The most effective way to activate a student's motivation to summer-read is to read with the student. This is not a requirement for all of our students, but specifically, for the ones that we know may need an extra push. Call, send a text, or email them once a week to chat with them about the book. Our kids lose so much of what they build over the school year because they don't practice their skills during the summer, a 5-minute check-in can go a really long way.
Conferring Questions to Ask During the Call
1. Start with a casual conversation about summer. Then, gradually begin asking questions about the book.
2. Have your student verbally summarize what they have read so far.
3. Ask student about what he predicts may happen next.
4. Rotate your roles and responsibilities by telling the student, "Next week when I call, you should prepare 2-3 comprehension questions to check-in with my progress on completing and understanding the book."
Creating questions is a prompt that requires a higher-leveled order of thinking, this is ideal for supporting the student with retaining skills that they may have learned during the school year.
Ways to Check-in Via Text
1. Send pictures of each other's reading logs that show the number of pages read each day.
2. Send pictures of each other reading in different locations i/e: the beach, the train, the park.
Write a informal journal-styled reflection about your week that allows you to seamlessly include the characters or events of the book. Be sure to ask questions that they may directly answer in their response to you.
Example: Dear (student's name), My first week of summer vacation has been going really well. I went to the beach with my sister. We laid under the sun for hours. I left my headphones home but I didn't mind, I enjoyed the sound of the crashing waves as the wind moved them. I brought our book, Catcher in the Rye, with me. Holden reminds me of an old friend from high school. My friend used to act like he didn't care about anything but he was super compassionate, behind closed doors. Kind of like how Holden was with old Mr. Spencer in the exposition of the book. Holden could have been a real jerk toward him but instead, he showed patience and empathy. Does Holden remind you of anyone?
This week, I'll be traveling down south with my family. I can't wait to see my cousins. Will you travel anywhere this summer?
Hope to hear from you soon,
Ms. Clay ***
These are just a few ways to monitor summer reading. My students will be entering the 9th grade next year. I won't be their teacher anymore, however, I will still remain present in their lives as their biggest advocate for independent reading by calling, sending a text, or emailing them once a week to chat with them about the book. I have also gathered the list of names and numbers of the students I will be teaching next year, so that I may begin to check-in with their reading as well. Not only will I be able to monitor their progress, I will be able to build an individual rapport with them, before we return in the fall. Have questions or any ideas for monitoring summer-reading? Leave it in the comments below!
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