Everybody knows, loves, and/or remembers summer reading for school. For summer reading, at my school at least, we are told to read a book of our choosing as well as a book that the school picks. Now, as a middle schooler we get to choose one of four different books. This year, because I am accelerated in Language Arts, I got to pick off of the 8th grade list. The choices were – wait, let me tell you that these are affiliate links. You won’t be charged extra but we may receive a small commission for the referral! So, my choices this year are: Chains (The Seeds of America Trilogy) by Laurie Halse Anderson, Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt, When by Victoria Laurie, and the book I chose to read, Ender’s Game (The Ender Quintet) by Orson Scott Card.
I really thought Ender’s Game would be great, but it most definitely was not. I was bored within the first couple pages but I had already picked it so I followed through and read the whole book. You can read my whole review on the book here.
After finishing Ender’s Game, I decided to see what the high schoolers were reading and I immediately discovered that they were given way better books than I was. It was then I remembered my summer reading for 6th grade.
What Happened Last Summer
At that time I was still in 6th grade Language Arts and I was reading the 6th grade summer reading. I had to choose between four realistic fiction books, my 2nd least favorite genre (next to non-fiction about plants). In the end, I decided on So B. It by Sarah Weeks. After reading the first third of the book I thought is was ok. While it was more bearable than Ender’s Game, I found it disturbing. About two thirds of the way into the book, I became disgusted with the main storyline. Thinking I might have misunderstood something, I asked my mom to read and she was also disgusted. You see, the way the book is written, you wonder if somebody did something really despicable and you don’t find out until the end that you were wrong. It wasn’t good.
It got worse. When I went to school and discussed the book with my peers they not only loved it they didn’t take away the same thing I did. None of my “gifted” friends had chosen the same book so no one understood why I hated the book.
Why Gifted Kids Struggle With Summer Reading
My gifted peers, I know how you feel. Summer reading is just one more thing disconnecting you, us, from our same-age peers. We think about things differently, our “normal” friends don’t think the way we do. They often don’t see why something is disturbing until you point it out to them. That’s what I did. But, they still didn’t understand why it upset me so much. Maybe they didn’t necessarily care. It is just summer reading after all, isn’t it? Finish and forget about it.
But that doesn’t work for me. I love to read. I am not saying that everybody wants to read, I know they don’t. Not every gifted child likes to read. But things like that stick with us. We pick things out that other people don’t. For that reason, summer reading isn’t the only thing that separates me from my peers. There are many other things, the way I talk, the way I think, what I do, the traits I have, the things I learn. I only know a handful of people who like to read the things I do.
A Mantra for Gifted Kids
Being a gifted kid is challenging. There are many, many challenges. But, we can and we do over come them. We can make the world a better place as doctors, scientists, and explorers of evolution.
I’m not complaining about being a gifted kid, I just wish people would stop trying to make us conform.