ReadWriteThink has a section of activities for families to use during the summer and after-school, but how do you get down to the nitty-gritty details of just keeping students reading? I'm interested in whatever you do to get kids, teens, and their families engaged in learning once school is out for break. What do you do?
Fortunately, the city library offers a Summer Reading Program for children pre-K through grade 8. The students meet in age appropriate groups one day each week for story time and activities related to stories they read together. They also check out books during an 8-week period and complete short reports on each book. Prizes are awarded according to how many books the children read.
Every child receives incentives at various levels of reading accomplishments during the summer. The library attaches posters to a wall with each child's name and stickers that mark a child's progress in the reading program each week. This promotes healthy competition among the participants.
This is a wonderful community service provided by the local library that encourages parents to bring their children to the library and join in fostering an interest of reading with their children.
Another way to sneak in some reading for kids who spend a lot of time in front of the television set is to turn on the TV captions.
Free TV captions create an unrivaled opportunity for learners to connect hearing the spoken word with seeing the printed word in the context of the action unfolding on the screen to explain and reinforce the meaning. When the average child watches television 4 to 7 hours a day, turning on the free TV captions provides thousands of hours a year for millions of students, especially ESOL students, right now, over the summer, to enhance their classroom learning by practicing reading at home.
For kids who love visual narratives (movies TV shows, games, etc.): there are so many film adaptations out there nowadays, and many more to come. See what kids are interested in and direct their interests towards reading the source material before watching the visual version. Reading before watching can aid in critical thinking and be a way to explain the differences they see in the stories, or for them to describe what choices they would've made differently in bringing the story to the big (or little) screen (or if they watch more than one version of a source text, to describe what they like and dislike about the different renditions). But instead of using traditional adaptation options like The Crucible or anything Shakespeare (since students may end up having to read these during the actual school year), look for narratives that students might digest more easily during the summer time so it doesn't feel like work (perhaps the Harry Potter series).