NPR's John Kelly tries to find A Cure for Kids' Summer Reading Doldrums in an archived piece from 2005. He addresses what seems like an obvious question, but one that most parents and kids would be hard pressed to answer themselves: Why are specific, mandatory books a good idea?
"A summer book is a way to engender solidarity among students, to create a shared experience. Too often the media that kids talk about -- deconstruct, analyze, argue over -- aren't books, but TV shows, movies or video games. A required book is one way to focus the spotlight on something more positive, more -- dare we say it? -- educational.
"You've got a frame of reference that's universal within that classroom," says Judy Fickes Shapiro, a children’s author and bookstore owner in Ventura, Calif. "When you're creating community in the classroom, you've got to start with something common."
*One question for the author, though: Did you really think that your seventh grade daughter was actually going to enjoy Tom Brokaw's The Greatest Generation?!