Now that students have taken their final Reading Inventory of the year, we get to focus on the impending summer vacation! I enjoy hearing all the plans that my students have for the summer. Some will be traveling to fun places and visiting family, some already have summer jobs lined up, and some will be hanging around town swimming and being with their friends. What seems to be the furthest thing from their mind is summer reading.
During the last few weeks of school, I find it valuable to spend some time doing individual conferences with each student. We look at their Reading Inventory "Progress To College and Career Report" paying special attention to where they started, where they are, and where they need to be to graduate. It is very exciting to have these conferences with students who have bridged the gap and will be entering a grade level reading class next school year. I try to give them an idea of who their teacher will be, examples of what the work will be like, and remind them I am always here if they feel like they are struggling and need some help.
For those who are not quite ready to graduate, we discuss the magic of summer reading! As much as I love my students and look forward to having them in class again, I love even more when they come back from summer break and have been reading and their Lexile shoots up. For many students, there can be some regression when they return from the summer break and most often these students report they did no or very little purposeful reading over the summer. When students can correlate that their reading skills regress when they neglect to make reading a priority and they hear testimonials of students who grew over the summer that did read, they are ready to make reading part of their summer vacation plans.
This year we did book marks for them take home as a reminder to keep reading over the summer. I ordered some blank, multi color bookmarks to use, however you could use any paper or card stock you have available to you. The possibilities of what the students decorate them with are endless. For ours, I asked them to use the sentence frame, "My favorite book I read this year was, _____________, by __________." When they see their bookmarks I want them to be reminded of the pleasure they had reading and that their next favorite book, could be the very next one they pick up. I asked them to make their bookmarks colorful and to do whatever kind of design or drawing they wanted to do on the back side. To up the ante, I threw in a little competition and told them I would pick my favorite one from each class to give a sweet treat to. They really enjoyed this project and worked diligently on their bookmarks. I was so impressed, I ended up picking five winners instead of three!
Take a day to encourage your student's to read over the summer. In a whole group setting, we discuss what good examples of reading materials are. I also, really like to say over and over, read what you enjoy. We spend a great deal of time and effort throughout the year cultivating the enjoyment of ready, by finding out what they like to read. Many students don't realize they have the community resource of a public library and I am happy to give them information about our library and the summer programs that they have going on. Be creative because there are lots of ways to help them stay on track during the summer. You can give them reading logs, set goals with them, and even do one of my favorite things, which is make it a competition. YAY for summer vacation, and YAY for summer reading!