Should You Force Your Child to Read Over the Summer?
Absolutely not. Imagine a diet that goes like this: Nine months of whey smoothies and dripping sweat on the treadmill. You look great! You deserve a break. Follow it up with twelve weeks of chocolate, pasta, wine, and remote control juggling and indulge in the sweet relief of a break from all the craziness. How do you look then? How do you feel?
Reading is no different, and the brain is a muscle to be exercised. What better gift can you give your child than a few semesters at Hogwarts or to hear someone else's name called out for the games in Panem?
The gift of reading does not have to be tasteless. Sure, some of the school-required lists have selections that can seem decades and even centuries behind the times. And they should be - we need that sense of history. But summer reading can be whimsical and current and exciting and addictive. In fact, it should be all of those things.
Scores of people agree with this. From theme parks to pizza joints, grocery stores to libraries, summer reading programs abound with promises of tee shirts and passes and rewards. As a parent, you could come up with your own incentives, or demonstrate by word and example that the expedition into the pages is prize enough. Whatever makes it fun.
Reading can also be a way to speak a new language with your teen. I have devoured all seven of the Harry Potter books, pummeled through The Hunger Games and sacrificed a weekend to get through the Twilight saga. Um, yes. I did that for my children's sake. Pat myself on the back. I've discovered that Young Adult fiction is indeed good entertainment and somehow qualifies me, at least in my own mind, to be considered a...well... a young adult.