Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Book Stack

The Book Stack

Recently, I've been thinking about ways to encourage my first graders to read, write, and blog over the summer.  Having kids blog is a great way to support summer learning.  Educators know, all too well, the reality of the "Summer Slide".  However, there's plenty of time for learning AND all the other activities kids will participate in this summer.

I was thinking about how I'd love to have discussions with my students about what they're doing and reading this summer.  We could talk about books, recommend books to each other, and share our reading lives.  I thought it would be best to identify a day each week where my students could check-in on the blog and share what they are doing and reading.  Additionally, it might be more fun if I suggested a few book titles of my own.  Richard Allington, education researcher, calls this "Blessing Books".  Students love to reread the books that the teacher is reading aloud in class and books that their teachers recommend.  With all of these ideas floating around in my head, I came up with, Keep In Touch Tuesdays.  Each Tuesday, I asked my students to check in on our classroom blog.  Once they get there, they can read my book review post, and share their thoughts and questions about the book in the comments section.  They can read the book along with me, or they can read my book review.  Either way, I'm hoping this will encourage them to read some of the books, leave some comments/questions, and share what they are doing to stay busy this summer.  Maybe they're reading a book that's not in my stack, they could share that too.  The main thing is to read and share!

I also had the deli ma of deciding on the best place to do this.  Should we us our classroom blog or their individual student blogs?  By using the class blog, we'll have a central place where everyone can meet up and comment.  I love our classroom community, and our classroom blog seems to be the best place to share our reading lives.  Students could certainly continue to post things on Kid blog (individual student blogs) all summer.

During the last week of school I sent home a letter explaining, Keep In Touch Tuesdays.  I shared the letter with my students and explained how it would work.  Everyone was very excited about the idea of blogging over the summer and sharing books and what they are doing.  I can't wait to see what's going to happen and who will participate.  One of my students currently writes a blog post almost every weekend.  I made a big deal about how much I enjoy seeing her use her Kid blog on her off days and reading her posts.  Perhaps my other kiddos got my not very subtle hint.  Nonetheless, I'm very excited about the prospect of staying in contact with my students all summer long and reading and sharing books, which is one of my favorite things to do.  You can visit my classroom blog to read my introductory post which outlines the books titles and dates.  Also, stop by on Tuesdays and share and/or comment.  We would love the company.

What's in you book stack?  How are you encouraging summer reading and writing with your students?  Are your students blogging over the summer months and during holiday breaks?  I would love to hear from you.


  1. Great idea Valerie! We have 2 more weeks of school here, but I would love to do something like this. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks Lora,
    My students have grown so much as readers and writers and I want to encourage them to continue to grow over the summer. I'm hoping most if not all of them will participate in Keep In Touch Tuesdays. I'm starting to miss them already. If you try something like this, let me know. I'd be happy to stop by your class blog and leave a few comments.