I've been hearing about this new reading study for days. The bit that interests people the most (and which you'll find in the twelfth paragraph of the article I linked to) is that "children improved their reading scores even though they typically weren’t selecting the curriculum books or classics that teachers normally assigned for summer reading." It seems that this study confirmed others (that I don't believe I've heard about) "suggesting that children learn best when they are allowed to select their own books."
I know how they feel. No matter how good a book is, when I see it on a reading list, my eyes glazeth over and I begin to yawn.
You know, gradeschoolers aren't the only people who get hit with assigned reading in the summer. So do incoming college freshmen, who probably thought they were through with all that. Those freshman reading experiences didn't go over well with the Gauthier boys, but I guess that's to be expected. Our reading at Chez Gauthier is a little on the feral side.
In Summer School Slate offered a less "dutiful" pre-college reading list, one the compilers thought would be "better suited to helping 18-year-olds navigate university life." I think I've seen one of the titles, Blindness, floating around my house somewhere, but I haven't read it because, quite honestly, it looks like something you'd see on an incoming freshman reading list.