In my household, we take reading very seriously.
For example, I read almost every night. I earned a perfect score in reading on the ACT during high school. I've drafted two novels and am mid-way through a third.
My 4th grader reads way above level and reads for fun all the time! He brings a book everywhere. He almost wept in pleasure when the newest Percy Jackson arrived at the local library. He spends his pocket money on books for his Kindle.
My mantle is even a shrine to Harry Potter.
But every summer, the library does a reading program, Scholastic does a reading program, or the bookstore does a reading program.
Then the local schools "challenge" the kids to log their reading as part of the contest. Sometimes, schools even require participation in the contest.
I hate it!
If a kid WANTS to compete in a "who can read more" reading contest, that's cool. I get why libraries and book stores might create these summer reading contests and they are fine with me as an optional program. A self-motivated kid is going to be an enthusiastic reader.
If a kid is a reluctant reader, he NEEDS to be forced to read. For my going-to-2nd-grader, mandatory reading is a wonderful thing. Still, logging is excessive. I say make life simpler and just say read for 20 minutes before bed.
But for the high achieving reader who reads for pleasure all summer long, logging makes reading a chore! Logging causes resentment.
Planners understand the feeling. We log stuff all the time. We might log while we are trying to learn a new routine (say, logging exercise all month) or reach a goal (say, logging cups of water).
Eventually, we burn out on logging.
But for a kid who picks up a book for fun, checking the start and end time of reading and walking over to the fridge to find the log and writing down the time and falling asleep book in hand so not knowing the time and getting stressed about losing the competition and being required to read...well, you can hear the overwhelm in his thoughts, right?
Schools are so overworked and have to make choices for the majority of kids. I get that.
In this case, however, they are demotivating reading in natural readers. They are ruining a great attitude and tradition.
They are stealing away the pleasure of a good book and a glass of cold lemonade on the front porch.
I say parents speak up to change that trend. Share with your friends on Facebook and let them know that reading logs should never be mandatory.
Lemonade and good books all around!
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