I had a week of free time after school ended, and this week I was back at school again--voluntarily. Teachers had summer sessions (paid for by our district), and I will be working on curriculum writing and mapping (teachers probably know what I'm talking about). The trouble is, I'm stuck in a book, and that's where I want to stay. I read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and now I am about 500 pages in on The Passage by Justin Cronin. Expect a review this weekend or early next week.
In the meantime, I have come across a few interesting links for summer reading:
Here's a list from NPR
Here's one from the NPR program On Point
In articles and lists I've seen, Justin Cronin's novel The Passage is frequently mentioned; I will give my thoughts in my review.
I also came across this interesting article on Huffington Post, in which Peter W. Wood, President of National Association of Scholars, discusses summer reading assignments for college students. The main thesis of the article seems to be that colleges, even the most elite, expect that students will arrive on campus "with scant knowledge of good books." Wood discusses what he calls the "dumbed-down, fragmented" high school curriculum, and what he calls a "bleak assessment of the educational situation."
As a high school teacher, I can say positively that high school students and graduates are not as well read as the graduates of previous generations. Students do not read widely or deeply, and there is no longer a shared canon of works that all students will have read by college. I remember getting a list during my junior or senior year of high school, and working my way through the list, checking off books as I went. I read on the bus, in the car (as a passenger!), walking down the street....What is the "shared intellectual experience" of today's students? whether you read the article linked above or not, I'd be interested in your ideas. What do you think of the idea of "summer reading" for college freshmen? Are entering freshmen lacking in a shared intellectual experience, or knowledge of literature?