's Notebook. I know that I froze at times when asked to write and it is far easier to draw upon ideas that I had when the pressure was not on. In fact, I keep a WN for that purpose to this day.

However, I use this quote today to ponder aloud in the global network of blogging about a question posed to me today around summer reading. Many districts, including my own, are integrating summer reading lists for students. After much negotiating, these districts are offering students choice, collaborating with their local public libraries and working hard to select pieces that have literary merit yet also engage their students (is this necessarily an oxymoron?). I give these teachers and districts a tremendous amount of credit because they have reflected on what works and why they want kids to read to create some great choices.

But what do we do with the reading the kids do over the summer? Should we assess it formally? Should it count as a grade? Should we use it in discussion circles? If we don't have an accountability measure in place - will the students read?

These are great questions - hard questions!! What is everyone doing out there on this? Got any research about what works and what doesn't?

Image by donjuanna at Flickr.

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