First and foremost, remember “Readers Just Want to Have Fun“! As this short article from Voices from the Middle asks, “When was the last time you finished a book and thought, ‘Gosh, I can’t wait to take a test on this!’ or ‘This book would sure be great to write an essay on!'” Focus on fun by emphasizing sharing and discussion in response to summer reading.
Involve families and students’ extended circle of friends in the conversation. The School Talk issue “Creating Readers: Talking about Books in Multilingual Classrooms” includes some great suggestions and stories.
As the title of this English Journal article suggests, “Fifty Alternatives to the Book Report” offers a number (50 to be precise) of ways to engage students in talking, thinking, and writing about books they read over the summer, or any time.
Tap 21st century literacy tools to build discussion of great summer reads. The English Journal article “Finding a Voice in a Threaded Discussion Group: Talking about Literature Online” explains how these forums increase participation from all students, encourage reflection and critical thinking, and lend themselves to more interactive conversations.
Connect out-of-school reading practices to academic reading strategies. The College English article “Texts of Our Institutional Lives: Studying the ‘Reading Transition’ from High School to College: What Are Our Students Reading and Why?” asserts that, contrary to common belief, students are reading quite a bit, at least at one university, although they are not spending much time on materials assigned in their courses. The more teachers connect this out-of-school reading to the reading in the classroom, the stronger and more engaged they will find students to be.
Also check out these lessons from ReadWriteThink.org: Book Report Alternative: Creating a New Book Cover, Book Report Alternative: A Character’s Letter to the Editor, and So What Do You Think? Writing a Review!
How do you plan to address the summer reading list when class is back in session?