Student Summer AssignmentsI teach in a district that requires students to complete summer reading assignments, and, in some cases, summer math and science work.  The workload varies from grade...

Student Summer Assignments

I teach in a district that requires students to complete summer reading assignments, and, in some cases, summer math and science work.  The workload varies from grade to grade and level to level, but every English student is required to do some form of a summer reading assignment.  (Math and science summer work is only assigned for the Honors levels.)

Does your school require the students to complete summer work?  If so, what does it entail?

Asked on by ajmchugh

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MaudlinStreet's profile pic

MaudlinStreet | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

Our school does not require any work, but some depts./courses assign it, with varying results. For example, the AP Calculus students have a packet to complete over the summer, which they generally do. In the English dept., we used to assign summer reading for the honors and AP classes, usually with dialectical journals or short essays required as well. However, it never really worked well.Either students didn't complete the reading, or they switched classes and didn't do the right assignment. Now, we give out the list of texts that will be read in each class, and let the students decide to read at their own pace.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Our school requires summer reading of the honors students.  The students are required to read the same classic novel (it varies on the grade level) and to take the same written test on this novel.  They also are expected to choose a book from an approved list (which consists of more contemporary reads...Oprah's book club type stuff) and take the AR test for this book.  Their summer reading grade is an average of both the written test and the percentage achieved on the AR exam.

It is up to the individual teachers if they want to take it any further than just those tests, but I usually have my students prepare for a socratic seminar discussion of the classic work and a written essay on the choice book as their first couple of grades of the year.

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drmonica | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

The last year I was in the classroom, my district required summer reading, but I taught seniors so I was able to set my own reading list. I had my kids read Like Water for Chocolate and East of Eden.

The readings were for preparation of the fall quarter unit on "Women and Power." Once the semester began, the students read The Fall from Paradise Lost, The Fall from the Book of Genesis (KJV), and The Taming of the Shrew.

Having the summer reading enabled me to include more reading selections than would have been practical otherwise. It also laid the foundation for a great unit.

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teachertaylor | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

My district requires summer reading.  The students must read one assigned book plus one of their choosing (AP and Honors students read three assigned books plus one of their choosing).  The first day of school, they must submit three pages of notes on the books to their English teacher, and then within the first week of school, the English teacher is required to assign an essay based on the assigned summer reading.  Many of us try to work the summer reading into our first topic so that it has some connection with the work for the year.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Our district does not require it.  I have tried on a few occasions to assign summer reading and study terms for AP US History, but have had pretty poor results with students actually completing the work.  In fact, and I think this is school wide, I have trouble getting kids to finish homework period, or else it is poorly done, done at the last minute, etc.  The ones who did do the summer assignments often did so in the week before school started, so I've more or less discontinued the idea.

ajmchugh's profile pic

ajmchugh | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

Our district does not require summer reading either, but as the previous post mentioned, they would probably benefit from it as well.  However, our honors & AP students have required summer reading.  If your school requires it, do all students take the same assessment or have the same assignments from teacher to teacher?  How seriously do the students take the readings?

Except for the AP students, who have their own summer assignments, most of the 10th, 11th, and 12th grade English students in our building have a similar written assignment that involves defining and identifying literary terms in the novel(s) they've read and keeping a double-entry reading journal.  The assignment counts as a test grade and is due the first week of school.   

The book list varies from course to course (for example, all 10th grade CP students have the same list from which to choose), and some courses do not offer a choice.  I teach Honors 9th grade, and those students are required to read Steinbeck's The Pearl and Of Mice and Men and write an essay in which they explain how Burns's quote "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry" can apply to both novels.  By CP 12, however, the students are given a pretty extensive list of authors and are able to choose any work by the author they select. 

The teachers whose students are required to read the same novel sometimes give a test or quiz (and might spend a few weeks discussing the summer reading), but when they students return to school having read different works, the lit terms/journal serve as the only assessment. 

To avoid getting sparknotes-type responses or "book reports," we tried to come up with an assignment that required the students to actually do the work themselves.  It's fairly easy to tell who read the books and who didn't from the journals. 

Sadly, many kids just don't turn anything in--and get a zero for a test grade.  But the kids who actually do the work certainly benefit from it! 

lynn30k's profile pic

lynn30k | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

There is homework available online for all the core classes, but the honors classes make a point of requiring the students to do it. It would certainly benefit the kids who need remedial help, but it seems they are much less likely to do it. The one thing I didn't like seeing come home to my own daughter was summer work that not just review and practice, but new material.

sboeman's profile pic

sboeman | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

Our district does not require summer reading either, but as the previous post mentioned, they would probably benefit from it as well.  However, our honors & AP students have required summer reading.  If your school requires it, do all students take the same assessment or have the same assignments from teacher to teacher?  How seriously do the students take the readings?

besure77's profile pic

besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

The school that I work for does not require this but there are many students that would benefit from it. The students would certainly not like it though. There are so many students that lack motivation and it is sad to say but many parents are not getting involved in the education of their children either so I am not sure that summer work would even get done.

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