Summer-Reading Loss Part 1


Today marks the 4th week for students’ summer vacation.  I know there are likely students that attend my school that have still not picked up a book this summer.

Summer-Reading Loss.  Ugh!

I hate the topic.  I hate that it is a real problem.  I hate the problem solving.  I wish it would just go away!

Despite my dislike for the topic, today I began to read No More Summer-Reading Loss.  This first section is cleverly titled “I Know What You Didn’t Do Last Summer” and it was written to remind teachers of what not to do when it comes to encouraging summer reading.

Here are some great quotes from this first section:

  • For many students, reading is seen only as a school-based activity…These students perceive reading as an assignment or chore, rather than a pleasurable, leisure activity…These students are not yet independent readers, readers who can, want to, and are likely to read on their own.  They are still dependent on the daily literacy block schedule…we need to explore what we can do DURING the school year to help students work toward INDEPENDENCE as readers in the summer. p. 3
  • What happens during the summer with kids’ reading isn’t isolated from what happens during the school year.  The lack of students reading during the summer is actually a reflection of how well we have taught them to be independent readers during the school year. p. 4 (WOW!)
  • Without choice, students wait for us to tell them what to do and they enact orders rather than read. p. 8
  • Commanding students to read and holding them accountable with a list of questions may seem like a way to motivate students to read; however, it may contribute to a disdain for books. p. 10
  • Sending home worksheets and practice pages is probably one of the best ways to destroy any chance that students will pick a book over the summer. p. 12
  • If summer school is not designed in a thoughtful, informed manner, it can be just another stretch of programs and worksheets that do nothing to promote better reading habits.  As a result, students may start off the new school year even more disengaged from reading. p.13

So, what does this book state we should NOT do?

  • Read whole-class novels (forced and passive)
  • Level Texts (safe and limited)
  • Read Mostly Fiction (limited)
  • Teach Isolated Skills (static and stale)
  • Booklists (Don’t take the reader into account)
  • Answering Questions (limits thinking)
  • Assume Access to Books

My next two Blog post will be reflections from sections 2 and 3 of this text.  Section 2 will share what 30 years of research teaches us about this topic.  Section 3 will share what we SHOULD do to promote summer reading growth!





One thought on “Summer-Reading Loss Part 1

  1. Laura B says:

    I am interested to hear if this book has suggestions for what to do in place of the 20 minutes of reading I assign each night. I feel like it’s a pretty ineffective assignment and I want to change it. I think the kids that already read either were going to or might do their assigned 20 minutes (think prison sentence) because they are supposed to. But the kids I need to reach are not reading just because I put it on the homework board, or their parent force them and that is more damaging than beneficial. I need a new idea… I would like to engage them (with me or each other) to discuss their nightly reading in some authentically meaningful way. I feel like that’s a start, but I need even more of a fresh start with my reading homework.


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