Monday, April 15, 2013

Summer Reading 2013

My mind is on summer reading because I'll be on maternity leave soon and I want everything lined up and ready.
Kristen, Monique and I are still issuing the Million Page Challenge to our students so they will be using reading logs to keep up with the number of pages read over the summer break. This year I added an additional layer for our faculty with a challenge to read 25 books from award lists.
Our rising 8th grade ELA honors students have a summer reading assignment. They have to read two books from a list of recommended titles. I was very excited that I was able to convince/beg/cajole the 8th grade teachers to modify the list. I took their previous list and looked up the Lexile level, and indicated genre and the gender of the main character for each title (F/M). I gave them more recently published options in the same genre and tried to stay near the same Lexile range and ensure that I gave them books with main characters of both gender.

The underlined titles were the titles on the previous list. The * books were my personal favorites. In the end they decided to remove Jellicoe Road, Finn and Paper Towns from the list and add The Running Dream, The Giver and This Dark Endeavor. They didn't change as much as I wanted, but I'm happy that they at least considered some of my suggestions.

Another summer reading project I am excited about is a grant from our district office to fund summer reading purchases for our neediest students. All of the librarians in the district received the good news that there would be funds available for us to purchase $30 worth of summer reading books for our students on the McKinney Vento list. If you are not familiar with McKinney Vento, you can read about it here. At my school the list consisted of 16 students. Then we received additional good news that there was enough money to pay for 10 more low income students. I should have enough money from fundraisers to add more  to the $30. Thanks to Follett we have reusable bags to put the books in. My plan is to have these students complete a wish list this week when the book fair arrives. I'll take their wish list and purchase as many of the titles as I can, pack the books in the bags for each student and before school ends I'm going to make a quick visit back to school to pass them out. I can't wait to see the kids reactions!

Every year I have a summer reading visit with my students and the rising 5th graders. This year those visits will fall within my maternity leave, but I have a plan. I'm going to record a video from home sharing all the summer reading details and have my substitute or the ELA teachers play the video for the kids. I already have the forms ready to share and I created a playlist of book trailers that the teachers can show to get the students excited about reading. You can see the playlist here.

I would love to hear about your summer reading plans.


  1. Tamara - I realize this is an old post and you are also on maternity leave. However, I wanted to let you know that from reading your posts last year regarding summer reading and low-income families combined with research from Richard Allington, I was able to write a couple grants and start a book mobile program. I will be following our mobile lunch program that delivers sack lunches to low income neighborhoods over the summer. We have a van full of books for kids to have... new books, old books, and everything in between. Kids can keep the books and/or trade them in the next week (they are not library books). Thank you for the motivation behind this! I appreciate your sharing aloud on your blog!

    1. You made my day! Your program sounds wonderful! I'm really hoping to do something like that next year. I go back to school for one afternoon this week to hand out summer books to our kids. I can't wait. That is the only thing that would tear me away from my newborn for a few hours.