Take a breath of relief! Summer is here!
The school year is behind you, and now you are free FOREVER! ..... Or at least that is how everyone feels.
As a student, I remember loving summer and feeling completely free and independent. Summer meant sleeping in, going on vacation, goofing off with friends, and simply being lazy. I didn't have a worry in the world. Except for one little nagging thought:
"I have some reading to do this summer. But I have worked so hard during the school year. I deserve a break. I'll start later."
Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into a month. About halfway through July I would start to think, "I should probably consider thinking about maybe starting my summer reading."
Then all of the sudden it would be August, and I would still have nothing done. I would either speed read (which was more like skip-reading) or give up all together and resort to sparknotes.com. Either way, I would suffer and stress out as I would try to finish the summer reports before school. That's not exactly the best way to end an summer break and re-enter the school year.
At one point, I just surrendered to the lie that I hated reading.
Years later I rediscovered reading in a whole new light and haven't stopped since. I learned that I was going about reading all wrong.
Haven't we all been there?
Teachers, you know what I am talking about. You struggled with summer reading too! None of us were the perfect little students that we sometimes expect our students to be.
I feel like some teachers simply punish their students with summer reading assignments to get even (guilty as charged....sorry Spanish III).
Instead of working against our students, let's help them out. Instead of hoping they'll show up to school in two months ready to learn, let's educate them on how to read.
Here are some tips to pass along to your students to absolutely kill summer reading.
How to absolutely kill your summer reading
1. Start now: The hardest part about reading is getting started. Start reading your book now (now being the end of May) before procrastination sets in. Who knows? You might even finish early and enjoy your summer!
2. Cognitively connect with the story: Instead of reading just to finish an assignment, try intentionally connecting with the story. Imagine yourself as one of the characters. Ask yourself what you can learn from the story. Draw a picture of one of the scenes. If you don't try to connect with the story, you will suffer all the way through the book. Being intentional about connecting strengthens the neural pathways that will later help you remember the information!
3. If the book is too slow, go the electronic route: I use this method to speed read through books. If the book is too slow and you can't take it anymore, buy the audiobook and the ebook version. Listen to the audiobook while doing other tasks (example: driving). If you have a packet of questions to answer or a report to write, the ebook copy has a search option which will help you find the information you are looking for.
4. Take notes as you go: Wether you use an audiobook, an ebook, or a hard copy, always take notes of key people, places, and events. Being intentional about note taking will strengthen memory recall and make writing those reports easier.
5. The best solution: The best solution to finish summer reading is to actually read in a group. Read the book out loud. Discuss and take notes. Have fun as you read! Remember, happiness increases productivity.
6. The supplement: I know that it is hard to give up on old habits, so go ahead and use sparknotes.com. But use it as a supplement to reading, not as a replacement.
Teaching your students HOW to read won't just change their summer, it will change their life! I'll leave you with the following quote:
“Tell me how you read and I'll tell you who you are.” - Martin Heidegger