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Virtual Reading and Writing Institutes 2021

Take on workshop next year with renewed confidence. For educators, K–8

Setting Kids Up for Summer Reading & Writing Projects

Heading into summer is an essential time to support kids’ reading and writing projects. Continuing with literacy outside the school year helps kids develop further independence, opens up new possibilities for them as readers and writers, and continues to build joy around reading and writing.

SUMMER READING PROJECTS

  1. Have kids add books they want to read to a special book bag, or you can help set up a digital book bag with books to read during the summer. If it’s possible, send students home with a physical book — these are often gifts they treasure.
  2. Kids can start by thinking about which books they want to read over the summer. It would be an excellent time for kids to get hooked onto a character, author, series, genre. Here are some ideas:
    • Kids can do book buzzes (a book review) to get each other excited about a book they loved. This could be a book on Epic or any digital platform they have been reading on. Older kids can do this on Flipgrid. This could create friendships based on books and kids who want to read similar books — they could even start virtual book clubs.
    • Share a list of your favorite books, authors, or series that kids might enjoy this summer. You could create a class list and post it to Seesaw or Google classroom.
    • Give some book buzzes around some favorites to get kids pumped about reading them, and share these to Seesaw or Google classroom. If kids only have digital texts, you can create excitement around the digital versions they could read during the summer.
  3. Invite kids to think about their summer plans: Where will they be? With who? Doing what? Are there books they could read in these places? With these people? Here are some ideas:
    • Have kids create a calendar or plan of which book they’ll read and for how long.
    • Get kids to choose 3-5 books they plan to read. Remind them they can always add more!
    • Have them think about where and when they’ll read during the summer and support them in planning a reading routine.
    • Share your reading plan with kids and your reading calendar to model your love of books. Tell them all the places and times where you’ll read. Kids get to see an example of a life-long reader!
  4. Ask kids to plan who they’ll discuss books with: Is there a group of kids who might like the same books? Maybe start a book club. You can get on a Zoom call as a group, chat about the books, and catch up!
  5. Invite kids to have a reunion with you when school’s back in session to share the books they read. For accountability, you might suggest kids read at least three books to participate. You could do this in person or over Zoom.

SUMMER WRITING PROJECTS

  1. Have students start by thinking about what type of books they want to write this summer. What genres? What topics?
    • Kids could record short videos to talk about the kind of writing they think they want to do over the summer so that they can share them with others and get more ideas.
    • Younger kids can do this on Seesaw. Older kids can do this on Flipgrid.
    • Find a way to share some of these videos or recommendations. This could create friendships based around writing and kids who want to write similar books — which could even start virtual writing clubs.
  2. Invite kids to think about their summer plans: Where will they be? With who? Doing what? Are there ideas for writing in these places? Who could they write with?
    • Kids can create a calendar or plan of which book they’ll write, and how long they’ll write each day.
    • Suggest kids choose 3- 5 books they plan to write — they can always do more or even create a series!
    • If you’re teaching in person, give kids some packets of writing paper or notebooks that fit the genre they want to write. This will also help parents know how to choose different kinds of paper for various writing styles. If you’re distance teaching, email parents a list of paper choice options and some printable templates.
    • Share your writing plan and routine with students including your template or calendar where you’ll write. You’re showing students how you’re building a writing life!
  3. Have kids plan who they’ll share their writing with: Is there a group of kids who might like the same topics? Maybe start a writing club. Suggest students hop onto a Zoom call as a group to catch up and chat about the books they wrote.
  4. In the fall, host a reunion (in person or on Zoom) for students to share the books they wrote. For accountability, you could ask kids to write at least three books to join in.

Keep the momentum going all summer long by helping set your students up for success. By helping them create practical and fun reading and writing habits now, they’ll enjoy and strengthen their reading and writing skills over the break — potentially making for a smooth transition back to school in the fall.

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