Monday, July 14, 2008

Adult Summer Reading Lists

I read with interest all of the comments on Franki's post about summer reading lists yesterday. Then I looked back at our series last week on the summer reading of our favorite literacy leaders. Here's what I found out about how adult readers make their summer reading "lists." We choose the books we read because
  • they are our book club book
  • they are another by our favorite author
  • we saw them on display in the book store
  • they are part of our favorite genre or our "own little reading club" (Katie Wood Ray's term)
  • a friend recommended them
  • to stay current
  • for a project
  • we bought them at a conference
  • we have lots of airport/airplane time
Just to restate the obvious:

1. Adult readers definitely create summer reading lists. But we create them for ourselves and for our own purposes.

2. Even our youngest students learn to choose books that are just right for them. My fourth graders chose books this past school year for every reason on the above list except the conference one. (I had a student who thought very carefully about what book he would take when his family went to India.)

3. Summer reading lists are not the problem. A list as a mandate rather than a suggestion is the problem.


  1. I agree! I am constantly making lists, copying down other people's lists, etc. I think kids (and parents) find it helpful to have lists of books they might enjoy reading. It's when someone tells me I HAVE to read something...

  2. does "friend" include amazon recommendations? that "customers who bought ... also bought ..." gets me every time!

    and a related note: the first getting-to-know-you activity kylene beers and bob probst had us do at the literacy retreat i attended was to go around and share our favorite titles with others! an interesting idea for a beginning of the year activity...

  3. I have stayed out of the reading list discussion for the most part because I like to let kids make their own lists of what to read, and in my position I have had that luxury. I think you are on to something with this. Maybe we should be teaching kids how to go about making their lists by suggesting these strategies and giving them the models and opportunities. I think the teachers at my school do a good job of that, even taking them to bookstores on field trips and making library visits progressively free choice from collaboratively developed lists.


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