Do you have plans this Summer?

During a recent conversation with reading guru Donalynn Miller I came back with the need to plan for our school’s summer reading program.  I researched blogs, strategies, and books that would guide me in crafting a magical experience for our little ones while they are on break.  The more and more I read, I questioned if we are the primary reason students don’t read during the summer months. Have we possibly been sending a message that reading is only connected to school and as a result students are not excited to continue reading during the summer months? Are we packing books before school lets out without asking students if they have books at home to read during the summer?

If your school calendar is like mine, you probably wrapped up your Spring Break.  However, Summer is around the corner and we must have a plan: A strong plan. As you look forward to your summer break I hope you consider some of the things I learned during my research (and others that I plan to do)

  1. Host a trading books’ week- Students bring old books and exchange them before they leave.  This will get them excited about reading text they are interested in.
  2. Forget reading levels or reading lists- Do we want them to read for fun or force them to read what we want?  This is where the magic fades.  Imagine if your principal forced you to read 25 essays during the summer break.  How excited would you be to come back?
  3. Schedule yourself to meet students at the local library or pool for story time- I have done this in the past and students are excited to come have Ms. Colon read to them.  It is a great way to build relationships and connections with students. Additionally, you can connect with their parents and meet any new students scheduled to come to your school.
  4. Host Facebook Live story times- A lot of my #principalsinactions colleagues have done this in the past.  Promote the story time and watch your families join live.
  5. Host an end of the year BOGO book fair- If you have partnered with Scholastic, I
    highly encourage you to take advantage of this great opportunity.  Send your students with at least 2 books to read during the summer. They are affordable and very popular with students.
  6. Open your school library for reading time.- While the local library has many resources, some students cannot drive there without an adult.  If you work in a community school this means that they can walk to your school library to read.
  7. Send postcards to promote reading- Share your reading life with your students.  This will be a gentle reminder that you too are reading during the summer months.  Modeling what we expect is extremely important.
  8. Do not count the days until the end of school.- While many are excited about great vacations and time off, this is a sad time for many students.  Their eating routines will change due to lack of resources. Some will have to leave to places they are not looking forward to go to…and others will have no escape from toxic environments. Instead, promote looking forward to the next school year, getting them excited about the wonderful things they will learn.

In order to prevent summer reading loss we must start fostering strong reading habits now. We can’t delegate this task to librarians or parents. Let’s work together to ensure ALL students are excited about reading.   Let’s make the summer months magical ones where students cannot wait to come back in the fall!

Lead with Magic,

Lynn

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