Oh, I have your interest now, don’t I? A teacher who HATES summer? What is she thinking?
So, I guess I should clarify. I hate parts of summer. I love that I can sleep in, go barefoot, read whatever I want / whenever I want, and just recharge. I hate summer because I don’t get to see my kiddos every day, and because I know not many have access to books the way they do during the school year.
All too often, you see tremendous growth in students during the school year, but for some reason or another, they seem to lose ground coming back from summer vacation. At my school, we call it the “summer slide”.
As an English as a Second Language (ESL, ESOL, ELL---they’re all basically the same) teacher who works with the same kids from grades 3-5, I have the wonderful opportunity to watch my kiddos grow, but also slide, (more so than a regular classroom teacher, who is only with his/her students for a year.)
So, what am I doing about it? First, can I just say, I get the best ideas off twitter and pinterest! I read / see all these great ideas and tweak them to fit my needs.
The first thing I’m going to do to try and beat the “summer slide” is to give each of my kids a book before they go on summer break. I know what you’re thinking, “Amanda, that gets expensive!” Tell me about it---I have about 30 kids on my caseload. What did I do? I ordered 95 cent books from Scholastic (used my points, oh yeah).
Another thing our entire ESL team is doing is pushing free activities at the local library. They’ve tons of free programs, and luckily enough, each town has a small branch, and I’m hoping my kids will be able to use it.
Now, here’s my favorite idea. I don’t know where I saw this (and if it was your idea, thank you, I’m not trying to take credit for it at all, I just don’t know who to give credit to), but I bought cards and envelopes for each of my kids, and typed up a letter to parents, asking them to take a picture of their child reading somewhere/time over the summer. They are then to mail me the photo (using the stamped envelopes that I’m providing) and write me a note about what they are reading / doing this summer. I’m hoping that parents give me permission to put the pictures in a slideshow and share them with you.
Is anything that I’m doing so weird and off the wall? No. But sometimes all it takes is a little push. Someone to show that reading is fun, is cool and you should do it, too.
I wrote a post for the Nerdy Book Club about using pinterest for summer reading activities, you can read it here.
Here is a link to a google doc version of the summer letter I sent home with students (my school address and phone number omitted---sorry). The first page is in English and the second is in Spanish. Feel free to use, tweak, gently email me to correct my Spanish (gently, please).