Monday, September 1, 2014

Summer Reading Sunday Series on Monday

Right click the sun to save it for your own Sunday Series post. 
Summer reading matters. We know from recent research that engaging readers during the summer months helps prevent summer slide especially in lower income students (Allington and Franzen). Conversations about summer reading expectations and assignments began at my school in January. The reading seeds we planted were supposed to take root and grow through the summer months.

Some did. If only gardening were simple. Sometimes I have a harvest instead of a growth mindset. If only seeds, water and sunshine were all that a bountiful harvest or a beautiful bouquet required.  If only readers could take root with assignments, but I know that is not how reading works. I love vegetables. I could gather flowers all day. I love the idea of the garden harvest, but not the work it takes to grow it. I do love working with readers and with teachers who engage readers in their classrooms though.

Nurturing readers takes work. Growing readers is a twelve-month commitment. I am set to explore that commitment and the topic of summer reading now.

This series is not about pointing fingers at teachers or students.  Instead I'm going on an explore. I will explore instructional practice. Explore the research. Explore what gets in the way of summer reading success. What do I need to weed out to make the experience work for students?  Writing makes my learning and practice public. It also holds me accountable.

Though today is Monday, for the next eight Sundays, I'm going to blog about summer reading. Here's a rough list of topics I want to explore starting next week:
  • the purpose of summer reading
  • beliefs about summer reading
  • access to books
  • autonomy and choice
  • assessing readers and writers
  • research on summer reading
  • communicating expectations to teachers, students and parents
  • collaborating across teams
  • connecting to future reading/writing
What topics around summer reading have you been wondering about?  If you'd like join in, grab the graphic and link up in comments. Write about summer reading on your blog. Share your link and respond to at least two other writers.

Put on your sun hat! Let's tackle the weeds in our summer reading gardens.

Lee Ann

Next Sunday: the summer reading collage assignment.

Works Cited

Allington, Richard and Anne McGill-Franzen. Summer Reading: Closing the Rich/Poor Reading Achievement Gap. NY, NY: Teachers College Press, 2013.


  1. My quick thoughts!

  2. I had students create a "Books I've Read" graphic on Thursday and followed up w/ a Reading Autobiography Questionnaire on Friday. I fear most won't have a book from summer reading for which they could make a collage, but I'll check when I see them tomorrow.

  3. Here's a link to my post. Forgot it earlier:

  4. I'll be interested in reading your posts, Lee Ann. I wonder if reading excitement at the end of the year does flow in to summer?

    1. I've been thinking along those same lines Linda and wondering how or if the end of the year successes with books and reading run over into summer.

  5. Interesting...some of us submitted a proposal to NCTE on this very topic and got turned down. It's an important topic. Just watched son (who likes to read) read only one book this summer because of the amount of accompanying work that went with it, combined with having summer homework for two other classes. My question: better to have kids read multiple books over the summer or spend time analyzing one book?

    1. I have a lot of questions about work load and summer reading assignments too, Teresa. I hope you'll blog about one of yours next Sunday. I keep coming back to purpose and use. What is the purpose of the assignment and how will the teacher use it to assess, plan and instruct?