Summer reading

 The New Albany School District has decided to require all high school students to do summer homework.

The homework is in the form of a summer reading and writing assignment that will be due the second day of school in August and will count as a major grade in English.

The program, which will be in effect this summer, represents a major change for the district. In the past, only students in the gifted/advanced placement English class have had required reading assignments during the summer.

Kim Day, Gifted English teacher at New Albany High School, told the board of trustees that “reading during the summer months would benefit all students by improving reading comprehension and increasing retention of literary analysis skills learned during the school year.”

She said that students regress in their reading comprehension skills over the summer and the new program will help boost state test scores and ACT scores.

Students will select a book that appeals to them from a reading list based on grade and skill level. Our only concern is that adequate books are available for families who cannot afford them.

Dr. Charles Garrett, district superintendent, said making the summer program a requirement for all high students is important because it is the weaker students who need the extra reading the most.

We know that making a summer assignment a requirement may not meet with the approval of all parents. But we support the administration’s efforts to put more rigor into our educational curriculum.

In fact, we would like to see the district explore a summer reading requirement for all grades. Reading comprehension is just as important, perhaps even more so, in elementary school where the pattern is set for middle and high school.