Summer reading strategies are important for students to avoid summer slide, and there are ways we can make summer reading enticing to kids. We know there are many things competing for your time including camps, swimming, and travel. Another challenge is that some students may lack access to books. What can be done? How can we plan NOW to set kids up for summer reading success?
Building Summer Reading Lists
Top 20 Lists
One of the best ways to plan for the summer is to help your kids create summer reading lists. The free resource to the right is one I created for teachers to use for list creation. It’s best for upper elementary and middle school. Kids work in small groups to build top 20 lists by genre and then from the genre lists, the kids make personal top 20 lists. They’re great for displaying as kids want to read what others are wanting to read too.
Another fun way for your kids to build reading lists is by using a graffiti wall. With the wall, kids post a simple book review form to the wall that includes a brief summary, opinions about the book, etc. If you’d like to create a graffitti wall, download THIS FORM to use with your kids. This idea would probably work well for primary students as well as upper.
Using Your Summer Reading Book Lists:
Creating a book list is a great way to build interest, but the next hurdle is working around the obstacles to gather the books on the list. If you have book lists started, you might try these ideas to actually gather the books together.
Host a Book Swap:
With a book swap, students gather up books they’ve read and recommend to other. They bring to school books they want to trade. For those who do not have books to trade, you can accept donations from other parents, friends, your local library’s discard shelf, or even your local used bookstore. At your swap, you allow the kids to shop and choose books to take home.
Set Up a Giving Tree:
If you have an artificial Christmas tree, set it up in your school’s entryway. You can hang book list “ornaments” on the tree that parents and community members can fulfill to help your class. If you are in a Title 1 school, this would qualify as a parental involvement activity. You might discuss funding with your building administrator or Title 1 team.
Reach Out to Donor Organizations
THIS POST by We Are Teachers includes a great collection of organizations that help teachers supply their classroom library, but many would also offer books for kids at low to no cost.
Summer Book Club Options:
The kids have books to read, but how can we insure they actually read them? Well, book clubs are a great option, and there are several ways you can line them up. Of course, there may not be a way to reach every single child, but some is better than none. Below, I’ll share a few club set ups that I’ve tried.
Traditional In-Home Book Club
For in-home meetings, parents do the organizing, and the kids come weekly to read together and discuss the chapters of a novel they’ve all chosen. The parent would want to offer food and drinks and also guide the discussion of the book.
Using Google Hangout for Guided Summer Reading:
Many kids have access to a laptop and/or Google apps. Google Hangout works well for the discussion as all the kids can see each other and chat online. (My reading council is actually going to host a professional book discussion next summer with Google Hangout.) I believe kids could also use a parents phone which helps it be more inclusive.
Blog About It :
A few summers ago, I set up a book club blog. I used a Blogger site and wrote up posts with discussion questions. I set it up with strong privacy and opened it JUST to the kids I was teaching. If you are interested in this, get your parents onboard and give them the link. Then, they’ll have your back and encourage involvement.
Mid Summer Check-in:
Finally, you might start a novel study as you send students off to summer vacation and do a mid-summer check-in at Cici’s Pizza or a cheap restaurant. Over lunch, you could discuss your chosen book. (and collect books from those who have finished reading). It wouldn’t require a huge amount of time, but it would send the message that it’s important that your kids read through the summer.
Summer Reading Buddies:
Before summer break, you might pair your kids (who live near each other) for reading buddies. They can read the same book and call each other and/or get together to compare reading notes. Speaking of notes, having your kids keep a journal to record thoughts as they read helps with accountability. (but stress it’s for quick notes only, not book reports).
These ideas may not work for you, but at least it gets you thinking of what might work. I think that’s the beauty of blogs. You might read an idea and put your own spin on it. ?
Links to Other Related Posts:
Book Club Resource for Any Book
Before you go, I want to share one last free resource with you. These book lists have been super helpful for many teachers. They print them and include them with the end of the year report cards. I hope you’ll find them helpful.