Do you know how essential it is for students to continue reading over the summer? We have all heard about the summer reading loss that affects so many readers, especially those readers who are already considered to be at risk. Here are some ways to get your students just as excited about reading as they are about swimming and all of the other fun activities that take place during the summer.
Hold a Book Exchange in Your Classroom!
Once a student reads a chapter book, he or she is likely to never pick up the book again. It just sits on a shelf or in a box somewhere in the child's room. To make the most out of these "once read" books, hold a book exchange in your classroom. Each student can bring books from home to exchange with books brought from home by their classmates. Ideally, the number of books a student brings is the number of books he or she can exchange. However, I often end up adding some books to the exchange since students are not always able to find enough books that pique their interest. This activity gives students new books to begin reading right when summer vacation begins!
Start a Summer Book Club or Lunch With Your Students
In a classroom where the teacher has established an effective Reading Workshop, the students typically build a very strong community of readers. These students truly get to know each other as readers and become very comfortable talking about books. To encourage your students to continue talking about their reading during the summer, set up a few "meet in the park" or "meet on the playground" days where you invite students to bring lunch and a book to a local park (or the school playground) to discuss the books they are reading. It will be fun for the students to see you during the summer, and it will be a great way to check in on their reading and discuss the books they have read so far.
Take a Field Trip to the Public Library to Learn About Their Summer Reading Program
When I taught second grade, I took my students to the public library for a tour of the library, story time, and an overview of the summer reading program the librarians had put in place for students in the community. Students who did not have a library card were even able to apply for their own card, and all students received a packet of information about the summer reading program to take home to their parents.