Donalyn Miller wrote a great post this last weekend on the Nerdy Book club site. It is worth reading and thinking about. (http://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/let-my-people-read-by-donalyn-miller/)
I was torn as a teacher of high poverty children. Her premise was that children should free read in the summer. They should pick and choose the books they want. I agree but when I sit down to think about my students I am concerned.
My students fall farther and farther behind each summer because they don’t read. They don’t always have the family support that says read – read anything you like but just read. They “watch” lots of books and return in the fall to say o- yeah I know that book I watched it this summer. Sorry, it is just not the same. The active role of a reading and thinking is different than watching someone else bring a story to life on the screen. Don’t get me wrong I love a good movie but that is not what will help my students in the long run.
I guess this is where we use that word differentiate. We need to look at the needs of our students, and their families. What do they need to help them be successful each year? What makes sense for them over the summer?
So this year I tried to reach both sides of the question. I required my students to read. I asked that they read 3 books this summer. One for each month- more if they want but please read three. We then walked through our school library, looked on line and made a list of books they want to read over the summer. I was looking for choice. My hope is that when given a choice of the books they might actually read them.
They wrote their choices down in their reading logs. They check to see if the local library had the books for them to check out and checked off which ones they could find.
I can only hope that this will at least help some of them. The first steps of the process are taken care of. We will see that the fall brings!
Here hoping for happy reading this summer!