Friday, May 25, 2012

How Do You Keep Them Reading?

Summer is finally starting just around the bend (or in my case, today). If you are like me, then you are already worrying about your current class being successful next year, and hoping with all your might that your upcoming class will (oh please, oh please), dare I say it? Read! Ahhhhh! READING???? Yes Reading!

I have read study after study (plus MORE studies) about this problem. It seems that most experts agree that our kids and students need to read 4-6 books over the summer to help prevent the summer slide. This year, I created this for my students:

I knew that I wanted my students to read, but I also knew that just telling them to read everyday would be as exciting as asking them to write a 10 page paper on the ozone layer every day during the summer.

So, I sat down with my amazing wife and we came up with 30 activities/ideas that I felt would be interesting, fun, and above all exciting for my students to do.

I think things like getting to read junk mail to activities with the cereal box in the morning are easy to do, engaging enough students will do it and not realize the they are "reading".

I had the ideas- now I needed to decide on the best format to  make it engaging for my kids.

I envisioned a jar with the ideas on slips of paper- kind of like a "I'm Bored Jar", or something. But I wanted the design to be a little more eye-candy-ish. So I came up with some pretty cool looking cards that can be drawn one at a time. Then I decided that maybe not all kids would want a bunch of cards to try and keep track of (while others would LOVE them!). So, I then thought of a calendar format.  I didn't want to have the dates locked in, as that would make it less useful if a student skipped/missed a day.

Thus I came up with more of a format that LOOKS like a calendar, but is really just a grid of ideas. I typed up the instructions at the top and added a reading challenge on the bottom that is more like a traditional reading assignment I would give to my students during the school year.

My next goal was to provide the parents with some information about summer reading. So I wrote a parent letter that informed them of the need to keep their child reading, explained how to use the activities I was sending home, and encouraged them to contact me with any questions they may have had (preferably BEFORE school ended for the year.

And then, because I was planning on making this resource available to other teachers, I needed an instructions sheet.

So THIS is what you get:

I'd say that is a whole lot of easy-to-use for you for a way LOW price!

My students were very excited to get the activities. I sent the calendar home with them this year, as a test drive. I am very pleased with how it turned out, and I am excited to use it year after year!




  1. Your summer holidays started today? My school year doesn't end until the 29th of June. Boy I wish it was over today!!!!

    I love your ideas. I will definitely check them out for the end of the year - which is the end of June.

    I usually give the class a set of games - a few pages of suduko, kakuro and a few logic puzzles and a blank board game set as well as board game which was the published winner from the previous year's class.

    I love your idea to give them specific and varied ways to read. Bravo!

  2. I plan to continue reading with my little one over the summer holidays. Not keeping them actively involved, I feel, will only hurt them in the end. Just think how much a child will forget over the summer.


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