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Assigned Reading AnxietyMy kids are finishing up their mid-term break this weekend, and it’s been great fun for them. They’ve had fabulous outings with grandparents, play dates with friends, and chilling-out time with us at the cottage.

My younger guy, however, has had a little black cloud hanging over his head for most of the week because he had 2 pretty major reading assignments, one in English, and one in French, due when he goes back this week.

You know about my passion for getting kids to read, and how important I know it is. But I have a problem with this kind of assigned reading, when kids almost can’t help but associate reading with feelings of negativity, and almost despair.

Neither one of these books were books of his choice, and neither are they what one would call a classic. I would feel a bit better about it had one of these been the case. For their French assignment, they were given a few minutes in the school library to pick a book off the shelves, and THAT was what they had to read. Make the wrong choice, as my son appears to have done, and it’s simply too bad. It’s back to school in 2 days, and he’s struggling to get through 180 boring pages. And believe me, he is counting every page and minute.

His English assignment was slightly better, in that they had to choose from the Classic Starts collection, so at least he read something worthwhile (Robin Hood).

I would much prefer the teachers had asked them to do a set amount of reading per day, with books of their choices, rather than force them to read quite the opposite during their break. It has really been almost painful to watch over the last couple of days, as my guy has had his assigned reading on his mind nearly constantly, and not enjoying a minute of it, while his older brother, who appears to have totally lucked out in the homework department, relaxes, plays his games, and reads Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins), for the pleasure of it.

I believe it is important for teachers to assign certain books during the year, so that kids are exposed to more than Wimpy Kid, Big Nate, etc. But give them too much, during their supposed time off, and making the choice so seemingly random, well, I just don’t get it.

Encourage the kids to read regularly during their break, yes. But try and make sure this is a pleasurable activity, by allowing them to pick their own, well-suited books, and not turning it into some stressful assignment.

My guy has just poked his head of the room, and announced that he has read another 17 pages, with 84 more to go by the end of day. This was accompanied by a mammoth sigh and almost pitiful eyes. In my opinion, this is completely counter-productive.

What are your thoughts about this kind of assigned reading during school holidays? I’d love to hear from you!


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