Tag Archives: summer reading

Teachers Reading in the Summer

SummerReadingThis week marks the first day of Summer 2016! It’s true that many educators assign reading to their students over the summer. We also know that educators themselves have some books they want to read this summer. The following resources from NCTE provide some suggestions for summer reading for educators.

The author of “Summer Reading: A Reflection” recounts her family’s summer reading which gave her a chance to talk with her children about books and, ultimately, about life.

This Teacher to Teacher column invited teachers to respond to the question, “What Work of Adult Fiction or Nonfiction Do You Recommend to Other Teachers for Summer Reading?

Reading for Fun” includes three teachers’ reflections on their personal reading lives and the reading instruction they provide to students.

For several years the editor of “TYCA to You” compiled annual summer reading lists. The editor states that the reading suggestions “span time and content in ways only voracious readers can.”

A study investigated the relationships between five junior high school teachers’ personal approaches to literature and their teaching of literature in “Teachers Reading/Readers Teaching: Five Teachers’ Personal Approaches to Literature and Their Teaching of Literature“.

When adults and teens read the same book, that shared experience can spark important conversations that might not happen otherwise. Tune in to hear about eight novels that all focus in some way on teens and their complicated relationships with family members, peers, and the larger world.

We here at NCTE pose these questions to you: What is on YOUR reading list this summer? Why? What titles are you recommending to others?

June #nctechat preview: Books That Changed My Life

June #nctechat

We hope you’ll join us on Twitter Sunday June 19 at 8 PM ET for #nctechat: Books That Changed My Life.  Read more about the inspiration for the chat from this post earlier in June.

Here is a preview of the questions to guide the chat:

  • Tell us about the book(s) that changed your life.
  • How did you discover that life changing book?
  • Is there a book you can pinpoint that turned you into a reader?
  • Have you ever given someone else a book that changed them?
  • Was there ever a book you assigned as a teacher or read as a student that changed a whole class?
  • What are some life-changing books you’ve heard other people talk about that you haven’t had an opportunity to read yet? (Perhaps a summer reading goal?)

What Books Have Changed Your Life?

June #nctechatLast year during Independent Bookstore Day, a local bookstore in Ann Arbor where I live set up a photo booth and asked patrons to take a picture with a “Book That Changed My Life.” I didn’t actually participate in this photo booth experience because I didn’t know about it until I read the store’s blog post about it afterwards, but even with the ephemeral nature of the Internet and social media, that idea has continued to stick with me all these months later. What books have changed my life? My colleagues’ lives? And more importantly, my students’ lives?

When I was tasked with the job of planning this month’s #nctechat to revolve around summer reading, I thought about how we could use this as an opportunity to remind educational stakeholders that reading can be more than just for learning and for leisure. The right book in the right hands at the right time can be a life-transforming experience.

But so often students are presented summer reading as a job. An assignment. A way to extend the school year and turn it into yet another dreaded task to carry out with as little joy as possible. And in our effort to prevent the “summer slide” we lose sight of those other reasons for which we read: not just to learn, but to find joy and be transformed.

On Sunday June 19 at 8 PM ET, we invite you to join our #nctechat on Twitter to discuss all those life-changing books and writers in your life. But let’s also extend this conversation to the people who matter the most: our students. Invite any and all stakeholders to be a part of the discussion: students, parents, colleagues, and even the authors of the life-changing books themselves. By the end of this month’s chat, we hope you will be reminded not just of those books that changed your life, but how you can help your students find their own path to life-changing reading experiences.

Questions for the chat:

  1. Let’s begin by introducing ourselves. Are you here to share your love of reading as a teacher, student, parent, author?
  2. Let’s get to what we’re here for: Tell us about the book(s) that changed your life.
  3. How did you discover that life changing book?
  4. Is there a book you can pinpoint that turned you into a reader?
  5. Have you ever given someone else a book that changed them?
  6. Was there ever a book you assigned as a teacher or read as a student that changed a whole class?
  7. What are some life-changing books you’ve heard other people talk about that you haven’t had an opportunity to read yet? (Perhaps a summer reading goal?)


Plan Now for Summer Reading

GetCaughtMay is Get Caught Reading Month, and it’s time to start making your plans to encourage students to keep reading once classes are over. Try these resources to get your students involved in independent reading all summer long.

Check out the Summer Reading Calendar Entry from ReadWriteThink.org for links to activities and resources to share with families.

Introduce book clubs to your students now with the ReadWriteThink.org lesson plan “Book Clubs: Reading for Fun” – then encourage your students to meet and read during the summer months. For a take on book clubs with older students, check out “Watch Out, Oprah! A Book Club Assignment for Literature Courses” from Teaching English in the Two-Year College. If face-to-face meetings aren’t possible, suggest online discussions of the books students read.

Prepare for summer reading by asking your students to investigate the reading process with the ReadWriteThink.org lesson “Developing a Living Definition of Reading in the Elementary Classroom” or the lesson “Developing a Definition of Reading through Analysis in Middle School“. Using the strategies in the lessons, challenge students not only to define summer reading but also to finish the lesson with at least one new title or genre they’ll read during the summer months.

To structure independent reading and support summer reading, have students complete a reading plan, a simple wish list of books they hope to read in the future. The ReadWriteThink.org lesson “Developing Reading Plans to Support Independent Reading” invites students to reflect on the texts that they have read and then compile lists of books they want to read next.

Catch students’ interest by listening to the podcast episodes “Summer Adventures” and “Summer Series“. During your last weeks of school, promote summer reading by inviting students to create brochures and flyers that suggest books and genres to explore during the summer months with the ReadWriteThink.org lesson “Authentic Persuasive Writing to Promote Real Summer Reading“.

For titles to share with students (or read yourself), take a look at the podcast series Text Messages which provides families, educators, out-of-school practitioners, and tutors reading recommendations they can pass along to teen readers.

Even college students can be encouraged to read when classes end. Encourage students to consider the wide range of texts around them with the Teaching English in the Two-Year College article “Too Many Other Enticing ‘Texts’: On Why I Didn’t Read Last Night“.

For more ideas for summer reading, see the “Summer Reading and Learning” Teaching Resource Collection, which includes links to additional articles, lesson plans, and other resources.


Connecting to Summer Reading This Fall

book_pileIt’s important to connect to the momentum of summer reading once students return to the classroom in the fall. These resources from NCTE and ReadWriteThink.org can help you get started.

First and foremost, remember “Readers Just Want to Have Fun“! As this short article from Voices from the Middle asks, “When was the last time you finished a book and thought, ‘Gosh, I can’t wait to take a test on this!’ or ‘This book would sure be great to write an essay on!'” Focus on fun by emphasizing sharing and discussion in response to summer reading.

Involve families and students’ extended circle of friends in the conversation. The School Talk issue “Creating Readers: Talking about Books in Multilingual Classrooms” includes some great suggestions and stories.

As the title of this English Journal article suggests, “Fifty Alternatives to the Book Report” offers a number (50 to be precise) of ways to engage students in talking, thinking, and writing about books they read over the summer, or any time.

Tap 21st century literacy tools to build discussion of great summer reads. The English Journal article “Finding a Voice in a Threaded Discussion Group: Talking about Literature Online” explains how these forums increase participation from all students, encourage reflection and critical thinking, and lend themselves to more interactive conversations.

Connect out-of-school reading practices to academic reading strategies. The College English article “Texts of Our Institutional Lives: Studying the ‘Reading Transition’ from High School to College: What Are Our Students Reading and Why?” asserts that, contrary to common belief, students are reading quite a bit, at least at one university, although they are not spending much time on materials assigned in their courses. The more teachers connect this out-of-school reading to the reading in the classroom, the stronger and more engaged they will find students to be.

Also check out these lessons from ReadWriteThink.org: Book Report Alternative: Creating a New Book Cover, Book Report Alternative: A Character’s Letter to the Editor, and So What Do You Think? Writing a Review!

How do you plan to address the summer reading list when class is back in session?