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Summer Reading – Let the Kids Decide

Fourth grade teacher Patti Grayson had reservations about the typical summer reading program where kids crammed their required reading into the last week of summer or harried parents frantically tried to figure out a way to fit reading into their child’s busy summer schedule of camps and vacations.

So, Grayson devised a different way to encourage her students to read during the summer.

“Since I wanted to keep in touch with the class over the summer, I suggested that I allow them to choose three books of interest to them (crazy, right?!) and have them email me a letter after reading each book that told me about the book and answered a short list of questions. The guidelines would be simple: each book had to be at 3rd grade level or above, and it had to have a minimum of 100 pages. There would be be accountability — a writing assignment.

Well, I got the nod and I enjoyed each email letter as it arrived. I responded, asking personal questions and providing encouragement. This assignment actually had a chance at fostering a love of reading! No struggling through a book that was too difficult. No forcing themselves to read a book they didn’t enjoy. No assignments in September asking them to remember a book they read two months before.

The kids loved it. Even after their third letter, I would occasionally get an email that said something like: “Mrs. Grayson, I know I already sent you my three letters, but I just read this really cool book and wanted to tell you about it!”

Isn’t THAT what it’s all about?”

You can read more about Grayson’s summer reading challenge on Powerful Learning Practice.

Grayson was named a Top 10 Teacher in the Hampton Roads community for 2012. She blogs at Patti’s Ponderings Follow her on Twitter @pattigrayson

Photo is copyright (c) 2012 Pioneer Library System and made available under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license

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