Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer Reading List

Last Friday I was poking around the website for the School Michael will be attending in the fall. They haven't provided any information about Kindergarten yet, so I wanted to see if there was anything on line. Nope. But, I stumbled across his summer reading list.

Yes, they have a reading list for children entering kindergarten.

OK, I'll own up to it. As an honor roll student, my first response was that I should order every book on the list and come up with an incentive plan for Michael so we could read them all. When I saw the time tracking calendar, I started trying to figure out how much time we spend reading each day, and how to best record that time.

Then, I stopped for a moment and realized that Michael just turned five. Why do kids going into kindergarten need a summer reading list? This is as bad as his preschool making him do homework once a week so that he'll be prepared to do homework in kindergarten. (Of course, I think they give kindergartners homework simply to prepare them for homework in first grade. If we keep this up, our kids will be doing homework in the womb.)

Stacey asked me a good question that hadn't occurred to me. What's the purpose of the reading list? I'm such a book worm and rule follower that it never even dawned on me to wonder about the purpose of the list. After looking over the titles and the tracking list and think their are two purposes. Several of the titles are about starting kindergarten. I'm going to pick those up for Michael to help him make the adjustment into the new school. That seems like a good purpose to me.

The second purpose, I think, is to encourage parents to read to their children everyday. We already read every night before bed, and he's already memorized several of the other books on the list, so I won't worry about the picture books on the list. Instead, we are going to continue to read chapter books every night because that's a whole lot more fun. And I think making reading fun is the most important thing you can do for a five year old, when it comes to books.

I'm still undecided about having Michael record all off the books we read on their tracking list. It's a good way for him to practice his writing and to introduce the idea of individual authors. On the other hand, do I really want to send him to school with a list of books on the 3rd and 4th grade level when some of the kids in his class may only speak English as a second language? Not sure what to do here. Any suggestions?


LauraC said...

Oh my goodness Joanna, I say this as a good friend but this post is so full of your contrary-ness and introversion it cracks me up! Maybe wait until kindergarten orientation to see what they say about the reading list and ask.

Angela said...

We're doing a book journal for the summer-Garrett's school has a list for K too and they are supposed to read 3 books and do projects. We're just going to do it for everything we read together, and that will probably be one of his 3 projects. In addition, we're doing a reading chain for the things he reads entirely on his own. Its so hard to figure out how much is too much!!

Joanna said...

Me contrary? Never.

Karen said...

We only had a summer reading list in high school. A reading list for kindergarten makes me feel really old.

Mel said...

Go for it! I think it is awesome that you are reading chapter books already. Yeah, the reading list seems a little over the top at first glance, but Kindergarten is not what it used to be, that's for sure.

Stacey said...

Ha, the best thing about this post is Laura's comment that it was full of contrary-ness and introversion because I didn't even process that at all. Apparently, when you are extremely contrary and introverted it begins to seem perfectly normal when other people are the same way.

I think you have the right idea about reading the books that seem relevant. I'm pretty sure Michael's not going to arrive at kindergarten unprepared because he didn't read "The Kissing Hand" or something.

We do the library summer reading program and I write down all the books we read. I like it simply because I love having a record of each summer's reading. Like last summer was the summer of "Magic Treehouse" and the summer before was the summer of "Henry and Mudge" and I like that I'll be able to remember that. If Cole had to write down the book titles and authors it would become an unnecessary frustration.

Is the information shared publicly? If not, I think it's okay to be honest about what Michael's reading. It will help the teachers get to know him better. There are going to be a lot of levels of kids when he gets to kindergarten. Maybe that kid who's learning English can dance ballet or sing with perfect pitch. My advice is to try not to hide Michael's strengths.

As for the homework that just makes me mad.