What Do You Want to Know- Question #6

From Sara:

Will you have your students develop a summer reading plan?


In short, yes!  But I assume you want the long explanation.  Below is what I wrote last June:

I have spent the last few days working on my summer reading and writing packets.  Because my students enter middle school next year, I will not see them when September rolls around.  This makes it difficult to hold them accountable for summer work, as they know they won’t be seeing me that first day of school!  I really have to rely on intrinsic motivation.  And maybe some bribing. ;)

Last year I made a summer reading packet, which was for parents and students.  It had 2 pages about summer reading and the positive effects it has on student learning and retention.  Then I listed 3 pages of books for all types of readers, divided by grade level (3-5, 7-8, 9+).  I am planning to hand out the same packet this year, but it needs some revising.  My students this year have become voracious readers, to begin with.  The packet will be adjusted for their needs.  Also, they love reading new books, and sharing their opinions on them.  I am adding a lot of new books to my booklist, along with a page of links to sites that might interest them.  The links will be a nice mix of blogs, publisher’s websites, and places like GoodReads.

I have never given summer writing work before, but I was inspired by this post over atTwoWritingTeachers.  I am using Stacey’s packet as a template and adjusting it for my soon-to-be 7th graders.  It will be an interesting experiment to see if I get a response to the reading/writing work packet.


How did it go?  I received about 25 emails throughout the summer; students telling me about their reading and writing.  In August, I received 4 completed packets!  That’s about 10% of my students, a great percentage considering my students move to a new school after leaving me. This year, I am hoping to get back even more completed packets.  I’m working on the activity packet for this summer as we speak, so I will be sure to share it when I am done.

Along with the packet I also hand out a separate packet for parents and students to share.  This is a packet about reading and reading aloud.  It explains and/or reminds parents about the the value of reading, sharing books, and allowing students to choose their own novels.  I also include a very, very, very long list of recommended reads.  I cull these from my own reviews, SLJ, Horn Book, other bloggers, and various other sources.  I want my students to feel like they can still fall back on my booktalks and recommendations even when I am not there!  So far, it has worked great.  I’m also updating that list as we speak and I will share it when it’s done.

Hopefully this helps!