Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Summer Literature Groups With Students

Summer To Do List:
-Survive Heat (Double-check- BLAH- HATE THIS PART)
-Plant Garden (check)
-Add sod lawn to back yard (check)
-Swimming(not my favorite, but- check)
-Lazy (sorta- check)
-Ice Cream (Quadruple check- YUM!)
-Literature Circles with Students (check)
-Vacation with my family (check)

Whoa! Did you just say literature circles with students...DURING THE SUMMER?

Actually yes. Yes I did.

Thanks to an amazing parent helper I run a book club/literature circle/book talk (and any other name that has been used to re-purpose  and make money on) every other week. The students are given a book to read (with their input) and then have 2 weeks to read it, write in their book club journals (we asked for every 40 pages or less for them to make an entry), and be ready to discuss. 

Is it successful, with only a couple of students attending?

I would say yes. So only a couple of students are currently participating. That is a couple more that will read over the summer. The rest of my class from last year just doesn't know what they are missing. I also think would more come if they remembered. This parent helper, Mrs. M., brings themed treats for the book. 

Front CoverFor example, because we just finished The Lemonade War,  she brought lemonade to drink, lemon flavored candies to eat, and sherbet flavored Oreos as well. Then, she brought extra treats and for every extra book read during the two weeks, the students were given an extra reward. Mrs. M is also making mini-book covers of each book for the students to glue on their reading journals (an idea that I am going to use with my students this coming year in writing- more on that later when I have all the details worked out). So the students will be able to see all the books they read over the summer. (She even makes them for the extra books they have read during the two weeks).

What are you reading for this coming meeting?

Front CoverWe are reading: Among the Impostersby Margaret P. Haddix. It is book 2 is the Shadow Children Series. If you haven't read that series, then NOW is the time... Wow they are an amazing read. I am excited to sit down tomorrow with my students and Mrs. M and discuss this book. There are so many things that can be drawn out- bullying, being yourself, having pride, etc.

So, Mr. Hughes, where do you hold your book chats?

Good question. I am lucky enough to hold them right in my classroom. Yes, desks are stacked everywhere, and my room is a wreck, but we all just look past that for the time being and gather around a single desk in what ever chairs are around. I love it.

What if I can't use my classroom?

I would check with your local library and see if they will let you use a room or space there. I wouldn't dare hold it at my own home, not even in the small rural town where I live. I might know everyone here, but I will not take any chances.

Closing Thoughts...

Summertime really is a time for teachers to relax, formulate ideas for the next year, and reflect on how the past year went. However, if you are anything like me, I NEVER stop thinking about how I can be a better teacher. Some ideas work, and lots do not.  But, summer book talks are an easy thing for me (every other week for an hour is doable) and I enjoy knowing that at least a couple kids will be on level when they hit 7th grade next year.

What are your thoughts on this?



  1. I think it is a great idea and one that I am glad you are pursuing. Bonus for the students that are attending. Pity for the students who chose not to. Thanks for helping students achieve more and be successful.

  2. I really should do something like this, but I'm not a gluton for punishment like you are...

  3. I adore the "Among the Hidden" series! Great choice! ;)


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