The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

August 27, 2001

Enduring the summer book list

By Sara Greene

As the last few glorious days of summer drift by, the reality of school kicks in.

Students are faced with the back to school rush, with new clothes and supplies needed.

And, after putting it off for weeks, it's time at last to tackle the summer reading list.

"I think it's quite pointless, no one ever does it," said Jeff Zammett, a junior at Bristol Eastern High School.

Both Eastern and Bristol Central High School hand out a summer reading list. Students are required to choose a book, read it and take notes on it.

During the first week back in the classroom, students must write about the book they claim they read.

Students have a wide range of opinions on the value of the summer reading requirement.

"I personally love summer reading because we wouldn't know about (the books) if you didn't have a list," said Amy Grover, a freshman at Central.

But Easter freshman Bryant Wong said, "I thought the books had no relevance to school whatsoever. For successful learning, students to see the worth of the assignment."

Zammett said many students just cheat.

Websites have made it easy to fib about this assignment. A student can easily find a summary for a number of books on the reading list on the Internet.

Even though they grumble about it, many students are willing to do the reading assignment. But a few suggested changes.

"I don't think it's that bad. I think we should be reading during the summer," said Lindsey McDowell, a freshman at Central. "One book isn't going to kill you, but it should be an option because some kids don't like reading."

Hannah Clifton, a freshman at Eastern, said, "I think that instead of giving you books they should assign you authors. That would let you choose the books, but gives them more freedom."

Maybe summer reading assignments need to include options to match the wide variety of students' needs, some said.

Many students interviewed agreed that availability of books was a worry -- particularly since many students wait until the end of the summer to complete their assignments.

Only a few of the books have reading appeal, students said.

This leaves lots of people scrambling for the same books at the same time, creating some frustrated and anxious students.

But many generally agreed that summer reading assignments can also be a good learning experience.

In order for summer reading to be valuable, said those like the assignment, book lists and follow-up assignments need to be reviewed regularly.

Tattoo writer Mike Nguyen contributed to this story.

The Tattoo's Insider's Guide to High School


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