The only summer slide students should experience is the one at the neighborhood playground. Here are some resources and supports to ensure that each summer day is filled with reading for every child. Choose the ones that will best promote summer reading with your students.
Resources for Families
Public Library: The best reading resource in every community is the public library. Most offer summer reading programs that are fun for everyone, so be sure to help publicize them. Encourage families to get library cards for each member and use them often. Keep them informed about special library events such as puppet shows, plays, and times to read to a dog. While children are in the library, they will be sure to see many appealing books to check out and read.
Online Reading: Provide families with a list of online book resources that they can access from a home or public computer. Share online resources children can access through the public library website by entering their library card barcode. If your school subscribes to an online reading site, be sure that children have their usernames and passwords so that they can continue to read.
Community Centers: Learn whether local community centers offer lending libraries or provide enrichment programs that include storytimes, computer use, or arts-and-crafts activities. Share this information with parents to advance student learning throughout the break.
Parent Pipeline Letters: Print out Parent Pipelines that support the strategies each student been working on over the last month of school. Suggest that parents use them to foster their children’s reading enjoyment and help them practice their reading over the summer months.
Support for Students
Good-Fit Book Reminders: Review good-fit books using I PICK in the days before the end of school. Give each child a good-fit bookmark for a quick reference. Include a reminder about the criteria for good-fit books in your classroom newsletter or other parent communication. Advise readers to confirm that a book is a good fit before they take it out of the library.
Three Ways to Read a Book: Remind children about the Three Ways to Read a Book. Encourage them to use everything they have learned about reading the words, reading the pictures, and retelling the story. Challenge them to read voraciously.
CAFE Menu: If students keep a personal CAFE Menu, have them take it home to review the strategies they have learned throughout the year. Urge them to apply the menu strategies to their reading.
Access to Books: Allow students to check out a few books from your classroom library if you think they will be accountable for returning them. If you have any leftover classroom funds or points from book clubs, consider giving each child a book signed with a personalized message.
Librarian Visit: Before the end of the school year, invite a librarian to share information about storytimes and special programs at the community library. If the library offers a video about the summer reading program on its website, be sure to show it to pique student interest.
At-Home Book Boxes: During the last week of school, show a book box you have created for your at-home reading. Have students make their own at-home book boxes. Talk about the kinds of materials that you plan to read this summer. Encourage students to tell about the kinds of books and/or genres that they might like to add to their book boxes.
Class Read-Alouds: Equip students with a list of all the well-loved books you have shared throughout the school year. Readers can use this list to locate the books at the library and reread their favorites or find others by the same author.
Book Care Package: Weed your classroom library before the end of the school year and let students take books home. See if your school librarian has culled books that can be given to students.
Teacher Communication: Send students home with a few postcards that you have addressed to yourself (use your school address if you prefer). Invite them to correspond with you about their summer reading. Or announce a few times that you plan to be at the public library so that they can tell you in person.
Celebrations: Plan an end-of-the-year class party to promote summer reading. Booktalk plenty of books and distribute a list of them to your readers. Show videos of exciting book trailers; distribute a list of the titles and authors of the texts highlighted in the book talks and videos.
Begin the school year with a celebration of the books that students have read. Have students volunteer to talk about an enjoyable text that they read over the summer. Offer older students the opportunity to create book trailers for their preferred texts. On chart paper, record the titles and authors of the books shared for other interested readers.
By making a concerted effort to promote summer reading, you can ensure that your students’ reading skills will soar, not slide. When children return to school, they will be stronger readers who are ready to take on the learning of the new school year.