Saturday, July 19, 2014

Tips & Tricks: Summer Reading

I hate summer reading. The whole point of summer is to escape the brutal work of the previous year and enjoy yourself. Well, let me tell you; it is pretty difficult to get the "summertime experience" when you have to read The Glamour of Grammar. No, I'm not kidding. It is a legitimate book. But seriously, who could actually enjoy reading a book entitled The Glamour of Grammar? Well, I guess a grammarian, but that's beside the point. 

Each summer, our teachers bombard us with a series of pointless and time consuming exercises as a sort of impetus into the following year. To some degree, I completely understand. Sure, most students lose a portion (maybe more) of the knowledge they learned the previous year. In order to maintain that knowledge; however, one does not need to assign four books, 2 papers, and words to define. I believe one book, maybe a few paragraphs would be sufficient. I mean let's be real. The majority of students do not start their summer work until the very, and I mean very end of the summer. So, by assigning less work, students would not have to stress out their entire "relaxing" summer vacation, and teachers would have less to grade at the beginning of the year. 

Alright, so that's my little rant on summer work. I, traditionally, am not that big of a procrastinator. If I have a paper due on a Friday, I'll get it done the weekend before. That's just how I manage and organize myself. For instance, I have the majority of my summer work done now, except for a few papers I have to write. But, I know other students are completely opposite. That is why I have composed a list of my methods to getting summer work done efficiently. 

1. Annotate.
To be completely honest, I absolutely hate it. I would rather enjoy the book (well, kind of enjoy), then stop every few sentences to write something in the margin. Even though I hate it, annotating is a major help when you have to write a paper. If you have written side notes in at least some portions of a literary work, it will be easier to find evidence when writing your paper. Teachers love it when you direct quote (and cite properly). But, don't get too quote happy. Just as much as teachers like it when you support your claims, they hate it when you fill up all 4 pages you have to write with quotes. 

2. Reward yourself. 
I know it may sound dumb, but even if you allow yourself a piece of candy after each paragraph or page, you will be inclined to read faster. I mean, who doesn't like a little snack after reading a dull, dry book?

3. Invest. 
I know this can be extremely challenging (I struggle with it myself) but try to invest in what you are reading. For me, it is really hard to pay attention while reading The Glamour of Grammar. One way to invest in an academic book is to read it like a story. Try to not just read the points the author is making, but form it into a story. You will find yourself a lot more entertained this way. 

4. Get it done. 
This is probably the hardest part for most people. Who wants to start off their break from school with more work? Well, if you pace yourself, the work won't seem as bad. Reading a few pages a day won't seem so horrific when your friends are cramming 4 books in the night before school starts up. If you find yourself getting the work done quickly, you can have more summertime!

5. Ask for help. 
I think we all have gotten confusing instructions at least once in our lives. So, don't be afraid. If your teacher makes absolutely no sense in their instructions, contact them. I know my teachers all put their email addresses on the summer reading handouts, but if your's don't, ask a friend. There is a huge chance that at least one of your friends will know what to do. 

6. Do your best.
This is my final point because I think it is the most important. For most students, they change teachers every year, so your summer work is the teacher's first impression of you. Do you want to show the teacher you are a hard worker, or that you are lazy and don't care about your work? 

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