By Donalyn Miller on April 22, 2012 9:01 AM
Reading research indicates that many children’s reading ability declines between the end of one school year and the beginning of the next. My sixth graders can tell you why this happens; they don’t usually read much over the summer. Children can offset this summer reading slump by reading as few as four or five books over the summer. I, of course, would love for kids to read more than this small number of books! The summer break is a marvelous time for readers, freed from the mandates of assigned school reading, to explore topics and books of their own interest. While it is challenging to require or monitor students’ summer reading, here are some suggestions for launching a school-wide summer reading initiative that encourages more children to read during summer break.
Provide lots of opportunities for students to recommend books. Hang recommendations on the walls in the hallways and in the library. Present book commercials over the announcements and in school newsletters. Provide student-created lists or podcasts on the school web site. Discussing books students might read over the summer sends a message that you expect them to read and gives students titles to consider.