Greetings, teacher friends! It has been about two full weeks since the last day of school. I am refreshed, motivated, and inspired to plan for another exciting school year ahead of me. If you follow my Instagram account, you are fully aware that I will be transitioning from middle school science to middle school literacy, FINALLY. Despite my desire to teach reading four years ago, I am kind of sad that I will only be teaching one section of science. I finally feel comfortable with my curriculum, invested in loads of professional reads to develop my craft, and have an amazing STEM professional development opportunity this summer. I’m not being a downer. I’m ecstatic for the new opportunity and I’m ready to integrate lots of science non-fiction to support the science curriculum! (What I already do!)
Despite our well deserve three months of summer vacation, the reality is our students fall victim to the summer slide once they head out for vacay. My phrasing sounds dramatic, but many of my students do not engage in summer enrichment/learning/reading due to a variety of circumstances. In efforts to encourage summer reading, I created a reading challenge for my students to engage them in reading and writing over summer vacation. By no means did I reinvent the wheel for this challenge, I simply encouraged students to use the resources we have used all school year to win cool prizes.
1. Register class for Scholastic’s summer reading campaign, Read Under the Stars. ‘Read Under the Stars’ allows students to log the number of minutes and books they have read on their personal Scholastic dashboard. As students record minutes read, they will unlock challenges, earn badges, and learn fun facts relating to the theme of the summer. All you have to do is type in each of your students’ names and the website will automatically generate your student a unique user name and password. Scholastic provides summer letters for various points in the summer, reading lists, and certificates. It is never too late to sign up! Post the link on your classroom page, send emails to your student’s parents, or mail post cards home to get your students reading! http://www.scholastic.com/ups/campaigns/src-2014/kids
2. Create “reading” end of the year gifts. My kids know I love books and that I love giving useful academic gifts. I am a stickler about giving students junk food as extrinsic motivation especially when 75% of their daily calories are consumed in school, but I caved for the sake of summer vacation because I wanted to create a summer reading snack that fits the ‘Read Under the Stars’ theme.
Also, I came across a couple sweet sales on Scholastic.com and in the book club catalogs. All of the books pictured below were only $1 each. Students got to select a book of their choice to read with their s’more kit.
3. Create classroom challenge with college themed prizes. Challenge 1 requires students to use kidblog.org to blog about what they are reading. For every three entries, students will earn 1 raffle ticket. Challenge 2 requires students to complete a stellar book report for something that was read. Examples of stellar book reports are on the second page and rubric was provided on my classroom website. Students who complete a book report earn 3 raffle tickets. Lastly, Challenge 3 requires students to log in to TeenBiz 3000 or NewsEla and complete non-fiction comprehension activities with 88% mastery or higher. For every three articles completed, students will earn a raffle ticket. Prizes include Illini sports equipment, rug, and an iPod shuffle.
4. Share your summer reading with your students and praise participants for reading publicly. I added a picture of my summer reading while on vacation to Mexico. My favorite part of summer is catching up on all of the reading for enjoyment I didn’t get to do during the school year. I also gave a shout out to one of my rock star participants! See some pictures from my classroom website below.
Although school is out for the summer, summer learning must continue! Can’t wait to share some of the professional reading I’ve done this summer