Each summer I have a few students who work on both math and reading to keep the 'flow' and/or prep for the upcoming year. These students and their parents are completely committed to the idea of
always learning as opposed to the idea of
only learning in the classroom or merely learning during the school year... in essence, the parents are setting the foundation for lifelong learning.
I would never ask a student to do work which I would not be willing to do myself or work through with them in tutoring. To this end, I have the opportunity to do reading AND catch up on my practice. This summer I am reading 'The Joy of X-A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity' by Steven Strogatz at Cornell University. I LOVE this book! It is almost as good as being in a lecture or small gathering and has helped me explore how I think about math and how to share these ideas with my students.
One of my students recommended 'Hoot' by Carl Hiassen and it is on my list for the library. My student read it at school and just knows I would love it as I enjoy science. I am 1/4 through 'The Wind in The Willows' for another student. In the background I am reading 'The Creators' by Boorstin as his books usually take 12-18 months. 'The Discoverers' by Boorstin took almost two years due to the depth of the book (mostly science and math) and I was able to share with students how it is okay to take time reading a book, especially one with footnotes and even do research about ideas I am learning.
In each and every case, I share what I am reading with students and parents, let students look at the books and ask me questions, explain what I like and/or dislike. This is one portion of my contribution to 'life long learning' by demonstrating it in action.
The crazy part - I really enjoy reading and trying new ideas. It is fun to discuss new ideas with teacher colleagues and friends, apply this knowledge in tutoring and begin to explore new ideas which will help me enjoy other aspects of my life.
The best part: I ABSOLUTELY love what I am reading and continue to learn -which helps me improve my practice as a tutor/teacher. My behavior allows me time to lounge in the library, on the beach and pour through used book stores with no shame.
During the regular school year, when my time is limited, I am addicted to Wired, Popular Science, The New Yorker, National Geographic and other magazines which have shorter pieces. While these are also a portion of my own development, they do not necessarily best represent reading full length books. I live for summer to catch up on all the great writing out in the world.
Check in with your tutor to see what they do over the summer and how they 'instigate' the joy of reading!
As James Patterson stated in his recent NPR interview on why reading is important for young people:
"What I'm really addicted to is getting people to understand that if their kids aren't competent readers coming out of middle school, it's really going to be hard for them in high school. They're going to have trouble getting through. Kids don't read as much as you'd like them to, just in terms of seeing the world from different perspectives. I mean, that's the great thing about books, still. Here's television, here are the movies, and it's pretty limited in terms of the perspectives. But books, it's still, there's so many different ways to look at life, so many different stories, and books are still the best place to get that kind of diversity."