By Teachers, For Teachers
You and your students have worked too hard this year to let the “summer slide” erase their reading progress. Rather than just assign books for the fall, the most effective way to make summer reading a reality is to MAKE IT FUN!
Try these five simple strategies to spark your students’ interest in summer reading.
Whether it’s an addictive book series, comics or even sports blogs, use the knowledge you have of your students’ interests to get them.
Have students share their favorite book and start summer reading lists of their own. It helps to frame this more as a fun opportunity to read books their classmates like than as a summer reading assignment.
Reading teacher Franki Sibberson recommends leading students in a bookshare so they can prepare their own summer reading lists.
She writes, “Students usually see summer reading as an assignment, and often put off the reading until the week before school starts. I have found that my upper elementary students and my own children respond more positively when they see summer as a great time to catch up on the reading they haven't had time to get to during the school year.” full article
Here are a few book lists to get your started:
Encourage students to take advantage of the free resources available at their local library. They may know they can get books, but they may not know about that they can check out movies, game, use the computer or join community reading programs (many of which have incentives for summer reading). Once they’re in, they may even pull up a chair with a good book.
Save yourself the research time and invite a local librarian in to share info on the summer reading programs and library resources in your classroom.
Struggling readers may still be resistant to reading when they don’t absolutely HAVE to, so now is a great time to introduce them to audiobooks for family car trips or audiovisual read-along websites. These can be great ways to expand their minds during the summer by removing obstacles that may stand in their way.
Here are some great free resources:
As a great first step, send home a list of recommended summer reading for their child (which you may have already created in your in-class book share), along with a list of the library reading programs and other programs they can take advantage of over the summer.
Did you have book-related projects that students LOVED (like book reviews, casting the book or themed glog – or multimedia posters - on glogster for books or characters)? Send the instructions home with students/parents for at-home summer projects that can apply to other books.
Encourage parents to create reading incentives as they track their child’s reading progress over the summer. They can keep track on printable summer reading logs or on goodreads.com.
Just like in the classroom, students will be more likely to go above and beyond if they set goals for their summer reading.
There are also a ton of programs promoting summer reading that offer incentives to students and your school. Check out the local library offerings, as well as:
- Scholastic Summer Challenge
- Book Adventure Reading Contest
- 600 Minutes Reading Clubs (Though the Six Flags ones technically this doesn’t start until September, I’m including this because I still think back fondly on riding roller coasters for a day because I reached my reading goal).
To follow through with these goals, you may want to coordinate this effort with the grades above and below you. On a Scholastic article, they share Renee Parker’s idea to get her future students engaged in summer reading.
Check out how her “Welcome Back Book Club Lunch Party” plan:
As your students are creating their summer reading list, group them by their interests and encourage them to talk about the books they like and meet up over the summer to talk about the books on their lists. This is a great motivator to keep them reading and a way to help shy kids stay social outside of school.
Summer Book Clubs:
For younger students, you may want to send home contact info for the different members of the group so parents can coordinate meetings.
For older students, have them put together a reading calendar and coordinate their own book club meetings. Even if they don’t follow through on the club, they’ve got a reading plan on paper.
Online Books “Clubs” and Social Networking
The internet can also extend the reach of making reading social. If your students are on Facebook, they can start reading groups, invite classmates to book club events or keep tabs on each other reading lists on one of the many Facebook Bookshelf apps.
The RIF Book Zone and Goodreads are also fun websites for tracking your bookshelf and interacting with other readers.
How do you encourage summer reading? Share in the comments section!