Support Literacy Learning All Year Long
from NCTE INBOX 5-1-12
Research tells us that children and teens who don't read and write outside of school, especially during long breaks such as summer vacation, face a big loss in their literacy growth compared to those who do continue learning all year long. This means the summer months and other breaks from school offer wonderful opportunities for families, caregivers, and out-of-school educators to help improve reading and writing. ReadWriteThink.org's Parent & Afterschool Resources and NCTE provide many resources, activities, and tools.
The Language Arts article "Summer Reading: A Reflection" (E) recounts the author's family's summer reading and how she used it as an opportunity to talk with her children about books and, ultimately, about life.
For suggestions for books for summer reading, see the Voices from the Middle article "Student to Student: Roadmaps for the Treacherous Journey" (M). The books reviewed here offer "roadmaps" as their protagonists face tough situations with courage and perseverance.
Classroom Notes Plus author Gloria Pipkin asks, "Why don't we devote some time during the last couple of weeks of school to promoting real summer reading? Not mandating or requiring or assigning but encouraging it." The article "Promoting Real Summer Reading" (M-S) lists a few ways Pipkin has tried and some she'd like to try.
Interested in starting a book club with children and teens this summer? The English Journal article "Facilitating a Summer Reading Book Group Program" (S) reminds readers that summer book groups enhance and sustain student literacy behaviors over the break by making available an enjoyable social forum for critical-thinking and critical-reading practices to occur naturally. Significantly, the book groups grant faculty and students an informal space to connect meaningfully through reflective discussion of texts.
Many educators continue to learn over the summer. The English Education article "Learning to Speak in a Political Voice" (G) profiles a National Writing Project Summer Institute.
As summer approaches, many teachers are creating summer reading lists -- for their students and themselves. In the English Leadership Quarterly article "An English Teacher's Reading Journey (and a Tribute to Mama)" (G), the author shares a personal journey of reading and presents the idea that reading is a shared experience between the text, author, and reader.
To read a more personal take on summer learning and to see what others are doing, see the online Council Chronicle article "Keeping Kids Engaged with Resources from ReadWriteThink.org and Other Summer Learning Sites" (G).
Looking for additional summer-themed activities? Check out the Bright Ideas section of ReadWriteThink.org. The Support Literacy Learning All Year Long handout can also be shared with parents, families, and others interested in learning outside of the classroom.
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