By Freya Sachs '00, HS English Teacher & Department Chair
You can imagine, each spring, the English Department gathered, starting our conversation about summer reading, and the many books we are excited about, that we think our students might also enjoy. Each year, we come up with ideas based on our own reading lives; ask students for input of their favorite, recent reads; get great suggestions from our librarians. We work to come up with wide-ranging lists of texts, hoping each student can find books they will enjoy. There are so many books we love, or that our students might love, that can’t fit in the confines of the academic calendar — so, here they are, just waiting for you this summer. Research shows, after all, that the best way to grow as learners is to grow as active, engaged, consistent readers.
Each year, the question arises: why do we ask students to do this summer reading at all? We believe that reading is the key to growth — as humans, learners, citizens. Our department has worked, and will continue to work, to create reading lists that allow each student to not only see characters like themselves, but also to find moments and texts that enable them to read with empathy and discover experiences of others; we strive to have a range of texts in terms of subject, challenge, and interest; we want summer reading to be enjoyable, interesting, fun.
So, consider this an invitation to take a break from our moment and enter another, to find experiences that help us understand our own, that deepen our understanding of the world we inhabit — or of another, imagined, world entirely. If you need help finding books you might enjoy, ask your teacher, our librarians, friends — and look for opportunities to share what we are reading, what inspires us, on the horizon.