For decades, schools have been assigning work to be done over the summer so that students can get ahead and start the school year with some momentum. I get it as a former teacher – students have between 10-12 weeks of summer! Can’t they crack open a textbook or do some academic work during that time so they don’t forget everything they learned last school year? Well, maybe some can, but the research overwhelmingly states that summer work is both inequitable and unproductive.
At The White Mountain School, we decided to focus on what really matters and work backward from there.
- Enrichment – numerous studies indicate that self-selected reading for pleasure leads to things like increased curiosity, creativity, self confidence, and growth mindset. These are all attributes that we want to help our students develop to be successful. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/research-evidence-on-reading-for-pleasure
- Engagement – as part of our mission statement, we strive to create a school of engaged community members. In order to do that, we know that we need to make opportunities for students and faculty to share common experiences that are interesting to them. The most important time (though not the only time) we do that is at the start of the school year.
With these goals in mind, we created a Summer Reading Program that allows students to choose a book that they are truly interested in reading and remove all pressure of being assessed or graded on it. When students arrive in the fall, we schedule a time for Summer Reading groups to get together and discuss what they thought. Some students sponsor books and lead those groups (great leadership development opportunity!) and some faculty members sponsor books. Do you want to read something powerful and moving? We’ve got an option for you. Want something lighter and fictional? Great. Are you more interested in a graphic novel? Perfect. Would you prefer an audiobook format? Me too!
For any current or incoming White Mountain student, this can serve as a reminder: summer is officially more than halfway over. It might be time to start your summer reading. For anyone else interested in how Summer Reading might match your child, give us a call in the Admissions Office.