Summer reading reviews
Students continue reading books through their ever-evolving summer reading program
As students settled into the new school year, the summer reading list became a common topic in most English classrooms.
Librarian Nic Netzel has been collecting data about the summer reading books for quite a few years. He asks the English teachers to give students time to fill out a form in class with the hope of getting over 90% of the student body to respond.
He explained the process behind the summer reading program, as well as how it’s changed during his years here.
“I do a lot of reading as part of my job, and have a lot of awareness of what books are around that might be popular or fit a theme or need, so I make lots of recommendations,” Netzel said.
“First, I start collecting suggestions and recommendations from other teachers, students, reviews, etc. and we build a huge list,” he said. “Then we narrow it down to a long list of titles that could be possibilities (based on a lot of criteria).”
There have also been some changes in the program since it was originally started. Changes such as the fact that students can now give recommendations for books if they’re in PCLA, which is a student leadership group.
The new variety of book formats like audiobooks and graphic novels, have also added diversity to both genres and authors.
As for students, Netzel’s data shows that since 2017, 88% of students have started reading a part of a summer reading book. Though many of those who read one or more of the summer reading books enjoyed them and the program itself.
“I read both ‘Stamped’ and ‘The Crossover,’ and I enjoyed the theme of the books this year because they were centralized around more controversial and unique topics,” junior Emmet Meigel, “I didn’t really want to read this summer but I enjoyed the books anyway.”
Some students also have some changes that they believe might make the program a bit more enjoyable, such as Ryan Davis, a sophomore who read “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.”
“If I were to change anything, I’d want there to be like three more options for books to read, just for more variety.” Davis said.
English teacher, Taren Taylor explained that the summer reading program was created to help students find an interest in reading, but it isn’t limited to students. Even teachers pick a book to read.
Netzel explained the emphasis on everyone in the school community participating in reading.
“[It’s] a philosophy of ‘Reading is important, as is having a common conversation’,” he said. These conversations aren’t limited by a peer group or confined to an English class.
“It’s important to establish a love of reading or hopefully foster a love of reading in students and also keep students’ minds actively engaged with words on a page,” Taylor said.