Saturday, June 15, 2013

Thoughts on Summer and Reading

Several posts back, I talked about the summer slide and connecting with students over the summer. I have an exciting update on connecting with students over the summer. I decided to give each of my homeroom students a self-addressed card with postage so they could communicate with me over the summer about their reading. So far, I have received cards from 2 of my students and several e-mails. It is so exciting to get them in the mail! What ways do you all connect with your students over the summer?

My first two letters from Gabby and Olivia W.!

To combat the dreaded summer slide, we created a summer reading program and also did a really fun summer reading kickoff  (videos below). My colleagues and I spoofed the very popular viral video "How Animals Eat Their Food". Our take: "How Animals Read Their Books." The kids went wild! Hopefully these two new ideas - cards for students and a school summer reading program - will help with igniting the reading passion, even when school is not in session.

Our Version!

I feel that my instinct about the approach to summer reading was eloquently confirmed by this awesome post on the Nerdy Book Club website by Donalyn Miller @donalynmiller: Let My People Read As she states, reading during the summer should be fun and should be all about student choice, not requirement.

So the summer reading committee from my school, with assistance from Travis Jonker @100scopenotes (who is VERY helpful), planned a fun and student choice centered summer reading program. We made it very simple - kids would choose summer reading activities from a Bingo Board and try to get a "Bingo" each month of summer. The activities we came up with are fun - such as read to a stuffed animal, read with a friend, or read wearing your sunglasses. Our READ! Board is attached below.

Each student left with them a week before the end of school. We did this so that we could get a gauge on how many students may be interested in participating. After a week of collecting participation letters, signed by students and parents, we had well over 100 students committed to the program! Those that participate in the program will be invited to a special breakfast upon return from school and entered in a raffle for a chance to win a Kindle Fire. My wonderful colleagues have also agreed to meet twice during the summer at our local library to give out smaller prizes, read with students, check progress, and book talk books.

I'd love to hear everyone's ideas for good summer reading programs, as we will be looking to expand and improve next year. Here's to summer reading =)

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