When kids are engaged in what they are learning, we know they grow as readers. To help my summer school friends, I used this strategy. I let them choose the curriculum! They were curious about birds and bats, so we decided to spend a week exploring the similarities and differences between birds and bats. In this post, I’ll share what all we were able to do to work on reading skills WITH all of our birds and bats lessons.
Our Summer Reading Camp Mission
Summer slide is a real concern for schools these days, and to help prevent it, our team came up with running a summer reading camp in conjunction with a local college. The beauty of the program is that we’ve been able to run a bus to pick up the children, provide them with three hours of fun and learning, and shhhh!…keep them reading! Another added perk is that the teachers can plan it how they want. We have no pacing guide, no intensive assessments, and no deadlines. In fact, the kids can share in the planning!
Introducing Bats and Birds
Beginning with Birds
The first step in our bats and birds exploration was to introduce the characteristics of birds. This packet from Deborah Perrot – The Paper Maid worked quite well for guiding our research. I brought in a collection of nonfiction bird books to help students research. We learned about nonfiction text features and used them to find the information we needed. I also used poetry I’d written about birds and writing prompts I had in conjunction with this packet.
For fun, we also made this cute craftivity from Kinder Doodles. They turned out really cute. The kids were happy to display them with the writing assignment they completed.
Transitioning to Bats
Once the kids were finished working through the bird research I had prepped for them, it was time to move on to bats. Thankfully, I found this research packet for bats from Jodi Southard. It was quite similar to the printables for birds, so like our bird research, I brought in bat books too.
In addition to nonfiction books, we also enjoyed the bat books by Brian Lies. They are so much fun, and the rhythm and rhyme work well for reading too. The group of students I was working with were all rising third graders, so these books were at a good level for them. You might explore this list. His books include Bats at the Library, Bats at the Beach (my favorite), Bats at the Ballgame (kids favorite), Bat in the Band, and Little Bat
Another fun activity we completed during the bat portion was this fun bat glyph activity from Pamela Greening on TPT. You can download the activity directions by clicking the image to the right. Your kids will really enjoy it.
Of course, I love using poetry for working on fluency and decoding skills. This set worked well for our group too. I love the lesson suggestions provided too. You can download your copy by clicking the image to the left.
LITERATURE ABOUT BATS AND BIRDS
The last step in planning our week was to come up with read alouds and guided reading books. Here are some of my favorites for the week. My group included a range of readers from an end of 1st level to a 5th grade level, so I paired students up for fluency practice. We also worked in close reading passages and poetry as I mentioned. The kids really loved everything we did at “camp”.
The children really enjoyed the week, and I was thrilled with the fantastic resources I found.