“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
On Tuesday, I said goodbye to my 24 third graders after a year of dreaming, thinking, writing, and reading together. Sending my students off for summer, I’m hopeful that they’ll hold on to the lessons we learned as a class this year. I especially hope that they continue to make reading and writing a part of their daily lives.
With that in mind, I wanted to send my students off with some ideas and tools for reading and writing throughout the summer. First, I felt it was so important for me to model including reading in my summer plans. For weeks, I’ve been talking about my summer to-read list. I’ve been having conversations with students about their own summer reading plans. We’ve been book talking great summer reads as a class. When we show students our own reading habits, they are more likely to create their own reading identities.
I also wanted to give students a way to celebrate the reading they do over the summer. We are already participating in a school-wide reading challenge (teachers, too!), so students have access to many ideas for incorporating reading in their busy summer lives. I gave students a one-page sheet to keep track of the books they read this summer, as well as their ratings of the books. No parent choices, no time requirements, just what they want to read. My students know that I will be eagerly awaiting their lists on our first day of school in the fall! While the log is optional, my students know that once they are readers, there’s no turning back. Reading for enjoyment should be a part of their lives year-round.
Throughout the year, students also deserve the opportunity to be authentic writers. One of the highlights of our year was our pen pal program with students in Uganda during the Global Read Aloud. My students loved writing letters. I wanted to give them the chance to write to whomever they choose this summer. My summer packets included a card and pre-stamped envelope so that each kid could send at least one letter. My students love writing with an audience, so I know they will enjoy sending a letter to someone this summer!
How do you send your students off as readers and writers? Share your ideas in the comments below!