Growing up, one of my favorite summer activities was registering for my local library’s summer reading program and working diligently to read book after book in order to receive special treat coupons and goofy prizes. Little did I know at the time, but working on these reading programs helped instill in me a love and passion for reading that would carry on into my adult life.
As a child, I found reading as a way to take part in an adventure and enter a world that was different from what surrounded me on a daily basis. While it is an enjoyable activity for me, I recognize that reading is not always a pleasant task for some students. However, the education system constantly stresses the importance of reading and literacy, and even uses reading level statistics to make critical decisions for our students.
So how do we, as educators, help promote beneficial reading and literacy programs, even during the long summer months when our students are not in the classroom?
Give Students Access to Books
The first step to promoting reading during the summer is making sure that students have access to books. As teachers, we can host a book fair at the end of the school year and allow students to take several books that spark their interest home with them for the summer. We can also encourage students to grab a buddy and check out their local library for engaging summertime reading programs. In order to motivate students, we can also encourage them to compete against their friends with how many books they can finish before the start of the new school year.
Help Expand Students’ Vocabulary
Ensuring that students have the access and opportunities to read during the summer is only half the battle, however, because they still need to actually sit down and open the book. The second step to promoting literacy during the summer is to stress the importance of expanding vocabulary through reading.
Before the students leave for summer break, create a “New Words” vocabulary chart that can help them track new words or phrases they hear, read or say during the summer to bring back and share with their classmates. Vocabulary development is an important component of reading and can benefit a student’s education in numerous ways. Games and fun activities can help promote reading, literacy and vocabulary development without them even realizing it!
Host a Book Club
Finally, as educators, we can host book clubs, invite students to literature days or even direct a play based on a classic story where students are the actors. Making reading fun and accessible to students by providing multiple ways for them to get engaged can truly be the secret to promoting a love for reading and literature. When students realize that reading can be much more than just sitting down and opening a book, they will be more likely to take some initiative with their own reading.
Overall, these literacy steps can and should be used not only during the summer months, but during the school year as well in order to ensure that our students are provided with the best accessibility to reading as possible.
The College of Education at Grand Canyon University recognizes the diverse needs in education and takes advantage of each opportunity to create meaningful learning experiences. To learn more about GCU, visit our website or use the Request More Information button at the top of the page.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.