Tips, Titles and Tools for Teachers

Instructional Resources to Encourage Summer Reading

I know how busy you all are, but hopefully you will take a minute to check out the ideas I have been collecting for ways to wrap up your reading workshop at the end of the year. Many of the recommendations are connected to encouraging your students to READ this summer! How can we do this? I've found a few ways that may help prevent the "summer slide". I know that many of you are planning to walk your class to the Public Library before the end of the year. That's a great idea that I think should be an annual tradition! Another idea is to have your students write short persuasive book reviews. If you are interested, I have the materials and would love to help!

Happy reading!


Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

What is the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge?

It's a free online/mobile reading program dedicated to stopping the “Summer Slide” and encouraging kids to read every day this summer. Now in its ninth year, the Summer Reading Challenge invites kids to log the minutes they spend reading as they strive to set a new world record for summer reading.

As they reach reading milestones every week, kids will unlock new, original short stories from 13 of their favorite Scholastic authors. Each author begins with the same story starter: "I glanced over my shoulder to make sure that no one followed me into the library, then took a deep breath and opened the glowing book..." Kids can read stories and hear them narrated.

Here is the link to sign up your students, if you want to explore this program!

You can check out this fact sheet from Scholastic about Summer Reading. It's not surprising that children who read four or more books over the summer fare better on reading comprehension tests in the fall than their peers who read one or no books. The Scholastic Reading Challenge may be a good incentive for some students!

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Here is a list of Scholastic's 50 Best Books of Summer if you are looking to add to your collection!

Tips to Launch Summer Reading

This blog post from Booksource has some excellent ideas of simple things you can do to encourage your students to read this summer!

My favorite literacy ideas come from Franki Sibberson. Here is one of her blog posts from Choice Literacy on how she prepares her students for summer reading! Another Choice Literacy post included suggestions from teachers around the country.

Persuasive Book Reviews

You can encourage your students plan for summer reading by writing persuasive book reviews. In the past, I asked each student to select a book that they read and loved during the school year. It could be a book you read aloud, a text from a reading group or an independent reading book selection. After brainstorming a few favorite books from the year, each reader used a decision matrix from the Reasoning Process training to select his or her favorite book. (See the picture below.)

Students used a persuasive graphic organizer to plan reasons why others should read the book they selected. I shared a number of book reviews from and other websites to show students a model of how to "sell" or persuade someone to check out their favorite book. Spaghetti Book Club is a website with short book reviews for kids, by kids. I've used a few samples from this site in the past as models for my students. You can have students create a brochure, newsletter on Pages or a poster to go with their book review. (I've included a photograph of a sample book review from one of my students.) It's a great opportunity to have students practice persuasive writing with a clear purpose, as well as providing them with an opportunity to share their review with the class. Students tend to value the recommendations of their friends! If you are looking for a short piece of writing this spring or a way to encourage your students to read this summer, I am happy to share my materials and collaborate with you to launch this project!

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Using Sentence Frames in Writing

I found this great two minute video on the Teaching Channel for using sentence frames to have students sharing their thinking related to a text or topic.

There are many ways that you can incorporate sentence stems in your classroom! One way you could try this instructional strategy out this spring is with your read aloud book to see how students may respond orally or in writing to your sentence stem!

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Shelly Moody

Instructional Coach

Williams Elementary School

Grades 3-5