What a great opportunity for growth summertime brings! There is so much time for meaningful, fulfilling activities. One such activity is reading! During the school year, your child reads more books at school than many of their peers, which is a great blessing considering all the benefits of a life lived in relationship to the knowledge awaiting every reader in great books! But the extent of a child's reading habits should not begin and end at school, which is why I have put together a summer reading program to keep Ambleside students moving forward all summer long!
The program is simple:
- Get a great book (see attached book list)
- Read at least 30 minutes a day, everyday
- Fill out the attached Reading Log when you finish each book
Repeat Steps 1-3 over and over and over again!
Help us all achieve our goal of getting 100% participation by encouraging this reading program/habit in your family by blocking designated times for everyone to participate, including you! Before bedtime, before a mid-day nap, just before dinner, whenever it fits with your family's schedule.
If you get it, you can stop reading this email and start reading a great book, and then document books read in the attached reading log. Your child's teachers will collect the reading log on the first day of school in August, so make sure you keep up with the reading log.
For those that need further convincing...
The language gathered when reading books contributes to a person's overall ability to process language and to communicate effectively, id est be successful. For example, what social or professional position is not made better by effective communication? The doctor, the mechanic, the lawn guy, the classroom teacher, the school principal, the neighbor, the parent, or the child? All are made better by those with high levels of linguistic mastery--by those who can communicate effectively.
Here's the problem, we don't read much anymore. We read less and talk less to our children, they read less and talk less to us and to peers, therefore it is highly likely that many of them will not realize the fullness of their social potential because their communication storehouse is not as full as it could be.
This storehouse won't fill up by engaging a video game, watching a movie, texting, snap chatting, facebooking, or any number of things that aren't called reading! We live in an age when there is more information available to us than ever before and we live in an age when more people know less than ever before. That's interesting. Why? Because people are not reading and discussing books. They are not internalizing knowledge, they simply know where to get information, but don't have the capacity to keep it and make use of it.
The good news: we can change all this by reading to our children, modeling the habit of reading for our children, discussing what everyone is reading, and getting our children to develop the habit of reading books themselves - screens don't count and are harmful to the neurological development of children and people in general.
The Ambleside summer reading program will help you and your children cultivate a higher level of thought and understanding in a complicated world. It will provide a basis for children and adults to come around good thoughts, and have healthy dialogue.
To encourage one another and to assimilate the knowledge we come to own, let's share with one another the books we are reading and what ideas are permeating. Send me the title and author of the books you read this summer along with a quote that strikes you and I will post to an ongoing "What we are reading" blog post on the website.
Parents, if you need some recommendations, I just finished Wendell Berry's Hannah Coulter last night. It is a profoundly convicting examination of the extinction of American agrarian life, and community in general, at the hands of industrialization, but even more than that it provides great insight into what it is to live life well, working, loving, knowing and being known. Berry was so insightful that I ordered a few more of his books as well as others to keep me going for the rest of the summer. Below is what I'll be reading:
Nathan Coulter by Wendell Berry This Day: Collected and New Sabbath Poems by Wendell Berry The River Why by David James Duncan The Brothers K by David James Duncan
I also picked up a copy of Lonesome Dove for our travels in the West coming up in July!
Additionally, on our trip to Colorado we will read the following as a family:
The Black Stallion by Walter Farley Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray
30 hours in the car is going to fly by!
Feel free to forward this to anyone you know that might like a good reading program/list for their children this summer.
Russ York Head of School