My seven-year-old daughter is having a blast reading this summer. She's newly literate and devouring series books (The Pet Fairies, Puppy Place, Katie Kazoo) with a passion. Between library fines and Barnes and Noble expeditions, I'm going broke! But, of course, I love it. And I'm not the only one supporting her habit; the library has a reading program for kids in the community, Barnes and Noble is offering a free book to anyone who reads eight books, and her school is awarding "special prizes" to kids who complete a certain number of books.
So here's the question: what are college students reading this summer? I asked my magazine-writing students this question on the last day of class. Some are reading teen novels, like Stephanie Meyer's TWILIGHT series. Some are reading A. J. Jacobs' The Year of Living Biblically. But some of them--English majors!--admitted that they didn't have much time to read in the summer.
And given that these students are among the most literary on campus, I wonder what students at the lower end of the reading spectrum are reading, and how we could encourage them to do more of it.
I wish Barnes and Noble would give college students a free book for completing eight novels over the summer. I wonder if my university would spring for some tacky prizes for those who complete a certain number of books. Or how about a weekly book club, the college-aged equivalent to the library programs my daughter attends every week?
Seton Hill does have a summer reading program, in which all freshmen are given a book we then discuss en masse and in small groups. Many other schools do the same. Is there more we could be doing, though, to promote reading among upperclassmen and all students?