Reading for Pleasure Through a Community-Wide Program | Jeannette Lee Parikh | 10 Min Read

Aug. 2, 2022

As an English/humanities high school teacher or school librarian, aren’t you tired of creating and circulating the dreaded summer reading list? Almost every school’s English department has one. Many town libraries and museums have summer reading lists. Celebrities and politicians even have summer reading lists. It acts as a marker of how much you value reading as well as how academically rigorous your institution might be. 

The question is: Who reads the books on these summer reading lists? I suspect that students, like all humans, read from these lists depending on how they identify themselves and their relationships with others. Those who identify as readers and raised in families where reading is valued are more likely to dutifully peruse and choose books from these lists. Note that this process involves three steps. Essentially, already committed and engaged readers who exist in a reading eco-system that supports committed and engaged readers can benefit from summer reading lists. Exactly the reader we don’t need to be concerned about. These readers will be okay because data from longitudinal studies “show that pleasure reading in youth is the most explanatory factor of both cognitive progress and social mobility over time”…

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Jeannette Parikh

Jeannette M E Lee Parikh, Ph.D., is the assistant editor for Intrepid Ed News as well as the chair of the English department and head of community reading at The Cambridge School of Weston (CSW). Before CSW, where she has been since the fall of 2010, she taught at the college level for six years. She is an ISTE Certified Teacher and OER advocate. She is an experienced practitioner of integrating department-wide academic technology that serves pedagogical and curriculum goals. Her teaching philosophy exists at the intersection of the science of learning and cultivating creative thinking, joy, curiosity, playfulness, and self-awareness in all learners. She has presented at conferences on the importance of deep reading, critical listening, authentic discussion, and strategic writing in the 21st-century classroom.