Summer Reading Strategies for School Librarians

Hi friends!

It’s time to promote summer reading to our students! Are you ready?

students reading Harry Potter books

I’m ready!

Why is Summer Reading Important?

Close to the end of school, I teach a lesson about summer reading to every class. I like to share this Dav Pilkey video about how reading whatever you want in the summer helps your brain grow stronger.

Why Be Bored?

I tell my students that there’s no reason to be bored in the summer time, when they can be reading instead! I like to read the book I’m Bored to them, and then show this music video, created by the illustrator, Debbie Ridpath Ohi.

Demonstrate the Challenge

Finally, I demonstrate our summer reading challenge. For this year, I’ve created a color by code challenge, allowing students to read whatever they want. I’ll show them under the document camera how we can all color in a space because we read a book together. So they won’t start the summer with a blank paper!

summer reading printable

Treats in August

When our students return to school in August, I’ll have treats ready and waiting for the students who complete the challenge. I give away prizes like scented pencils or special bookmarks. Sometimes I have a party during the school day for our summer readers. It’s important to take time to celebrate their accomplishment!

Crowd-Sourced Suggestions

I asked the educators who follow my Library Learners Facebook page how they promote summer reading. Here are some of their fabulous ideas!

  • We do a Beat the Teacher; I choose a stack of books I plan to read that summer and total up the pages. Students are given a log to try and “beat” me by reading more. (Thank you, Mandie Street!)
  •  I hold a Library recess party in September for all students who return their summer reading forms & invite a snow cone truck to give out treats! I also enter each student in a drawing for a book fair gift certificate. (Thank you, Jennifer Powers!)
  • Trying something different…read 6 ebooks for summer success. The details are in my newsletter (Thank you, Shannon Booysen!)
  • Competition among students to outread their comrades. Put medals on the door or bulletin board with bronze being 1000 pages, silver for 2000 pages, and gold 3000 or more pages. Seeing students change from bronze to silver etc. Is a huge incentive to other students. (Thanks, Phyllis Morriss!)
  • I send home a summer reading packet full of free reading activities/incentives offered by local businesses and our public libraries along with a list of popular titles for each grade level. (Thanks, Jo Nase!)
  •  I will be showing my kids how to get on ebooks Minnesota, a free site sponsored by our state. (Thanks, Ellie Michaelis!)
  • We send home free books! Scholastic is a great source. (Thanks, Tonya Fletcher!)
  • My kids are able to use a-z reading app. They love this program! (Thanks, Rani Li!)
  • Allow students to check out books over the summer. (Thanks to many who suggested this, including Julie Testa, Jennifer Spengler,
  • Encourage reading when on a trip by reading billboards, signs and notices! (Thanks, Tracy Tounsley!)
  • Summer Reading Bingo to return in September for a small prize! (Thanks to several who suggested this, including Loretta Seymour and Erin Lewis!)
  • Make a comic strip as you are reading a book. Each “block” serves a purpose. Before, during and after reading: predict, make an inference, summarize. Do this before you read the book and create a comic. Make another comic with those same reading strategies when you reach the climax of the book. Then, create your final comic strip with the same steps (predict, inference, summarize) after you finish the book! Put all of your comic strips together at the end!!!! (Thank you, Kari Tisma!)
  • I give my kids white paper bags to decorate. They make them into Summer Reading Kits. They fill them with summer reading promotions from local restaurants and summer reading lists. A calendar of reading activities for the summer. If they get a grown up to initial that they did 10 of them, they get a free book in the fall. Plus loads of other book/reading related items; bookmark, free book, etc. (Thanks, Joanna Liedlich!)
  • Since our school district doesn’t have a public library, I promote our online sources on a bookmark. I also encourage the Scholastic summer reading program as an online tool as well as a paper version to track reading. Students are recognized in the fall for their efforts!! (Thank you, Susan Hanlon!)
  • Our district has MyOn and there is a summer competition among schools. (Thanks, Christa Nelson!)
  •  I always encourage my students to join their local library’s reading program! They always have great prizes! (Thank you, Liz Garrison!)
  • I collect gently used books all year and give every student in our building 2-3 books to keep for summer reading inspiration. (Thank you, Maureen Mooney!)

Thank You!

Thanks for all you do to encourage your students to read during the summer. You are making such a difference in their lives!

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    One Comment

    1. I use fundraiser money from popcorn and eraser sales to buy every student 3 books for summer reading. We also give one book out for Christmas break reading. Our town just started a mobile book bus!

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