Summertime is a natural time to encourage independent reading. But don't wait until the school year ends; combine reading, goal setting, and motivation in an independent reading plan for students in grades 1-12. The four-week+ plan below allows for 20 minutes of instruction twice a week:
Week 1, Day 1
Week 1, Day 2
Week 2, Day 1
Return to students' previously created organizers. Based on a review of the organizers, pair students with similar interests and similar planned summertime activities. Visit the school media center or public library. Invite students to use their organizers as a guide to search the library -- as well as online bookstores or library catalogs -- for titles they're interested in. Students list specific reading materials, based on their discoveries.
Week 2: Day 2
Working with the same teams as on the previous day, students help one another draft a summer reading plan with these components:
Send the draft reading plan home with each student. Explain that their assignment is to discuss the plan with their parents and make a note of edits, concerns, and new ideas. Students also should indicate which reward for meeting those goals they've selected.
Week 3, Day 1
Students create a border for their final plan using brightly colored paper or their own art. They incorporate into the plan blanks where they can list what they read, lines for student and parent signatures, and all other needed components.
Option: As a technology lesson in word processing or publishing, encourage students to use a computer to create, edit, and finalize their reading planHave students execute the "contract" with their parents and then return a copy to you. They should keep the original for summertime use.
Week 3, Day 2 through Week 6 (or end of school)
Set aside 20 minutes for independent reading twice weekly until the end of the school year.
As part of end-of-year festivities, celebrate student progress to date and encourage continuing progress. Also, provide parents with tips for incorporating reading into their summer plans.
Use the same strategy throughout the next school year to encourage reading inside -- and outside -- the classroom.