Most educators are all too familiar with the problem of summer learning loss that occurs each year. A good deal of each fall is spent reviewing old material before teaching anything new is even considered. Summer reading is one of the best ways to minimize such loss and to help students remain active and continual learners.
When setting up a summer reading program, it can be hard to know where to start. Following are some tips for doing this:
Get parents involved – You can develop the best program in the world and the most exciting reading list ever but without buy-in of parents, your success rate is likely to be low. Remember that you will not see your students all summer but their parents will. Educate your parents on the importance of summer reading and find creative ways to keep parents engaged. Send weekly emails with summer activities to parents, send a mid-summer postcard, or even send home the library registration form at the end of the school year.
Solicit input on reading lists – Don’t put the entire burden for developing reading lists on your shoulders alone. Get input from your colleagues and the local libraries. Asking parents and students for suggestions is a great way to increase participation. A child is far more likely to complete a book that they have chosen from a list of books recommended by people they like.
Offer incentives – Let’s face it—rewards work. It typically does not take much to motivate kids to participate, especially the younger crowd. Finding fun rewards can make your job a whole lot easier. Offer a pass to the front of the lunch line for each student who has read at least two books this summer. Or offer 5 extra minutes of recess!
Once you have developed your program, review it each fall to see what worked and what you could change for the next year. Your summer reading program is likely to get better and better each year.
Looking for a turnkey solution? ThinkStretch offers everything for a terrific summer reading program with math, writing and science to complete the summer learning fun!