10 Big Ideas for Kicking Off Summer Reading with a Bang!

May 1, 2017

By Shannon McClintock Miller

With the end of the school year here, we are all thinking about summer reading and how we will engage our students and families to continue reading and stay academically active throughout the summer months. This is essential and extremely important to the ongoing academic success of our students.

© Alex Ragone

According to the article Statistics on Summer Reading from Bright Hub Education…

  • Students experience significant learning loss when they do not participate in educational activities during the summer months. Research shows that students on average score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer than they do on the same tests at the end of the school year.
  • Reading just 4-5 books during the summer can prevent a decline in a child’s fall reading scores.
  • Summer reading loss is cumulative, these children do not typically catch up in the fall. Their peers are progressing with their skills while they are making up for the summer learning loss. By the end of 6th grade, children who lose reading skills during the summer are on average 2 years behind their peers.

With these statistics and what we know about summer reading, let’s kick this one off with a bang with 10 big ideas for summer reading!

  1. Work with your teachers to develop a summer reading program for your students. Collaboration will help with the success of your program.  
  2. Let your students check out as many library books as they want over the summer. I even got bags donated from publisher friends for my students to use.   
  3. Keep your school library open throughout the summer. We set up a summer library schedule before the end of the school year to share with our students and families.  
  4. Set up a summer reading program newsletter to share with families and students… and post around school and throughout your community. This can be on paper or also shared digitally with a tool such as Buncee.  
  5. Post summer reading news, tips, and events on your school library Facebook page.
  6. Games, scavenger hunts, reading puzzles, and art projects are a terrific way to get your students excited about reading in the summer. Check out this Fun Summer Reading Ideas Pinterest Board for lots of ideas!
  7. Introduce Biblionasium to your students for summer reading. They can keep track of what they reading, recommend books to friends, and write reviews using Biblionasium. My students participated in a Summer Reading Challenge that we set up in Biblionasium and it was so much fun for them as they celebrate their reading successes.
  8. Post pictures of books and eBooks to read on your school library Instagram. Encourage your students to post pictures of themselves reading too!
  9. Remind your students and families about the digital resources you have in your library collections… eBooks in Capstone Interactive, PebbleGo, Cantata Learning stories and songs—these are all ways to continue encouraging reading all summer long.
  10. Partner with your public library to make your summer reading program even better… and to participate in the summer reading programs they offer too. In our community, we partnered with our public library to develop a summer reading program together. At the end of the summer, we hosted a wonderful reading event at the public library and invited all of our students, families, and other members of the community.

© Bethany Petrik