SummaryWhether from the comfort of a backyard hammock or a sofa in the den, summer’s the perfect time to grab some books and set out on a reading adventure. Jeff Minick shares the details on the books suggested for the Seton Summer Reading Club and how to join.
“There is no frigate like a book,” Emily Dickinson wrote, “To take us lands away.” Summer is the perfect time to jump aboard that frigate.
Think about it. For many of us, summertime summons up thoughts of vacation. We’ll spend a week at the beach, make our way to Iowa to visit Uncle Bud’s farm, head for the mountains of North Carolina to beat the heat of Atlanta, set out on a driving tour of the American West.
We venture off on these excursions for all sorts of reasons: to relax, to escape our routine, to get a change of scenery, to discover new places and seek out adventure.
All to the good. But as Dickinson suggests in her poem, books and reading also can sweep us off to strange lands and grand adventures.
From the comfort of a backyard hammock or a sofa in the den, we can explore faraway countries, meet with heroes and villains, solve mysteries in fog-bound London, fight with dragons and monsters, walk with the saints, go back in time to Classical Rome or spring forward a millennium to battle alien invaders on Mars.
Especially for students unburdened by the demands of school, summer is the perfect time to grab some books and set out on an adventure.
Which brings us to the Seton Summer Reading Club.
The Seton Summer Reading Club
Seton Home Study School, like most schools, recognizes the importance of reading over the summer. Seton’s counselors and teachers, like their counterparts in other schools, know that reading well is a vital life skill, that good books not only add beauty and wisdom to the storehouse of our souls, but also expand our horizons and make us more fully human.
Unlike many other schools, however, Seton’s Summer Reading Club offers one more reason for reading: sheer pleasure.
Many teachers assign certain books to be read over the summer, a burdensome task for students who may dislike the mandated titles. In the Seton Summer Reading Club, however, under the guidance of their parents, students are free to read whatever books they wish.
In his marvelous Book By Book: Notes on Reading and Life, literary critic Michael Dirda reminds parents to “encourage any reading interest—no matter how frivolous or unacademic you find it…The child who hunches over the Hardy Boys today will read Agatha Christie tomorrow and Crime and Punishment a few years after—if he or she is encouraged.”
By allowing its students the liberty to select their own books for reading, Seton hopes to reinforce that parental encouragement suggested by Dirda.
Seton does provide its students with a list of suggested books compiled by several counselors. Chip Hibl, Director of Seton Educational Media and the creator of the Summer Reading Club, devised the Club for two reasons: to encourage reading at all levels throughout the summer and to make people more aware of the fine collection of literature available from Seton.
This year’s list of recommendations include Jan Brett’s Annie and the Wild Animals and classics, such as Anne of Green Gables and The Chronicles of Narnia. Check out the best selling series The Gospel Time Trekkers, which is a delightful journey that immerses the young reader in Bible times and the story of the Gospel. Don’t forget Fr. Hardon’s Christopher Columbus: The Catholic Discovery of America and the dozens of saint biographies for all ages – pre-k to adult.
How to Join the Summer Reading Club
Joining the Summer Reading Club is easy.
You simply go to setonbooks.com/summerreading, where you’ll find everything you need; instructions, reading lists, and more. The official start date is June 1st but you can go before then for an early start!
You then read six books. After completing each book, you write a short summary describing its contents or deliver a similar oral report to a parent.
When you finish the six books and your reports, you send your list of titles to Seton, at which point you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement you may then add to your portfolio. (Mr. Hibl reminds parents that they might offer their student readers other incentives as well, such as an ice cream treat for each book read.)
So there you go. Time to hoist the sails of Dickinson’s frigate, weigh anchor, and set out on your own personal summer adventure.