The Agony and The Ecstasy: Summer Reading
18 years ago this week found a desperate, 17-year-old me scrambling to secure a VHS copy of The Elephant Man from my local library because school was starting and I had yet to read the required (and dreaded) Summer Reading assignment*! Now friends, believe me when I tell you that cribbing on a test was waaay harder before the advent of the internet; Sparknotes and Pink Monkey were the stuff of the procrastinating student’s (read: my) dreams. Instead, I was shelling out $4.95 at Walden Books for a book version of Cliff Notes. (The irony that I read a Cliff Notes book to avoid reading the actual novel is not lost on me.)
Almost two decades later I’ve crossed over to the dark side, creating and correcting Summer Reading tests instead of sweating through them, attempting to fool my teacher into believing I read the books with vague references to conflicts, plot structure, and theme in my essays.
The (only) great thing about my checkered academic history is that I know ALL the tricks because I’ve pulled them. I assign my students two books for Summer Reading–one classic and one contemporary. I know that most of them use Sparknotes and the like for the classic…but not for the contemporary one!
As I was grading Summer Reading quizzes (given the first day of school!) last year, I came across these gems. The candor! The wit! I love my job. Let’s have a look at a few of my favorites from 2008. What will 2009 bring? One can only imagine!
C’mon! Does it get any better than that? Well, maybe…
And this, in a nutshell, is why I love my job and adore Summer Reading–if only for the fodder they both provide my blog.
So, were you a concientious student who always did his/her Summer Reading or were you a hellion like me–waiting until the last possible second to do your school work?!? Does Summer Reading serve a purpose? Did your school district spare you (or your kids) from the pain that is Summer Reading? Inquiring minds want to know.
*The Collector by John Fowles was the other book I was required to read. When I finally got around to reading the novel (a few months into the school year) it became one of my favorite books!