3 Ways to Promote Summer Reading
The dreaded summer slide is what all teachers hope our students can avoid during these lazy days of summer! As librarians, one of the ways we can help our students is by engaging with them over the summer months; encouraging them to read and share their recommendations or reviews. Here are three of the things I do to help promote summer reading with my students.
1. Connect with your local library
I love this community connection! Each year I partner with our local librarians and have them come and present to all of our students during ILA classes. The planning starts in April with a few emails with the librarians and we work out a date and schedule. I also go over some of the popular titles we have in our library and discuss possible options for read-a-likes they could bring to book talk. As we get closer to the visit date, I send a copy of the schedule for the day and review any specific technology requests that the librarians may have for presenting.
Each of the presentations are approximately 40 minutes long and during that time, they cover the resources the public library has available to children and teens, the summer reading program and book talk new titles of interest for each of the grade levels. Students walk away with a bookmark containing information about the reading program as well as applications to be helpers for those who are interested.
This has been an ongoing partnership for our library, and it is a great way to remind students about the amazing resources our public library provides, as well as help our students get to know the librarians, so when they visit, they see a familiar face.
2. Build a summer reading list or reading challenge
Another way I promote summer reading with my middle school students is to run a summer reading challenge. During the last two weeks of school, I send out flyers to ILA teachers and hand them out to my library homeroom regulars. I did not have a chance to do it this year, but next year I plan to create a video to go along with the classroom flyers. The ultimate goal is to have students read one book from each of six categories as a part of the summer reading challenge.
This year the categories are:
The flyer students receive contains the list as well as space for them to record the titles of the books the chose to read as a part of the challenge. As they add a title to the handout, they are slowly filling their jar with books to track their progress.
3. Engage with students via social media
The second part of the summer reading challenge is to engage on social media. I do this primarily though our school library Instagram page (@hdmslibrary), which has student followers. I post pictures and reminders throughout the school year and during the summer I highlight what I am reading and use the stories feature to book talk any books that I thought really stood out from my own summer reading list. I also am planning to use the polling feature to encourage engagement with students directly. I am hoping students will be confident in sharing the books they are reading and will track their progress with the challenge as well. This will hopefully also encourage other students to participate.
You can follow along with our progress and the program @hdmslibrary on Instagram! Happy Summer Reading!
You can download a FREE copy of the summer reading challenge handout I created for students HERE!
How are you encouraging students to read over the summer months?
Hi! I'm Sarah, a school librarian and former middle school English teacher. I empower school librarians to use branding and marketing skills in order to build culture, get visible and advocate for their library.