Ask any teacher, and they will tell you that the best thing a child can do over the summer is to read, read, read. Students who read over the summer not only practice all of the good decoding and comprehension strategies they have learned all school year long, they also build their vocabularies and background knowledge.
I always remind my students of the “portability” of books during the last few weeks of school. Books can be read on the beach, in the forest, in a tent, in a resort, in the car on the way to summer camp, on an airplane or train, or anywhere else they are going during summer vacation. I encourage my students to explore all these places during the summer with our summer internet scavenger hunt which you can find explained HERE. Also, if students for some reason can’t bring books with them, I give them this list of online books that they can read anywhere that they have internet.
This year, I am also going to recommend the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. Scholastic has a wonderful site set up where students can log the number of minutes that they read each day from May 5th – September 5th. There is a weekly goal for them to build up to and badges to download if they have met that goal. There are also extra challenges to allow them to download free chapters from books and enter sweepstakes to win free books. For parents, Scholastic provides suggested book lists for different age ranges. Overall, the entire site for the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is easy to use and provides a good motivation to keep kids reading all summer.
In addition to charting their reading, I also provide my students with an Online Book Report project that they create using their favorite book from their summer reading. This project gives students the freedom to pick books they like and present information about it in lots of different wasy. Last year, I had one student create an iMovie trailer for his book report while another created a Prezi with all the important information about the book.
How do you encourage your students to read over the summer?