Summer Reading Gets an Upgrade

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Librarian Ms. Barber opens opportunities for booklovers over summer with new book clubs

EVE SLEMP

As school wound down, there was more time to enjoy the moments of summer and curl up on the couch with a captivating book.

Former assistant superintendent Amy Drowne came up with the idea of summer book clubs, and ELHS Librarian Jeannine Barber brought this idea to life as she made reading an engaging experience during summer. Through get-togethers and discussions with friends and teachers, students enjoyed reading from a different perspective.

“I wanted to do summer reading differently this year. It should be more organic than summer reading in the past, which used to be mandatory.”

-Ms. Barber


In past years, summer reading was required for students, then evolved into reading competitions and even lotteries and raffles. This year, Ms. Barber added a new twist to the annual reading. ELHS teachers volunteered to lead various clubs at ELHS and gave students an opportunity to bond over their love of reading.

“I figured if I’m going to read all summer anyway, why not do a book club?” Chemistry teacher Lori Singer said.

Jillian Sylvester with Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” for Ms. Buckley’s book club

Ms. Singer and guidance counselor Christy Bryant held two book clubs together. From July 12-16, Ms. Singer and Ms. Bryant hosted a book club with “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott and another August 9-13 with “The Spring Girls” by Anna Todd. Other book clubs throughout the summer were run by Special Ed. Teacher Cortney Kargusang, Science teacher Samuel Harfenist, English teachers Nanette Trusler, Kimberly Buckley, and Julie Teixeira.

“I’ve always felt that ‘Little Women’ is a book about feminism and the right to choose the path that is best for you. We talked about how those paths were perceived then and now and the unique challenges that each of those paths presented,” Ms. Singer said.

The conversations held during the week-long book clubs brought interesting stories and new perspectives to the students who participated.

The clubs were held over Zoom and in person depending on the teacher. Ms. Singer and Ms. Bryant’s club was held over Zoom and at the middle school. Similarly, Ms. Buckley’s club was held at the middle school. The books were read ahead of time.

“There was no pressure to answer any of the questions; it was just a fun discussion about the books I read and loved.”

-Senior Jenny Guo, who participated in Ms. Singer and Ms. Bryant’s “Little Women” book club


During the school year students’ schedules get filled quickly leaving little time for reading for pure pleasure.

“I find during the school year that I barely have time to read the paper; spending time reading a book is just not likely to happen,” Ms. Singer said. “Reading helps me to stop obsessing about how last year went and worrying about all the work I need to do for next year and instead escape into someone else’s life for a while.”