Vol. 10, Issue 4, May 2010

Ask the Librarian
Some Recommended Resources from the Curious Librarian

Nanette Dougherty

Summer Reading, Summer Fun

Spring has finally arrived, and now teachers and students are in the home stretch and look forward to summer vacation. Research shows that summer reading can help children to maintain their developing skills, and that students who do not read may fall victim to sliding back, also known as “summer slippage.” As teachers, we know that reading to and with children opens their world to possibilities. As educators, we also know that reading can potentially make children better readers, and can also help make students make good choices for their own lives.

Encourage summer reading by providing children with opportunities for choice reading. Nothing is less motivating for kids than to be given a long list of book titles that they really have no interest in reading in the first place. Most children think that they have worked hard all year and deserve a break. So, prepare yourself: handing out a Summer Reading List may not be met with the excitement teachers imagine.

Teachers are eager to help, and often want to develop Summer Reading Lists. If you choose to do this, try to give students lots of choices of books and a range of reading possibilities. You might want to be sure that you update your list to include current books.  If you must assign a project about summer reading, try to make it something fun, and again, try to give children and teens choices about any assignments.

These pages on about.com offer some great reading lists for you to choose from.
You might also encourage kids to discover books on their own. For example, the website “No Flying, No Tights” offers great graphic novel reviews, and kids can find books themselves.
http://www.noflyingnotights.com/index2.html (for teens)
http://www.noflyingnotights.com/sidekicks/  (for kids up to 12)

Also, I recommend Read, Kiddo, Read, James Patterson’s awesome site that is “dedicated to making kids readers for life” : http://www.readkiddoread.com/home

You might also invite kids to try: Kids Reads (http://www.kidsreads.com/index.asp)
Teen reads.com is another great site for teenagers to explore, and there is also an “Ultimate Reading List,” information about authors and series books, and even blogs students can participate in.

Encourage students to participate in the Summer Reading Program at their local public library. Library summer reading programs have incentives and usually ask students to keep a record or a log of their reading. Different public libraries may also offer other special events such as book clubs and other activities. The New York State Public Library system runs some really great summer reading programs, encourage your students to “Make a Splash” at the public library. Often you can call your local branch and ask for a librarian to visit your classroom or school.

Here is the link for the New York State Libraries link: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/summer

The New York City and Brooklyn Public Libraries offer great events, but they have not had their kickoff yet. These will soon be up and running. http://www.nypl.org/

Two great sites for online reading:

You might also encourage students to check out some of the following reading websites:

Fun Reading Sites:
Bookpals.net (http://www.bookpals.net/cgi-bin/bookfinder/index.pl)
Kids ReadPopular Magazines Online (http://www.cf.k12.wi.us/library/onlinemag.htm)
RIF Reading Planet (http://www.rif.org/kids/readingplanet.htm)
Scholastic Kids (http://www.scholastic.com/kids/stacks/index.asp)
Storyline Online (http://www.storylineonline.net)

Fun Websites:
EdHeads http://www.edheads.org/
Funbrain http://www.funbrain.com/
National Geographic Kids http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/
Squigly - Games, Riddles, Art http://www.squiglysplayhouse.com/

Happy Summer! 
Please remember to email me with your questions or feedback! I am here to help you!

Nanette Dougherty has been working with culturally and linguistically diverse students, grades K-12, in New York City’s Title 1 schools for fifteen years. Nanette is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher in Literacy (Reading & Language Arts), and is NYS State certified in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (K-12), Elementary Education, English 7-12, and now as a School Library Media Specialist. She was the NYS TESOL 2009 Conference Chair and is currently serving as First Vice-President of NYS TESOL.