Every year, teachers tell students to read over the summer months. They tell them summer reading keeps their skills sharp and prepares them for the next grade level. Beyond talk, do teachers take any actions to motivate students to read of the summer? Here are some ideas! Over the years, I’ve cultivate a variety of ways to keep students reading all summer long.
To provide greater access to books, each spring I allow students to check out books from the school library to take home for summer break. It’s a waste for the books to sit on the library shelf all summer long. The books should be in the hands of readers, taking them on wonderful adventures! Students interested in participating need to return all their library books by a certain date and complete a parent permission slip. Then the last few days of school, these students checkout four books from the school library to read over the summer months. There are exchange days in June and August when the school’s library is open. During these times, students return their books and get four new ones. To provide excitement, I offer cookies and put out makerspace activities for students and their families to enjoy. All books checked out over the summer are due back the first day of the new school year.
Little Free Libraries provide another way to provide students with increased access to books over the summer. I run three Little Free Libraries for my students. One library is located in my neighborhood, which serves the students who live near me. The other two libraries are located in front of each of my schools. Little Free Libraries are a book exchange. Students give a book they’ve already read, then take a new book they want to read. During the summer months, the books in these libraries move quickly. They are a wonderful way to support reading outside of school, especially during the summer months. For more information on how to start and manage a Little Free Library, visit my blog at http://thepageturninglibrarian.blogspot.com.
To encourage students to visit the public library and participate in their summer reading program, I organize Teacher Tuesdays. Every Tuesday during the summer, there is a designated time for teachers and students to gather at the public library. Teachers visit with students, encourage summer reading, and make reading suggestions. Teacher Tuesdays is a wonderful motivator to get students into the public library, checking out books, and reading all summer long.
Books on Bikes is another exciting way to provide increased access to books. On an evening in July, some teachers and I rode our bikes through the school’s neighborhoods. We visited with students, giving them free books and a popsicle. I used Scholastic book fair points and funds to acquire books to give away to students. Books on Bikes was started in Charlottesville, VA. For more information, go to http://www.booksonbikescville.org.
If students read over the summer, I reward them when they return to school in August. I ask students to write down the titles of books they read over the summer, get their parents to sign the list, and return it to me by a certain date. Students who did summer reading are invited to a summer reading party! They enjoy extra recess, music, popsicles or ice-cream, and a free book of their choice! This party is always a blast and a wonderful motivator to encourage kids to summer read.
Studies by Krashen (2004) simply state, ‘More access to books results in more reading.’ I truly believe that if you increase access to books and provide a little motivation, students will read over the summer months. For the most part, these are easy ways to encourage summer reading. Next year, I’d like to start a Book Mobile! I welcome any information or suggestions to get this started. Good luck and best wishes getting students to summer read!