Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Summer Reading

Summer reading. It’s something I discuss with my students a lot. They know my plan – read a book a day (as part of #bookaday on Twitter). Read all of our state award books for next year. And whittle down my out of control “to read” shelf in my bedroom.

A few years ago I didn’t even think to talk to my students about what they were reading over the summer. We didn’t specifically plan out anything. I assumed they would continue reading. Then I read more about the summer reading slump. Started actually listening to the kids when they entered my class. Noticed how some of their data points actually went backwards from May to September.

As a result, now we plan. We talk about books we would like to read over the summer. I preview books for them. I tell them that reading just four books over the summer would help them tremendously. This year all of my 78 students created their own summer bookmark. They decorated the front and then recorded the books they wanted to read on the back. I laminated them for each child and they began using them. I hope it inspires them to continue the growth they have begun.

I also decided to have a summer reading camp this year at my home. In previous years I have had a camp the first two weeks of summer. This year I wanted to have a camp throughout the summer to keep kids reading. We’re meeting on Tuesdays for an hour each week. I hope to share picture books and chapter books with the students. I’d like to weave in some comprehension lessons. The kids will also get the chance to recommend books to each other. I have some friends who have agreed to Skype with the students, sharing the books they have written or the books they want to read this summer. And the students are going to keep a record of how many books they have read and what they thought about them. I’m hoping to help set them up to become readers.

Liam and Luke get entered in this camp by nature of being my children. Liam found the notebooks today that I purchased for the students. He asked what they were for and I explained I was going to have them keep a record of their reading. Liam immediately selected his own notebook and is now camped out on my bed with all of his Elephant and Piggie books, reading them and recording them dutifully in his notebook. I love his first grade writing, his concentration, and his excitement as he finished his fifth book.

As for me, I am just as excited about my summer reading. I have stacks of books, ones that friends have sent me and ones I have ordered. I’m rereading Marty McGuire for a Twitter chat tonight and then diving into Squish #3 that just arrived on my doorstep. How about you? What do you do to plan for summer reading?

And CONGRATULATIONS to Linda who won my book giveaway from Monday. Linda - I'm sending you a Twitter message to get shipping information.