The Grasshopper and the Ants, Summer Reading Edition


I never put off till tomorrow what I can possibly do – the day after. ~Oscar Wilde

Once upon a time, on a bright sunny day in June, a grasshopper and a group of ants got out of Bug School for the summer. The grasshopper was delighted, for now he had two whole months to fill his head with reality TV shows and texting. The ants just walked by on their way home, grunting as they struggled to carry backpacks full of copies of Fahrenheit 451 and A Gathering of Old Men.

“Where are you going with those stupid things?” asked the grasshopper, who never liked to read.

Without stopping, the first ant replied, “Home.  I’ve got to finish summer reading so I’ll be ahead of the game come August.”

“Pshaw. Why not come and watch bad TV shows and play video games with me,” teased the grasshopper, “instead of working so hard like a little nerd?”

“We’re taking our studies seriously,” said another ant, “and in this economy, you should do the same if you don’t want a lousy job for the rest of your life.”

“August is two months away and, who the hell cares about summer reading,” sang the grasshopper.

But the ants went on their way and continued their hard work (in addition to reading their books, they also volunteered at the local humane society, worked as lifeguards and helped Habitat for Ant-Kind).

August soon arrived and it was nearing the first day of Bug School.  All the copies of the necessary summer reading titles had long since been checked out and the grasshopper realized he was in deep kimchi because he hadn’t so much as started Touching Spirit Bear, and the report was due in a week.

He decided to go to the ants’ house. They had already finished their book reports months ago. He begged the ants to copy theirs.

“What!” cried the ants in surprise, “you’re telling us you haven’t even read the books?  What in the world were you doing all summer?”

“I didn’t have time to read books,” complained the grasshopper; “I was so busy playing Wii, watching movies and hanging out that before I knew it the summer was gone.”

The ants shook their heads in disgust, turned their backs on the grasshopper and went on preparing for school.

The moral of this little fable? Get your work done early. I have a dozen or more frantic students every year at Back to School time who haven’t read the books. The library doesn’t have any copies, because everyone waits until the last minute. If you really need a copy, you’re gonna have to go to Barnes and Noble. That’s just the way it works.

Many studies such as this one explain the phenomenon known as “summer slide.” With libraries pulling out all the stops to encourage summer reading, ultimately we can’t force the proverbial horse to drink at the proverbial well. It is now more important than ever for students to not only read their required books during the summer, but build on existing skills. Would a football player be at the top of his game in September if he’d neglected to practice for three months? Of course not. The same principle applies to reading.

And I’m not one of these killjoys who thinks summer shouldn’t be fun. Kids should be allowed to swim, go on camping trips, watch movies…you know, the kinds of things that aren’t school. But at the same time, parents have to make reading a part of their kids’ lives. It is a proven fact that kids who read year-round, and enjoy reading, do better in school and are more emotionally well-adjusted. And that’s a greater gift than any camping trip or movie will ever be.

Read…not just during the summer, but all year!

Note: In the interest of conciseness, we will now be hosting 8 (rather than 16) Tributes for the Hunger Games Challenge,  meaning we have room for ONE more competitor! Get your fictional character contestant today in for a chance to win some truly awesome prizes!

Don’t forget to click “Like” and subscribe to P&Q so you’ll always have some good reading material…

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on July 30, 2012.

13 Responses to “The Grasshopper and the Ants, Summer Reading Edition”

  1. Great post! Here’s a post I wrote about kids & summer:http://cyclingrandma.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/libraries-lemo…-in-the-summer/

  2. oops- try this link: http://cyclingrandma.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/libraries-lemonade-keeping-kids-busy-in-the-summer/

  3. Sent mine in early. 😀

  4. As someone who enjoys reading, I never really saw it as a chore.
    And could you let the ants know that they’ve hit the max population density of Habitat for Ant-kind on my sidewalk?

  5. I love this story! You should publish this and sell it to all the public schools to hand out with book lists at the end of the school year.
    I wondered what the due dates are on the contest.

  6. I don’t remember ever having summer reading assignments from school. Is that the norm? But I still would read in the summer. Just not an assigned reading for the next school year.

    • A lot of schools have assigned reading for summer now, with a report due at the start of the next year. But yeah, I always read in summer, even if it wasn’t required.

      • For me, making it a requirement (as well as making the report a requirement) would probably make me more likely to not want to read than to want to read.

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