Library Love – Access to reading materials is one of the most important ways we can make sure our students are reading. If they don’t have books, they can’t read them…pretty simple, right? Even after all these years, I am always surprised at how many of my students do not have library cards!
A couple of years ago my team started organizing a field trip to our local library during the last month of school. We pick up the paperwork & send it home ahead of time, so anyone who does not have a library card is able to get one that day. We take a tour and learn about the children’s section, how the books are organized, what special programs are offered etc. Our library has a beautiful children’s section with computers, puzzles and magazines. They have weekly story-time and lots of puppet shows, crafts and special events…and it is all FREE. We make sure that the students get to see and experience it all during our field trip and then we send a summer schedule of events home with them that day. I am always so happy to see many of my students when I take my own children to the special events during the summer!
Summer Reading Challenges – Summer reading challenges are a great motivator for some students! I do a quick Google search each spring to find out what reading challenges are being offered in our area and I send the information home with my students.
Our school district always has some kind of reading challenge. In addition, most public libraries seem to have reading challenges as well. I live in Tampa Bay and there is a great program here where the major league baseball team sponsors Reading with the Rays. I am sure you can find a program in your area with a quick search.
High Interest Reading Choices – I always make sure to talk to my students about all the different, fun reading options available to them. I also make sure to send something home to remind parents about the value of reading a variety of high interest materials. (Be sure to check out the FREEBIE at the end of this post!)
I find some parents need to be reminded about the value of things like magazines and comic books. These are great ways to keep our students excited about reading and often these are the materials they will read over and over again…which is fabulous for fluency!
Sneak in Reading Anywhere You Can! I always give parents (and students!) ideas for ways they can sneak reading into their everyday summer activities. Some of my favorite ways are:
- Cooking together & having the child read the recipe and/or directions
- Having the child be the “tour guide” at amusement parks, zoos & museums this summer- letting the child read the map and exhibit descriptions
- Keeping the closed captioning on the television for the summer – **This is my FAVORITE** – I kept the closed captioning on my tv for years while my twins were preschoolers and learning to read.
- Have students read signs and directions when traveling- environmental print is such an easy, natural way to practice reading skills
Find Little Ways to Make it Special – It doesn’t take much to make a moment special for young children. Encourage your students and their parents to make some of those special moments reading centered! Some of my favorite ideas include:
- Setting up a tent to use as a special reading place
- Reading in the dark with a flashlight
- Building a “reading fort”
- Dressing up as a favorite character before reading a book about him/her
I hope this post gives you some good ideas to send your students off with this summer! I created this FREE resource to help you share these ideas (and a few more!) with the families of your students. I hope this will give you one less thing to do during this CRAZY time of the year! And I especially hope this will help to ensure that your students spend their summer cozied up (or cooling off!) with a good book!
Keep Learning Playful!
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