Diego Lima went to the last Thursday afternoon to look for a book on the reading list for incoming sixth graders at the . They must read one of 10 books on the list.
Given his druthers, Diego said he would read mysteries and, on his own time, comic books. One of his favorite book ever, from when he was “really little: “Corduroy.”
Earlier the same afternoon, Kaci Madden went to the public library for a book. The incoming fifth grader has already read the minimum number of pages for Woburn public school fifth graders—times more than two and a half. The recommended number of pages for fifth graders: 500. Kaci’s total so far? “I read 1,322 pages,” she said.
With summer recess about half over—sorry, students—we at Woburn Patch wanted to find out what students are reading this summer and how they’re doing on their reading for school.
Suggested and required reading for students in grades 1 through 12 is listed on the school website, woburnpublicschools.com. Elementary school students are given a list of between 50 and 75 authors, by grade, and a minimum number of pages to read over the summer. First graders should read at least 25 books. Many of the authors are recommended by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, according to Dr. Gary Reese, school assistant superintendent for curriculum and assessment.
Public library children’s librarian Cynthia Fordham said the two elementary school librarians updated the author list for elementary students and she added some names.
Elementary students’ summer reading has become part of their first term report card grade for at least nine years, according to Reese.
Middle school teachers will follow up on their students’ summer reading; high school students should be prepared to answer questions about the books they’ve read as part of their first term grade.
Why have summer reading lists?
First, because “Reading is fun,” Reese said. Reading also helps stir students’ imaginations, he said and gets them ready for their next school year.
The lists aren’t based on what’s popular, according to Reese. Rather, they’re about students finding out what they enjoy, he said.
Middle schoolers have a choice of books, selected by their English teachers, according to Reese. The lists are different for the and Kennedy Middle Schools.
The lists for high schoolers were developed, Reese said, by the high school English department.
Most students complete their summer reading, according to Reese.
Olivia Ansell, who will be going into the fifth grade at the this fall, read the minimum number of pages for her grade—times two. That’s 1,027 pages so far this summer. She enjoys reading the “Captain Underpants” and “Junie B. Jones “ series. They were on the fourth grade summer reading list, she said.
Kaci Madden went to the library Thursday to get the third book in the Harry Potter series: “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” She read the second book in the series, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” earlier this summer. The author of the Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling, is on the list of suggested authors for fifth graders.
Kaci reads because “it’s fun” and “Some books make me feel like I’m there,” in the book’s setting.
Last summer she read 2,000 pages, according to her mother, Leeanne. This year, she’s aiming for 3,000 pages.
The fifth grader’s favorite book ever: “Charlotte’s Web.”
All three students said they tend to read before they go to sleep. Olivia has a unique reading spot: in her room, she said, on the floor, with her dad.