At both sites where I have worked we set-up school-wide summer reading so that students read two books. Both sites allowed for student choice for one of the titles. Choice in my mind removes some of the greatest barriers. They key is that students know how to choose a book and have it in their hands to do so. In a literacy-rich classroom, you continue to feed the readers and they are able to choose. I think, however, this choosing is a challenge for readers, who just pick something that they have read in the past to get by. More work should be done through the media specialist or in the classrooms during the last weeks of school to help kids make a thoughtful choice as they head into the summer.
The tricky part is the "required" book option. At my first school, the teachers chose 4-6 high interest required titles, appropriate for a range of readers. The problem here was that the teachers didn't read all of the required titles (a different blog post). At the school where I currently work, we have a One Book\One Grade Level as our required book. This set-up allows for students to have a common conversation and assessment. But I, however, think that we can do better in our required choices. If we are requiring a title, we should consider the following questions: Is is available in not only English, but the predominant native language of most of the students at your school? Is it available in audio format? I am not sure that we are so conscious in our choosing. Considering these questions not only begins to remove access issue for our students, but it also allows the parents of our students to be a part of this process.
How ensure access to your your program?
- Book Fair at the school site with the titles
- Flyers at freshman orientation in February & sent to feeder schools at the end of the year
- 150 copies of required titles for each grade level available in the media center for check out
- Loan sets of the summer reading books to teachers doing the summer school programs
- Flyers in the native languages of your students
- Connect-ed phone calls home to remind parents
- Signing summer reading contracts at the end of the school year
- Providing flyers in your guidance office for registration
- Providing flyers in the main office
- Connecting with your local library
- Using social media as an outlet to promote summer reading
- Connecting with your local bookstore to promote & provide titles
- Upper grade students promoting the titles to younger students
- Meeting during the summer at school or in the community to discuss the books
- Survey students about summer reading
- Have students help choose summer reading books
- Ensure that you have up-to-date information on the school website
- Check out ours here: CCHS Summer Reading 2014
What happens when you remove access issues and students still don't choose to read? I'll consider that question/barrier/challenge next week!
What are ways you ensure access to your students for summer reading?