I don't ever remember getting summer homework in school, so I'm not sure when this trend started. But I find it irritating.
I understand that the schools want kids to read over the summer. They are trying to prevent skill loss. That also seems to be the motivator behind so many 'balanced calendar' and year round schools, and the shortening of summer break.
But I contend that making reading homework can actually be counterproductive. Because reading, something that should be enjoyable, is becoming a chore. Homework is work.
Last year, we had to track reading minutes for both boys. The schools tracked reading minutes, with classroom goals. Some days, the boys wanted to play or draw or do something creative. And we had to make them stop so they could get their reading minutes.
For 1st grade, the teacher set a goal of 200 minutes per week. That's about 30 minutes every day. Not so bad. Except if even one day had 0 minutes it was pretty difficult to hit that goal. Which can be hard on a 6 year old.
(Oh yeah, these goals are for 5 and 6 year olds. Who aren't so good at tracking this stuff, meaning mom and dad are keeping track.)
Now, some days they were really into reading, especially with the right book. On those days, they would read for an hour or more. But other days they just weren't in the mood. And making them read made them dislike it.
This summer, I haven't used the charts to track reading minutes or books read. Looking at them, we maybe haven't hit the goals for each day, but have my boys been reading? Yes. Yes, they have.
|Reading a Spongebob comic--on vacation!
Is it more important that they learn to love reading, learn to enjoy reading, or that they read a certain number of books for a certain number of minutes?
Now, there are kids who love the challenge of summer reading programs. And that's great. But I question the wisdom of making reading homework that has to be tracked, at least for new readers. Because I want my boys to want to read, not be forced to read.