I have been reading with interest the many posts on Summer Reading lists (for example, here and here and here) and am worried about where we, as a group, are going with this thinking. My biggest problem with summer reading lists is the fact that we, as adults, think that we are better equipped to choose books for kids than they are equipped to choose books for themselves. No one likes a summer reading list that is mandated and by creating one, no matter how good it may be, you are taking choice away from a reader.
I think summer reading is a lifelong habit we want to instill in kids. Summer reading is often the best reading. But kids are not going to become readers if they see reading as an assignment and don't have the opportunity to read the books they choose.
My daughter who will be a senior in high school, was thrilled to have the summer to read the TWILIGHT series. She is holding off on her summer reading list until August and fitting in as much of her summer as possible with the books that she's had on her "to read" list for a while. She is reading like crazy and loving it. Isn't that what we want?
Recommending books that are good for kids and giving our opinions is far different from creating lists of books by grade level or grade range. Creating lists for parents and teachers is far different from creating reviews for kids so that they can DECIDE what they want to read. Creating our own summer reading lists because we don't like the ones out there, only says that we like the idea of summer reading lists if they are lists that WE create. Where is the child as reader in these conversations?