Every year, librarians and teachers tell students to read over the summer months. Kids are told that summer reading keeps their skills sharp and prepares them for the next grade level. Beyond talk, do librarians and teachers take action to motivate students to read of the summer? Here is one idea - Teacher Tuesdays!
As a school librarian, I organize Teacher Tuesdays. It invites students and teachers to gather (on a Tuesday, of course) at the public library. Teachers can keep in touch with students over the summer months, help students select books to read, and encourage students to read and participate in the public library’s summer reading program. Teacher Tuesdays is a wonderful partnership between school district and public library. This is my third summer organizing Teacher Tuesdays. I used to do a designated time (like 3:00-4:00) every Tuesday during the summer, but it required a lot of volunteered time from teachers and student participation was low. Now I do four Tuesdays during the summer months and it is very manageable for teachers and well-attended by students.
Organizing Teacher Tuesdays is very easy. In May, I work with the public library to find a time that works best for them. Then I organize an e-vite for teachers to sing up for a date to participate. Then the event is promoted to students during my summer reading promotions at the end of the school year and to parents via the principal’s newsletter. From there, Teacher Tuesdays runs itself. I simply show up to each Tuesday event and visit with participating teachers and students.
Students who participate in the public library’s summer reading program are rewarded when they return to school in August. Students turn in their completed reading logs in exchange for an invitation to a summer reading party! They enjoy extra recess and music outside on the playground (if your school allows, you can offer a treat like popcorn or ice cream). 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. Teacher Tuesdays is a wonderful motivator to get students into the public library, checking out books, and reading all summer long.