Friday, May 3, 2013

The School Year: It's Never Too Late

Today is Friday, May 3, and the teachers and students are counting down the days until summer break. Despite the realization that the end is near, I continue to feel the push that every day must count! There is a part of me that doesn't feel that I am done with these young adolescent minds. I'm not ready to let go! But, I must for a time, so how do I challenge my students and prepare them for the summer months ahead.

Well, through the classroom discussion today of writers Patricia Polacco and Avi, an idea came to me. Why not help my students develop their own reading lists for the summer based on what I am learning through the Donalyn Miller's text, The Book Whisperer? I don't have to wait for my new batch of students in the fall, I can begin right now! My goal will be to set my students up for summer reading with the intention of collaborating with the 7th grade teachers to ensure that they meet their reading goals by the fall. I realize that every student may not reach their goals, but if no one is there to set them up for success, how do they have the possibility of getting there?

Therefore, my action plan will be as follows:

Library Cards: All students must have a library card to the local county library. I will talk to our school librarian as well as the local library to get applications. Additionally, I am also going to find out if a librarian from the county library would be willing to come and talk with my classes about their summer reading program.

Surveys: Monday, my students will fill out surveys to determine their reading interests and how they feel about reading, which are provided by Miller's text.

Research: Once we have figured out what genres interest us, I will take my students to the media center. We will research via the school catalog, Pines catalog (county library system) and by walking the book aisles. The students will write down at least twenty book titles that interest them. I will also offer each student 5 book selections that I believe matches their talents and interests. Miller offers an Ultimate Library List in her text. The link is listed below.

                                                          teen girl reading
                                                                Young Adult Books
                                     Fantasy | Realistic Fiction | Science Fiction | Mystery
Poetry | Historical Fiction | Graphic Novels 
Wiki: I will use a wiki dedicated for my students. Throughout the summer they can post about their readings. They can also discuss the books with each other as well. This is not mandatory, but anyone can join the discussion if they wish. I will administer the wiki.
Reading Contract: Once the students have their library cards, reading lists, and wiki information they will be all set for summer reading. The last part will be the reading contract.



I, ___________________ pledge to do my utmost to read a total of twenty books this summer using my summer reading list as my guide.

I will use the three P’s to succeed in reading this summer.

Passion: I will read the books on my reading list because they will enhance my passion for learning.

Plan: I will set aside time (at least one hour) every day for reading. If I watch 1 hour of television, then I know I must read for two hours, so that I will reach greater academic strides.

Perseverance: I will keep going even when the going gets tough. I will not quit or fall short of my goal. I will do my very best to achieve!

I understand that reading is the key to all academic success.

Signature:___________________________   Date:______________

Name:______________________________  Date:______________

“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”

 - Dr. Seuss, "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!"

I hope that setting them up for summer reading will encourage my students to continue making strides throughout the summer. Students can only live up to the expectations we set. My wish is for my students to always set their expectations high, and as teachers striving for excellence, we must show them the way.

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