Sharing Our Summer Reading

Confession from the Lower School Principal:

“I don’t actually remember a single summer in elementary, middle, or high school when I started my summer reading prior to August 1st.”

When I called my mother – with great hope that she would tell me my memories were incorrect – she confirmed that it was “like pulling teeth to get you started on that summer reading of yours.”

Interestingly, in elementary, middle, and high school, I adored reading. The thing with summer reading though, when I was growing up, was that there wasn’t much of a choice about what I read…and there wasn’t much dialogue going on with my friends – at swim meets, during soccer camps, and in the neighborhood tree houses – about what my friends were reading.

I’m sure that there are still many children – and even students in our Lower School – who feel the same way young Ms. Howard felt about summer reading. Yet, I also know that we are striving to enhance learning experiences in the Lower School, and in May, we created a digital space (a blog with currently over 650 views) called Sharing Our Summer Reading. As a result, students are exposed to a greater choice of reading selections and have a place to dialogue about their summer reading.

Student learners and adult learners (parents, teachers, and administrators) can submit recommendations and reviews which are posted for the immediate School community and for the world to see (already, visitors from Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela have happened upon our project). So far twelve reviews have been posted and rising second, third, fourth, and fifth graders have contributed thoughtful book recommendations (in addition to two contributions from adults).

One of our rising fifth graders, Tanya D., shared a review on The Tale of Despereaux and wrote,

The Tale of Despereaux is a page-turning book. It’s something you’d be reading in bed at midnight when you’re extremely tired, but you have to stay awake to finish the book. This book would appeal to someone who enjoys adventures and surprise. I would recommend this because it is interesting. Some characters switch heart completely.”

Not only will her review potentially motivate her classmates to be curious about Despereaux, but Tanya received valuable feedback from a second grade teacher at another school, a parent of a rising third grader, and a senior from the Upper School at Walker. Her blog post, like many others on the blog, is detailed and thoughtful. It invites others to engage…and that was our purpose in creating this digital space. While summer is certainly a time for play, rest, and a bit of summer reading, at Walker we are always striving to create engaging educational experiences for our learners — children and adults alike.

I hope you will take time to visit the Sharing Our Summer Reading blog…and if you have time to leave a comment, please do! Or better yet, write a review for a book you’ve enjoyed this summer!

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