Summer reading cuts cause joy, concern

Summer reading cuts cause joy, concern

Desiree Shields, Staff Writer

Every current West Shore student knows about the annual English summer reading assignments, but this year the guidelines have been changed for the incoming seventh-graders and include less rigorous readings for the other grades.

“This change in requirements gives the students a more flexible schedule and a break from the hard work they receive throughout the years,” English Department chairwoman Jeanie Griffin said. “Although the curriculum has changed, there are still many requirements teachers expect to see when students come back from summer.”

In the past, Advanced Placement English teachers strictly enforced their summer assignments which required students to read intellectually advanced books. As a result, students often complained about “horrid-sized and slow-paced readings,” especially if they procrastinated until the last few days before returning to school.

But while the reduction in requirements has been welcomed by some, others are concerned about the change in curriculum.

“The transition to easier summer reading will prove to be detrimental to the school’s English department. Books like ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ are classic literature, and all students should read these books at some point,” senior Sam Lack said. “Lessening the students’ summer workload puts them at a disadvantage for the upcoming school year, especially in AP classes.”

Griffin’s response is that students will need to take greater responsibility for their English education.

“Students are still given a reading list and are encouraged to read as many books as they want from the list to help them with the upcoming year,” Griffin said. “The students take personal account for learning material and reading but with less anxiety over the summer.”

Suggested summer reading lists always have been handed out near the end of the school year, but because the readings are optional and are not attached to graded assignments, the books may never be opened.

Said senior Ryan Wheat: “The list of summer reading books that are good to read without any real project becomes a waster of paper in the back of the last year’s backpack.”