Dreaming Through Vacation: Lane School’s Summer Reading Program

By Julie McCay Turner

Each summer Bedford’s Lane School suggests a book or books for students coming into third, fourth, and fifth grades to read as a way to build community through shared reading experiences. In addition, the books selected touch on themes that are important for the third to fifth grade students.

This year’s selection, Dream: A Tale of Wonder, Wisdom and Wishes, was chosen by the school’s librarian, Ms. Coviello. Dream is a beautifully illustrated story filled with famous quotes from Emily Dickinson, Martin Luther King, and Marie Curie among others.

The school was able to purchase 25 copies of Dreams for students to borrow over the summer; copies are also available at the Bedford library. When the school’s copies are returned in September, they will be shared among each of Lane School’s classrooms.

Rob Ackerman, Lane School principal, hopes that the book will encourage Lane School students to “dream big.”  “The opportunities are endless for Lane students on what they can do with their lives,” said Mr. Ackerman, “it is our job at Lane to make sure we help them get the skills, knowledge, and habits so they can succeed in whatever path they choose.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3nEGSg5ja4]

Although reading Dream is not mandatory (“The word ‘mandatory’ takes the pleasure out of reading,” notes Mr. Ackerman), all the Lane classrooms will be involved in activities based on the book during the coming school year.

Summer reading participants are encouraged to comment on the book via Mr. Ackerman’s blog, and describe whether or not they liked the way they felt reading Dreams; whether or not, after reading it, they feel dreams are important; and whether or not their dreams have changed as they’ve grown older.

More than 40 students have shared their comments online. While they hold a variety of dreams for themselves, they also see their dreams as having changed already and continuing to change as they get older. Several have moved past fanciful childhood dreams, to dream about excelling in a favorite sport like soccer or gymnastics.

Among the reasons that students gave for the importance of dreams and dreaming

  • they set a goal for you to achieve.
  • anything can happen, you let your imagination run wild!
  • if you don’t have a dream you will never achieve anything.
  • they can tell you a warning if something is going to happen in the future.
  • because it inspires you to do what you want to do.
  • because it gives you something to try to achieve.
  • they make you set goals, and if you really want to do it you have to work hard and keep trying.
  • dreams can teach you lessons about life and how to live.

Several students feel differently about dreams and dreaming after reading the book, and better understand how dreams are different for different people. At least one student shared a well-developed sense of reality, saying ”I think Dreams are important because they can predict your future and I think dreams are NOT important because they can be wrong and you don’t get what you expected.”

But the book’s magic was summed up by a girl going into fifth grade in the fall who says ”NEVER STOP DREAMING!”