Summer-Reading Loss Part 3

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The goal of the last section of No More Summer-Reading Loss is to “offer a variety of practices that instill the habits of avid readers in your students – strong habits that can compete with other influences of summer.”

The authors suggest we:

  1. Foster Habits of Independence During the School Year
    • Build independent reading stamina
    • Teach students strategies of what to do at difficulty
    • Share with students what YOU are reading
    • Expose students to a variety of genres
    • Encourage series reading
    • Encourage students to identify personal knowledge goals
    • Allow choice in what students read
    • Provide time to talk about books they have read
    • Explicitly connect for students school practices to summer reading
  2.   Hold a Spring Time Review
    • Review what has been read in class
    • Help students identify interests
    • Help students find partners with similar interests
    • Help students set summer reading goals
  3. Put Books in Students’ Hands
    • Ask PTA for funds
    • Host a book fair and take advantage of book deals
    • Ask businesses for support (Book drives)
    • Ask professional organizations for support (grant writing)
      • One very interesting project discussed in this chapter was a grant funded program called “You Got Mail.”  It began with a launch party to explain to parents the project and get everyone excited.  Then in July and August students got packages with 3 books in them.  The books were chosen based on student interests.  Handwritten notes and a small journals were placed in the packages too.  In the Fall a family celebration was held and time was provided for students to share the books they read over the summer.
    • Partner with your local library
    • Collect Books from Book Depositories
    • Invite guest readers to share and donate favorite books (former students or senior citizens)
    • Ask for help from the web:
    • E-readers can be uploaded with books and sent home for the summer.
    • iPods can be uploaded with audiobooks and sent home (with a paper copy of text)
    • Theme based book bags can be created with a journal inside to record thoughts
    • Hold a “Books for Breakfast” during the summer
  4. Promote Talking About Books
    • Book Sharing – spend the last day partnering students up with students from another class and giving them time to talk about books
    • Student Blogs – Maintain classroom Blog during the summer.  Teachers are the moderators and can ask questions to help propel the discussion
    • Set up ePals
    • Have students follow Blogs:
    • Set up Book Clubs during the school year
    • Give postcards to students to mail back to the school over the summer with thoughts about books
    • Recommendation Notebooks – students write the title, author, genre, highlights, and recommendations and then post them around the school at the beginning of the school year
    • Write to authors

Here is a final quote to remember from this text:

“If, during the school year, students can learn that reading is joyful, that it can be a tool to express and develop their identity and something that they can get better at, then they’ll keep doing it during the summer.” (p. 47)

I like the message of this book – a teacher’s goal is to help create and foster INDEPENDENT readers and this is done DURING the school year.  Then once this identity is created our students will begin to soar.  I also like that this book did not say the answer to preventing summer-reading loss is to have teachers work during the summer too!

I felt this text supported decisions we have made at my school but did not give me many new ideas to try.  For the past two years the reading teachers at my school have invited students they served to come visit the reading cabin during one of the lasts days of school.  On this day the cabin is piled with beautiful new books.  We separate the books into genres and lay them out in different sections (nonfiction, easy fiction, and chapter books).  We then walk students throughout the cabin and give short little book talks.  Students are allowed to pick and keep 2-4 books our only condition is that they have to really want to read the books if they pick them.  It was nice to see this practice was supported in this text.  In the future I would love to add a postcard component to this practice.

I am going to end with a quote from Albert Einstein that was put at the beginning of this last section: “Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them.” Let’s be geniuses in PREVENTING summer-reading loss!

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