As the school year winds down (only five weeks left!), it is time to think about Summer Reading. We all know about the “Summer Slide”. We hear it every year. We try all kinds of activities to encourage students to read over the summer: suggested reading lists, mandatory reading requirements, incentives, summer reading programs, etc. I spend time talking about books to students to get them excited to read over the summer. I host a book fair the last week of school to get new books into students’ hands for the summer. We have librarians from the public library come in to talk about their summer reading programs. We even participate in Scholastic’s Summer Reading Challenge… Is it enough? Is it too much?
This is our fourth year participating in Scholastic’s Summer Reading Challenge, and our school goal is 200,000 minutes. Will we reach our goal? Only time and logging minutes will tell. This year the students have an added incentive (and yes, it is like dangling a carrot): Our school principal will dress up like a chicken and dance for us at our first assembly in September if we reach our goal. How am I encouraging our students to reach our goal? I registered each of our 300+ students for the summer reading challenge. Then, I took the time during library to edencourage students to set a reading goal, show them how to log in the first time, how to log their minutes, and even where to go after logging minutes to find great books and activities. Reading needs to be fun for students to want to read. There is also something to be said for the feeling of accomplishment when you reach a goal.
Sure, I talk about the summer slide to my students, but then I tell the the best reason to read this summer: It’s fun! What can you do on a rainy day? Read! Looking for a new friend? Read! Want to travel? Read! Want to learn something new? Read! Want to get smarter? Read! There are so many reasons to read and so many books to choose from. Let’s work at showing students the fun side of reading and let the smart side of reading fall into place on its own. Happy Reading!