As each school year comes to a close, parents and students alike collectively breathe a sigh of relief. Summer! That glorious break from the stress of writing papers, meeting project deadlines, and late-night study sessions. Yet, there is often this little nagging thing that tends to hang over the sunshiny months between school years, creating stress, frustration, and conflict between parents and their students: summer reading. Many schools, especially for students in middle school and high school, have required summer reading. It may be just one or two books already selected by teachers or students may be given options of books to read. No matter the structure or requirements, what I have witnessed in my own experience of teaching seventh- and eighth-graders is that students typically fall into one of two camps when it comes to summer reading—the early-readers and the procrastinators.
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As a seventh and eighth grade English teacher, I am both intrigued and disheartened by how many students enter my class who have already declared themselves "not a reader" or "not a writer." Certainly, writing a literary analysis in middle school language arts is different than writing an Instagram post or texting with friends, but we are all readers and writers. As parents, family members, and support system members of middle school students, we have a tremendous opportunity to encourage students as communicators.