The Joys of Summer Reading
Reading offers a lifetime of enrichment. By encouraging your children to spend some of their free summer time reading, you can help them improve their reading skills as well as develop the life-long habit of reading.
Not everyone has to be a bookworm, but an appreciation for the written word and literature is beneficial in a variety of ways. Reading sparks wonder, ignites the imagination, and exposes us to wisdom and insights into human nature that we might not have received otherwise.
C.S. Lewis had some things to say on the importance of expanding our horizons through reading. He wrote, “Those of us who have been true readers all our life seldom fully realize the enormous extension of our being which we owe to authors. We realize it best when we talk to an unliterary friend. He may be full of goodness and good sense but he inhabits a tiny world. In it, we should be suffocated. The man who is contented to be only himself, and therefore less a self, is in prison. My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through the eyes of others.”
There are a few things to keep in mind as you encourage your child on the journey of summer reading:
Summer reading books should not have their pleasures sapped by elaborate study guides or note taking. However, for high school students especially, it can be good to annotate the text while reading. Writing in the pages of a book as you read helps you to “be in conversation” with the work, to keep your mind alert while reading and take note of particular questions or reactions you might have to the story.
From historical fiction to fantasy, the list of wonderful books that can be enjoyed over the summer is endless. Here are some good places to start for middle and high school students.
The Princess and the Goblin, George MacDonald
Swallows and Amazons, Arthur Ransome
The Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Winged Watchman, Hilda van Stockum
The Adventures of Robin Hood, Roger Lancelyn Greene
The Gift of the Magi and Other Short Stories, O. Henry
Cheaper by the Dozen, Frank B. Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom
The Code of the Woosters, P.G. Wodehouse
The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkein
I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith
Otto of the Silver Hand, Howard Pyle
Johnny Tremain, Esther Forbes
Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell
In This House of Breed, Rumer Godden
My Antonia, Willa Cather
A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry
The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros
The Betrothed, Alessandro Manzoni
Til We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis
The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Thornton Wilder
The Power and the Glory, Grahame Greene
A Man for All Seasons, Robert Bolt
A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller Jr.
Far from the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
Catherine Courtney is proud to be a member of the Oakcrest community as Director of Academic Advising, Head Librarian, and mother of an Oakie, Class of 2024. Catherine received a B.A. in Classics from the University of Virginia and a Master’s in Library Science from the University of Maryland. She brings experience working in corporate, public, and school libraries as well as undergraduate academic advising at George Mason University.
Photo credit: Nguyen Thu Hoai