Do you think students are thinking about reading as they embark on a fun-filled summer of waterparks, ice cream, texting, sleeping in and staying up late? I don’t think so! Reading a good book is not on the radar of most teenagers.
As we approach yet another summer, I can’t help but think about all those students that will forget all those skills we teachers painstakingly taught them over the school year. How can we get them to read over the summer? How can we get them to unglue their eyes from their phones and pick up a mystery or a thriller? I have a few ideas…
1. Free books….ok, so that would be hard to come by but, isn’t it a great idea? We need to put books into the hands of those kids that don’t have the money to buy a book or can’t get to the library. Let’s make it easy for them by handing them their own book. Go to Reading Rockets for a list of organizations that give students free (or significantly reduced) books.
2. Provide students a list of great books that will undoubtedly get them hooked. I spend hours looking for books that are level appropriate as well as so gosh-darn-good, my students won’t be able to put them down. Go to Success in the Middle where you will find lists of books especially for middle school (some of the dirty work is done for you).
3. Right before school gets out, when the excitement in the air is at an all time high, I like to read aloud and do some book talks. We all get comfy, I dim the lights, and I let students absorb the words of some great authors. My hopes are they will beg me to keep going and/or go get the book to finish on their own. The Caffeinated Librarian has a short but, perfect list for read alouds. My all-time favorite read aloud book was recommended by a middle school special ed. teacher. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman has never let me down. It’s suspenseful, scary, challenging, and the first chapter usually grabs even the most reluctant student. Oh, and it has some wonderful illustrations.
Happy summer and happy reading! If you have any suggestions for some great summer reads or books worthy of a classroom read aloud, let me know.