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Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

Booked For The Season – The Seton Summer Reading Club

4 minutes

Summary

Seton provides the framework of the reading club and the incentives, but it is the parents who help their students select the books and guide the reading.

When most of us imagine the diversions of summer, we dream of days at the beach, the Fourth of July, cool morning breezes, fireflies in the twilight, badminton, canoeing, and other outdoor sports, lazy afternoons, icy beverages, cookouts, and all of the season’s other delights.

This year, Seton Home Study School has once again added its own gem to summer’s treasure box of bliss: a reading club.

Many schools nowadays, especially those at the secondary level, encourage—or sometimes, compel—their students to read books while on summer vacation. Some high schools expect all students of a certain grade to read one specific book. Meanwhile, others require their students to choose titles from a restrictive reading list, giving them limited choices in their book selection.

Sounds a trifle grim, yes? Welcome, instead, to the Seton Summer Reading Club.

Like these other schools, Seton recognizes that reading books over the summer benefits students. Seton’s counselors and teachers understand the importance of reading for personal and academic growth, an understanding born from the care with which Seton selects the books found in its curricula and its catalog.

Everyone at Seton in whatever capacity affirms the value of literature and reading for success both in academics and in life, and believes that reading develops the mind, expands our horizons, and makes us more understanding of others.

Through its sponsorship of the Summer Reading Club, however, Seton also trumpets another reason for opening a book. Sheer enjoyment.

Chip Hibl, Director of Seton Educational Media, originated the idea of the summer reading club. “We wanted to make people aware of the great collection of children’s literature we have at Seton,” Mr. Hibl said.

People quickly did become aware, as seen from the summer of 2016, the year Mr. Hibl and others launched the reading club, when over five hundred families jumped on board and participated in the program.

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Mr. Hibl also pointed out that while Seton provides the framework of the club and incentives for reading, it is the parents who help their students select the books and guide the reading.

The Seton Summer Reading Club has no compulsory list of books, no favorite work selected by a teacher or an administrator and delivered to students in a “one size fits all” format. The Seton counselors do encourage students to read edifying books—hence, the suggestions in the school catalog—but they also want young people to unlock a book, hop in, and enjoy the ride.

The best part of the Summer Reading Club, however, is not the certificate but the books themselves. Members of the Seton staff read and review dozens of books, welcoming some into the Seton catalog, as well as rejecting others.

Catholic families, including some of the children, also help hone these lists, exploring the books and offering Seton their thoughts. The books included in the Seton catalog reflect this careful culling of titles and authors.

The younger set, for example, will enjoy Clare’s Costly Cookie, the story of a nine-year-old girl who journeys into the heart of Jesus, abandoning along the way her own love of self.

Elementary school classics like Hilda van Stockum’s A Day on Skates, The Mad Scientists’ Club, and Martha Washington of the Childhood of Famous American series are just a few of the fine books featured in the catalog.

Seventh and eighth graders will find treasures in these book selections. Luise Rinser’s Leave If You Can, the tale of a young Italian partisan fighting the Nazis in Italy while also fighting to believe in God; The Bloody Red Crescent, the fictional account of a fourteen year old boy who joins the forces of Don Juan of Austria to repel the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto; That Girl of Pierre’s, a novel telling the story of Danielle, a girl who must nurture her family after the devastation of World War II. These and dozens more literary works found in the Seton library should engage the twelve to fourteen year old crowd.

For young adults, the Summer Reading Club offers excellent selections such as the Louis de Wohl novels, featuring saints such as Helena, Longinus, and Ignatius of Loyola, Bruce Clark’s Rebels and Redcoats, Thomas Woods’ How The Catholic Church Built Civilization, and Paolo Belzoni’s Belisarius books. Such a variety of works should appeal to a broad spectrum of readers.

Classic Children’s Literature

Besides its summer reading club, Seton has just introduced a collection of superior literary works for young people under the title “Classic Children’s Literature”. Among these selections, chosen for literary merit and their inclusion of insightful remarks by editors or writers, students and parents will find such appealing literary masterpieces as Old Yeller, The Incredible Journey, My Friend Flicka, and The Time Machine.

As one parent wrote of the book club, “Having a list of books that have been vetted by faithful Catholic homeschooling families was extremely helpful. Unfortunately, our local library is often a disappointment, in terms of the range and quality of available books (even with interlibrary loan).”

You may order any of these books for the Summer Reading Club from Seton. If you prefer, look for them in your local parish and public libraries. And if you wish to read a book not listed in Seton’s catalog, remember you have the freedom to choose your own titles.

Here’s How It Works For Seton’s Young People

First, go online to setonbooks.com/summerreading. At the website, you’ll find the Summer Book Club guidelines as well as suggested book lists for ages ranging from pre-kindergarten through high school.

Want to read a book not found on the list? The Summer Reading Club gives you the freedom to select your own work of literature. You then read six books. After reading each book, you write a short report about the book or deliver an oral summary to a parent.

When you finish the six books and your reports, you send Seton your list of the books, and you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement you can add to your portfolio. (Parents have the choice, of course, of offering their young readers additional incentives. Mr. Hibl suggested an ice cream treat for each book read).

So, step aboard and join the Seton Summer Reading Club, the club that charges no membership fees, exists to foster student readers of all ages and dispositions, and offers the pleasure of uplifting stories and vibrant histories and biographies.

No time to lose. Pour yourself a cool drink, grab a snack, find a quiet place—a hammock, your bedroom, the screened-in porch—open your book, and let the adventure begin.

About Jeffrey Minick


Jeffrey Minick
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Jeff Minick is the Latin Counselor at Seton Home Study School. He has spent the last twenty-five years teaching Henle Latin to his children and hundreds of home-educated students, guiding many through their preparation for the Advanced Placement Latin examination. Jeff is the father of four children, all of whom were homeschooled, and grandfather to twenty-one grandchildren, three of whom he homeschools.
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