Saturday, May 14, 2011

Summer Reading

We all know the importance of encouraging students to read over the summer. Numerous studies show that students who read regularly over the summer continue to improve their reading skills and are better prepared for learning new skills when they return to school. Summer reading nourishes the brain, giving students the benefits of an increased vocabulary and a broader background knowledge which helps them form connections with new knowledge.

Recently I was part of a discussion with several other media specialists about the best ways to promote summer reading. We discussed a variety of programs, promotions and reading lists. Our experience has taught us that the greatest factor in getting kids to read over the summer is choice. When students choose what they read based on their own personal interests and curiosities, they are more likely to open a book over the summer, enjoy it and stick with it.

Below are some tips for promoting summer reading:
  • Help students connect with the public library by forming a partnership between your school and your local public library. Encourage parents to take their children to the the public library where students may register for their own library card. Invite students to come to the media center to show you their library card and have their picture made. (See picture of "Ticket to Adventure" bulletin board below.)
  • Don't reinvent the wheel. Several bookstores and public libraries already have summer reading incentives in place. Many of these offer students a free book when they complete a reading log. Share these promotions with your school and encourage students to participate.
  • Provide book talks on a variety  of books or feature short video book trailers on your morning news show for several weeks before the last day of school. Be sure to include a variety of genres to appeal to a broad audience.
  • Encourage staff to share their own excitement about summer reading. Take pictures of staff members holding a book they plan to read this summer for a special pre-summer bulletin board. (See picture below.)
  • Keep it simple and remember: enthusiasm is contagious!
Pictures of students showing off their public library cards

Summer Reading: What are YOU reading this summer?

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