Summer Reading Incentive Program
By: Molly Vu, FCHS
For most students, summer vacation signals the end of a long, tiresome school year and the beginning of freedom. But for many high schoolers, that line between work and play is blurred as more and more emphasis is placed on preparing for college. Lazy afternoons at the pool are replaced by hours of SAT prep. Instead of hanging out with friends, many teenagers find themselves stuck in tedious part-time jobs in order to raise money for college. More time is spent agonizing over college applications and summer assignments than relaxing – which is what break should be about.
But a new summer reading program may help students prepare for the upcoming school year without sacrificing all of their free time. The program, which launches on June 27, features a checklist of twenty-five goals such as “read aloud to someone,” “read something that takes place in the future,” and so on. K-12 students across Fairfax County will have the chance to be entered in a drawing to win $50 in books of their choice; in addition, one student from each school will be randomly selected to receive a laptop.
According to FCPS, the idea behind the program is to “encourage students to take time to read for fun and build a community of readers.” The same mindset should apply to summer school and part-time jobs. Planning for the future is important, but so is taking time to unwind. Teenagers should be able to enjoy three months of peace without obsessing over formulas and test questions. Leisure reading is just as beneficial to students. Studies show that reading just four books over the summer is enough to prevent summer learning loss.
Programs like these are a healthy change in pace from the rigorous summer classes that many teenagers feel pressured to attend (STEM summer camps, SAT/ACT prep courses, and the Governor’s School are just a few examples). While they do help prepare students for their prospective career paths, they can also be time-consuming and highly competitive. By introducing the summer reading incentive program, Fairfax County has provided a stress-free alternative that is just as academically stimulating. Not only will students be able to retain the skills they need for school – they might even have fun doing it.
Falls Church High School
7521 Jaguar Trail
Falls Church, VA 22044
(Students who reside on the north side of Annandale attend Falls Church High School)