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NYC Helpline: How To: Work with Students' Families

Summer Reading 
by Linda Mandracchia

Did you know that over the summer, your students might go down a level or two in reading?  Well, it’s true unless you and their families encourage them to read over the summer.  Here are three suggestions of ways to get your students to read over the summer and include families as your partner in those efforts.

First, create a reading log for your students with the title, author and space to write a little about the book and a space for parents to sign.  Tell your students that they must read and log at least two books over the summer which will count towards their 25 books read during the school year.  Try to have next year’s teachers on board with that and to hold them accountable to checking their new students reading over the summer.  Do not forget to include a short note to the families so they will push their children to read over the summer.

Next, involving your community partners is always helpful.  One of our partners is Barnes and Noble bookstores.  Each summer they have their own reading logs printed up.  Children are encouraged to complete the log and hand it in to Barnes and Noble to receive a free book once the log is completed.  I did this when my children were young, and the following year I went to Barnes and Noble and told them I was a teacher.  I asked them for a class set of logs which they graciously  gave me and I handed them out the last day of school, again with a brief note to the families.

Another partner of ours, especially during the summer, is the public library.  Make a visit to the local library that is near your school.  You will be surprised how many kids do not use this valuable resource at all.  Get the brochures that recommend books for the next grade for your class.  Also, ask them what events they have during the summer.  Very often there are read alouds, puppet shows, arts and crafts, movies and other events.  Then find out which day of the week they have their RIF- Reading is Fundamental session.  In that program, kids can sign up and usually receive some free sign up gift.  Then every time they go to the library, they tell the librarian their name and they check off that they have visited and read on their own card.  I think every time they go they get some free gift and when they have gone several times, they get to choose a free book (check with your local library for their incentive program, each are mostly likely different). I also have seen good prizes that are raffled off.  Some of those could include tickets to Mets or Yankee games, Brooklyn Cyclone games and other great stuff.  Now if that is not incentive to have your students keep reading over the summer, I don’t know what is!

So write a short letter to your families telling them about all these great ideas to keep your students reading and then in September go to next year’s teacher and check on their reading levels.  You will know who really did read and who didn’t.  Let’s keep them reading!

See also:

Fun and Learning Summer Experiences by Carolyn Hornik

Creating Summer Math Tool Kits by Sarah Picard



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