Students express opinions on summer reading

%22One+of+Us+is+Lying%2C%22+by+Karen+M.+McManus%2C+received+the+most+votes+among+students.+When+they+return+to+school%2C+they+will+typically+have+an+essay+or+project.+%22In+my+English+classes%2C+we+usually+spend+a+bit+more+than+a+week+on+the+book%2C%22+said+Ben+Lee%2C+a+sophomore.

One of Us is Lying: Karen M. McManus / Karen M. McManus / AbeBooks / CC BY 2.0

“One of Us is Lying,” by Karen M. McManus, received the most votes among students. When they return to school, they will typically have an essay or project. “In my English classes, we usually spend a bit more than a week on the book,” said Ben Lee, a sophomore.

To be academically ready at the start of the following school year, students often have work over their summer breaks to keep them on track.

Every year, Carlmont assigns a book for the entire school to read over the summer break. During the first few weeks of school the following year, students discuss and complete an assignment based on the book in their English classes.

“I think a summer reading book is a good idea because, without it, most students wouldn’t be reading,” said James Tokunaga, a sophomore.

Students voted earlier in the school year for which book they wanted to read. With 41% of the votes, “One of Us is Lying” beat “Jurassic Park” and “Unbroken” as this year’s summer reading book.

One of Us is Lying,” by Karen M. McManus, is a high school murder mystery in which five students go into detention, but one of them ends up dead. The dead student, who ran a school gossip site, had information on each of the other students in detention, making them all suspects for murder.

“It’s good that we get to read more modern books that we’re interested in, rather than something like Shakespeare which we normally read during the school year,” Tokunaga said.

Even with the aim to interest students, some still have mixed feelings about having a school assignment over summer break.

“I don’t really like having a summer reading book,” said Zach Mclaughlin, a sophomore. “It’s important to take a break from schoolwork, and a summer reading book defeats the point of summer.”

For others, the problem lies in the lack of instruction rather than the assignment. 

“I feel like we don’t know what we should read for in these books to prepare for the assignments we have in our English class,” Tokunaga said.

However, Carlmont continues to assign a book every summer. In past years, some examples of the summer reading books have been “The Martian” and “The Hate U Give.”

“The summer reading can either be interesting or boring depending on the book,” said Ben Lee, a sophomore. “The past couple summer reading books we’ve had I thought were pretty good.”

Along with the summer reading book, students in advanced English classes have an additional book to read for their class. Freshmen going into advanced English read “Of Mice and Men,” advanced sophomores read “Beowulf,” advanced juniors read “Native Son,” and seniors in AP literature read “Frankenstein.”

“Summer reading books are meant to be popular books,” Tokunaga said. “Without it, we wouldn’t really know what books are good.”

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