Summer break is finally here, which may mean long hours at a summer job, summer classes, travel, hanging with your friends, or all of the above. In the face of everything else that you've got going on, an assigned summer reading list may seem like a joke. Before you toss your reading list under the bed, never to be seen again, consider these strategies for actually cracking open a few books this summer:
- Take the Tease, Read, and Watch approach. Figure out which of your assigned novels have movie versions available. Search online for the movie trailer and watch it to give yourself a flavor for what the story will be like. Next, read the novel at your own pace, and then watch the movie to help it really sink in. If you have a friend in the same class, challenge each other to finish reading at the same time. Whoever finishes last has to pay for the movie rental and snacks.
- Remember those library reading challenges from grade school? It might sound pretty hokey to think of reading pages to earn candy and bookmarks now, but don't underestimate the power of a little incentive. Talk to your parents about setting up your own reading challenge. When they figure out what you're up to, chances are good that they'll be willing to put up a more worthwhile prize. How about reading your way to an iPod or theme park tickets?
- If it works for Oprah . . . maybe a book club can work for you, too. With everyone's busy schedules, it's not always easy to keep in touch with all of your friends over the summer. Take advantage of your reading assignments as an excuse to get together. Have each of your friends choose a book from the list and date for a book club get-together. Each host can use the book as a theme for decorations and snacks, and he or she will present a short overview of the novel to the group. Decide in advance to spend at least 30 minutes talking about the book (Which character did you like best? Which parts were confusing? Would you recommend the book to a friend?) before you move on to other topics.