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Literacy Tip of the Week: Week of May 3rd

posted May 3, 2015, 3:06 PM by Courtney Richardson

Give Them Books

You’ve worked hard to provide consistent guided reading lessons, especially for your struggling readers. I’m sure you’ve seen wonderful growth and acceleration. My experience, however, is that struggling readers are likely to regress one or two reading levels over the summer. Why?  It’s because they don’t read. One way to stop the summer slide is to let students select interesting books at their reading level to take home with them on the last day of school. Where can you find the books? You could have a summer book fair as described in Allington’s study of summer reading (Allington et al., 2010). You would want to include books on pop culture, a favorite topic among students. What if you don’t have the funds for a summer book fair? Then host an after-school book room party! Invite students, parents, siblings…anyone who can count to six can help. Go through your leveled bookroom and remove titles that have less than six copies. (Save the 6-copy titles for guided reading.) Place the books in tubs labeled with a reading range (A-C, D-F, G-I, J-L, M-O, P-R, S-U).  Depending on the number of books you’ve collected, give each student an opportunity to choose a book or more to take home for summer reading. Allington’s research says summer self-selected reading can produce significant effects on reading achievement. In fact, just giving kids books to read over the summer can have the same positive impact as having summer school!

Allington et al., 2010, Addressing summer reading setback among economically disadvantaged elementary students, Reading Psychology, 31:411-427.