Soak in a Good Book with Prep’s New Summer Reading Program

Audrey Frigon, Managing Editor

Seattle Prep summer reading is about to go through some major changes leading into summer 2019. The long-rumored shift is finally reality for Prep students. The Library, namely Ms. Borgen and Mrs. Lovejoy have been working with the English Department Chair-Ms. Slevin, Assistant Principal for Academics-Ms. Kheriaty, and Principal-Ms. Luby, to make some changes to the existing summer reading program.

Typically, Prep students’ summers are filled with adventure, relaxation, and towards the end of the summer and beginning of the schoolyear panic. Many students have been known to put off summer reading to the last possible moment, or even not do it at all. Finley McGee ’22 said “last year summer reading felt forced and it took me a lot longer to get through because I put it off and I wasn’t enjoying it.” As a freshman not having experienced too much of Prep summer reading McGee is happy she gets to experience both types.

This summer a new system will be in place. Mrs. Lovejoy said that with this new system they are aiming to “foster students’ love of reading, build a community of leaders, expose students to new books and genres, provide students with choice, and to promote accountability without high stakes assessments”.

This program is slightly different for grade level. It is separated into two groups: freshmen and the rest of the student body. Incoming freshman will be asked to bring in two books they enjoyed over the summer. They will need to come prepared to talk or write about either book with their collegios and as a class will produce an artistic piece on what they read over the summer, essentially “The Freshman Class in Books”. Additionally, teachers will have the opportunity to connect with their students and share what they read over the summer.

For the rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors, things will be a little different. Each student will be required to read one book of their choice over the summer. When coming back to school they must prepare to write or discuss their book and their Collegio or senior English teacher will lead an in-class activity involving all of the different books read over the summer. Mrs. Lovejoy commented on this change saying that there are “not many opportunities for Prep students to choose what they read in the curriculum, so summer is their opportunity for this”.

Secondly, the returning Prep students will be provided a list of 50+ faculty sponsored books to choose from. Each faculty member will pick a book they have read and enjoyed and will sponsor it for students to read. They will then lead a discussion on that book in the fall. Each of these groups will have 18 or fewer group members. Students are expected to bring in passages they want to discuss and open-ended questions to contribute to their discussions. McGee is very excited to connect with her teachers and said, “getting to talk to a teacher and not having to feel the pressure of a test is more free, open, and more enjoyable for me.”

Tom Robinson ’20, loved the new idea, especially the freedom and choice of it. He said, “I am pretty proud of Prep for being forward thinking and changing their programs. I am very excited to see how it turns out.”

Mrs. Lovejoy hopes that this change in summer reading will help kids fall in love with reading again. She is very excited for students this summer because “they are going to be exposed to titles they might not have otherwise picked up and read. This will really get them out of their comfort zone.”

Mrs. Lovejoy concludes that it is a common misconception that Prep kids are too busy to read for fun. She said that it is more common than it may appear and that “hopefully talking about it will make that more apparent.”