Friday, June 29, 2018

Miss McMorrow's Summer Book Club

I truly believe that preventing the summer slide starts on day one of school. If we wait until April, May, or June to attack this issue, we've waited too long. That's not to say there aren't some worthwhile strategies that teachers can implement as they launch students into the summer months. 

Of course, book access is key. In a perfect world, I'd send all students home with enough books to keep them engaged for the whole summer. (Did you know that Todd Nesloney's school actually made this happen? Read about it here. The whole idea makes me salivate!) I don't have the resources to pull off this kind of miracle, but I do have access to a local library and I have time to spare. 

For a few years now, I've donated an hour of my time nearly each week of the summer to meet with my students at our local library. I call it Miss McMorrow's Summer Book Club.

Since I don't want to be locked into a schedule, I simply choose a day and time on a weekly basis that works for me, so parents just have to flexible. One week we might meet on a Friday morning. The next week might be a Wednesday afternoon. I simply send an email and text to parents the day before. I invite them to drop off their child at a certain time and pick them up an hour later. I arrive at the library early enough to choose some good read-alouds, as well as some books I think students would be able to read with independence. 

Our hour together starts with time for everyone to share their summer stories. Then I read to them. That's followed by some partner reading using the books I picked out. Finally, they get to explore the library for books they want to read. 

Obviously, my book club won't meet during the week I'm away at church camp, and a few years ago, I abandoned the idea of book clubs altogether. Honestly, it was one of those years x 10, and I needed a break. Otherwise, giving up an hour per week of my summer really feels like no sacrifice at all. 

Not everyone has the luxury of time during the summer like I do, but minus incentives and myriad other "strategies" that when analyzed really don't work or align with our beliefs, how will we creatively increase the odds that our readers are readers even when they're not at our fingertips? It's a question worth asking.

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  1. Oh my goodness-I LOVE this idea!!! I may have to steal this one from you too. I hope you know what a dedicated teacher you are! :)

    1. Thank you Miss Trayers. I can totally see you doing this too.

  2. Wow Tammy, that is phenomenal. I will seriously consider that idea. You have always had great ideas but this one blows me away. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

    1. Ann, thank you. I don't have a family to take care of during the summer, so offering an hour of each week hasn't been too hard.

  3. What a lovely idea, and so generous of you! I'm sure your kids really benefit!