this op-ed from Sunday's New York Times by educator Claire Needell Hollander, according to whether they advance readers' "verbal and world knowledge." "What summer reading needs to be is purposeful," she writes. I agree, but I think its purpose should be pure pleasure!
I do like Hollander's suggestion that adolescents be encouraged to read nonfiction. I cherished an irrational and baseless prejudice against nonfiction reading as a school-aged student; I had no idea how interesting nonfiction could be. So it seems like a great idea to introduce students to such books not only because they "provoke students to desire an expanded world knowledge, to consider the
flawed moral decision making of the past and the imperiled morality of
the future" but because nonfiction can be a great source of pleasure reading.
I feel so strongly that summer pleasure reading should be inviolate because school students often have so little choice in what they read during the rest of the year. In homeschooling we get to break down this opposition between required and pleasure reading, assigned and freely chosen books, school and vacation.