Summer reading is an important component of an overall reading program. Research shows that summer vacation often has a significant negative effect on student learning. Providing opportunities for students to read regularly during the summer can prevent documented reading achievement losses. The bottom line is that students who read during the summer do better in the fall.
A June literacy fair for students and their families is the perfect way to end the school year and get students off on the right track for the summer. In addition to standard carnival fare (face painting, games of chance, etc.), offer a variety of fun literacy-based activities!
- The cost of entrance? Ask students to bring a lightly used book as an entrance pass, to be collected on a table or display. As students leave, each person can select a book to keep from the donations.
- Hold a literary trivia contest, with new, donated books for prizes.
- Invite an author to your school for a book reading/signing event. If the author can’t attend in person, have the author Skype in to talk with the students.
- Don’t forget to invite families to your event and to include informational material.
How will you kick off the summer with reading?
Whether your summertime was leisurely, productive, or both, you’re probably joining the many children, families, and teachers making the mental and physical transition “back to school.”
As educators, one thing to be thinking about is how to keep families and caregivers in touch with students’ literacy learning throughout the school year.
What are the best ways to do this? It seems best to keep it simple. Better yet, our challenge is to show not tell as we involve families in the happenings within our schools on an ongoing basis.
Here are a few examples of educators who don’t need to tell families about the importance of the literacy learning taking place in their classrooms, because they are showing it:
- Meet first-grade teacher, Jane Fung. She makes notebooking a regular part of her instructional practices. These notebooks will become a treasured part of each child’s school career long after first grade.
- Julie Wollman, a ReadWriteThink.org and NCTE author, shows us how to get started with family message journals as a means for students to write to an authentic audience about their learning.
- Because the ways we teach writing are often quite different from the ways most of our students’ parents learned to write, it is important to think about productive ways to get families involved as strong allies for excellent writing instruction. The authors of “Inviting Parents In: Expanding Our Community Base to Support Writing” describe workshops and other methods for getting parents productively involved in their children’s literacy development.
- Watch as a parent who is in a Community of Practice with teachers shares what it means to learn, talk, and design activities as a full CoP member with teachers