Summer is on its way. The students have traded their mounds of recess snow gear for baseball caps and have resumed their usual frolicking in the sunshine, picking of dandelions, and emphatic exclamations concerning the unbearable heat. With the end of the school year nearly in sight, teachers and students alike are looking forward to the break. Maybe there are exciting summer travel plans, or perhaps some new experiences are in store. Among the many activities the summer may hold, let me encourage one very important and enjoyable pursuit: reading.
Especially for those budding youths who have recently acquired this ability, reading over the summer will be beneficial. The first steps of reading have been hard work and took hours of practice—learning letters and their sounds, painstakingly deciphering words one letter at a time, and then reading more complex words and longer sections. Keep reading at home this summer to maintain and further all the effort the younger students have put in during this school year.
For older students that have already taken to reading like a fish takes to water, my advice is the same—curl up with a book, or a stack of books, and enjoy reading over summer break. There are more great works of literature than there is time to read them all, so pick books that will strengthen Christian convictions, give new ideas to ponder, or simply offer imaginative delight. In this age of cheap entertainment and trite snippets of information, defy the culture by enjoying a rich, thought-provoking book that was not made to be here one day and gone the next. The teachers would all be happy to suggest certain books or authors for the students to explore.
In reading great works of literature, the reader is in a sense inviting all the greatest thinkers of the past millennia to come into the living room to talk, while he, the fortunate fly on the wall, soaks up ideas from the best teachers that Western culture has seen. Readers can jump across centuries and compare notes on how philosophers view wealth and power or glimpse what life would have been like in a time and place that would otherwise be inaccessible. There is a feast of philosophy, fables, fairy tales, history, poetry, plays, practical manuals, stories, and biographies waiting to be enjoyed. For these and many other reasons, take advantage of the summer to do some reading.
In the end, students learn to read for more than the sake of literacy, edification, or enjoyment, but for the sake being able to read God’s Word. I am thankful to teach in a school where the students not only learn to read, but learn to read the Bible and hear it read every day. Learning to read is well worth the effort, and I hope that this summer provides an opportunity for reading even more.