Students should be allowed to choose summer reading book

Rebecca Cohen ('15)/ Eastside Underground Editor

Summer reading has been implemented at Cherry Hill middle schools and high schools for years now.  Typically, students must read one or two assigned books and complete a project or assignment based on their level of schooling, the class they are taking, and the book they read.  In my opinion, Cherry Hill asks a lot of their students for summer work.  The overall purpose of summer reading is to keep kids exercising their brains when they are out of classes over the summer.  Ultimately, this is a great idea.  Kids do need a way to stay in school mode while not in school.  Although, I do believe the standards for Cherry Hill summer reading can be lowered.            

For example, I am required to read two books of American Literature along with an assignment to do, all due the first day of school.  Neither of these books are particularly easy to comprehend and the assignment takes a good amount of time and thought to complete.  I know people, though, from neighboring schools who not only have to read one book, but each individual has the opportunity to choose any book they want to read for the summer.            

The difference between these two are simply the choice versus the assigned reading to do over the summer.  Often times, students who get to choose what they get to read are more eager to read over the summer and will actually complete the reading.  I find that many students, especially at East, are not interested in the assigned material and some do not even read the books.           

The point of summer reading, regardless of the material, is to work the students’ brains over the course of the summer.  So in reality, does it really matter what kids read?  If it were up to me, I would allow kids to choose their summer reading books.  It would get kids excited about doing an assignment over the summer.  It would also encourage reading for fun and not just for school because they have the opportunity to explore novels the school would not assign.  By doing this, the overall goal of summer reading would still be achieved, and students would not hate to complete it.  Summer assignments, like the season itself, should be more lax than an assignment during the school year, but right now, I feel as if I am doing double the work I would have to in my English class.  The choice of summer reading books could solve so many issues the students have with the summer reading assignment and encourage kids to do their school work and enjoy it.