Here’s How To Make Summer Reading Fun!

This summer I’ve been experiencing the perfect synergy of work (I’m teaching a middle school, small-group reading enrichment class), professional development (I’m completing the final two classes required to receive my New York State advanced certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, aka TESOL), and play (I’m in Manhattan just about every weekday and on the weekends I’m relaxing poolside). This is only my first week of this schedule, but thus far I can honestly say that this, my friends, is living — teacher style!

Every day I take the subway into Manhattan. Yesterday I noticed the sign featured above at a station and it made me smile. Inviting New Yorkers to read is one thing. Providing a free resource of online books that they can access while riding our city’s extensive subway system just took reading to another level! Way to go Big Apple! I’m prouder than ever to be a New Yorker given this newfound knowledge!

I not only constantly tell my students to read but also put some action behind my talking by providing them with their own monthly magazines to read in class, at home, on the train — wherever. Last year at this time I remember learning that the New York Public Library has over 300,000 books available for free download. There is absolutely so reason for New Yorkers to not be reading during the summer —  and every season, for that matter!

I’ve heard my students say that as much as their parents may encourage them to “read a book,” they never actually take them to the library or the bookstore. It’s vital that our students practice the skills they learned throughout the school year. The best way to retain those skills is by reading. According to this article in ReadSmart,

While fun and relaxation are important in the summer, parents shouldn’t neglect to focus on their kids’ reading skills. Without an element of active education, the summer break has the potential of setting back some of the progress your kids have made during the school year. In fact, some studies indicate that students can lose between one and three months of learning over the course of the summer.

Reading must be a fun, enjoyable activity — not a punishment. The days of “go read a book” should be replaced with summer reading parties and playdates at the library. In between trips to the pool and the beach, coupled with lazy days at home playing video games and watching movies, it is imperative that we show our students who are home for the summer that reading has a vital place in their lives.

To help spur you along, here are two FREE apps (we know how much kids love technology!) and a short description of each that students of all ages can use to get some much needed reading in over the summer vacation.

Puppet Pals (FREE)

Allows students to collaborate and make stories to create concepts that exemplify their Learning about a particular topic. Students can write out their answers/ideas, speak them, and create character voiceovers with them. Good for all content areas.

Toontastic (FREE)

Students create every aspect of an original or retold story in a digital format that includes art and music. Excellent for teaching kids how to follow the plot arc when writing a story or when identifying them in a story they read. App can also be used to teach an assess all elements of the writing process. Can be used in all content areas.

I hope this info proves useful! Have a great, well-read summer vacation everyone! #ReadToSucceed!

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