Research shows that reading at least 20 minutes a day, every day, all year long, can make a world of difference for students at all levels. We know that daily reading practice helps students avoid the dreaded summer slide that can rob them of gains they’ve made during the school year.
The challenge is how to get and keep students engaged in reading over the summer months, without regular contact with teachers, school librarians, and others who provide that reading message during the school year. The solution is a summer literacy initiative that motivates students with the support of both families and community partners.
A successful summer initiative should mirror the school culture and serve as a connector between the prior school year and the upcoming school year. Well-executed summer initiatives that become part of the fabric of a school community result in an expectation that “Of course our students will continue reading over the summer months. Why wouldn’t they?”
Creating a just-right summer initiative
• Planning is key. Some schools and districts begin planning for the following summer as soon as their current summer initiatives have wrapped up. Others tackle it early in the calendar year. Still others may wait until Spring. Regardless of when planning begins, an important first step is to identify a summer literacy coordinator who can lead the planning and implementation processes.