NY Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof recently discovered a fact that will be no surprise to educators and librarians. During the summer vacation, students from lower economic families can lose two months of reading gains while they are absent from school. This is less of a concern for middle-class kids because their parents send them to camps, enroll them in summer reading programs, and read to them on a regular basis or make sure they are reading to themselves.
This is one of the primary justifications for the year-round school calendar which limits vacations throughout the year to 6 weeks. But trying to move away from what was initially an agrarian calendar has proven very difficult in schools with the vocal opposition of both teachers and parents.
Some urban districts make it a practice to ensure that students have library cards by taking them to the library during the school year and then encourage them to keep visiting during the summer. I would venture to guess that there is not a public library in this country that does not have a summer reading program for kids. All you need is a library card. And, that's free.
Last Sunday Mr. Kristof published as good a basic reading list as any I've seen. Most of these books he read himself or read to his kids. It's hard to argue with any of his selections. I particularly like this selection from his op ed piece:
"(As for Nancy Drew, I yawned over her, but she seems to turn girls into Supreme Court justices. Among her fans as kids were Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.)" Check out the link for a cool article on this topic.
Without further ado, here is his list.
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