F*ck Summer Reading

I’m writing this while I’m sitting at school. It’s 5:37pm and I’ve been awake for 12.5 long hours. While I wait for Open House to begin, bitter that I’m missing dinner with my boys and exhausted from the race home to drop off kids and wash dishes. So to be fair, my mindset isn’t all that positive.

As I enter the scores for summer reading, I can’t help but roll my eyes and let out an exhausted breath.

In one class of 20 children, 5 of them completed the summer reading assignment. That’s 75% of the kids who are starting the year failing my class.

I went over the assignment last week, and offered to let them go to the library to find a book if they needed to start the process. The teachers last year all encouraged the kids to read the books so that they could participate in the fun reading day celebration this month.

In all, about 50% of my kids read a book. That means that 50% of my kids are failing my class during the second week  of school.

Why do I, as the English teacher, have to start the year by failing kids who have so little parent support? The other content area teachers do not assign summer work. Somehow, the English teachers got stuck with the summer reading.

It is time for it to end.

Next year, I’m petitioning to end summer reading. There are piles and piles of research that explain why it’s helpful, and important. But my students don’t do it, and there isn’t anything else that I can do to help them complete it.

I complied the list of missing summer reading assignments and I emailed every parent. Only one emailed me back regarding the missing work. That’s a 2.5% parent response rate. What hope do these kids have? What hope do I have of pulling them back out of the trenches?

This is the last time that I’m going to start the year by failing my kids, after spending the first few days filling them with hope and excitement. This is the last time that I’ll have to call a parent who is already overwhelmed and let them know that their kid is behind before the year even started. This is the last time that I’ll be collecting summer reading.

I hope.





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