It never fails that I overload on Advance Reading Copies of books at conferences I attend, and then I just can’t manage to get to all of them to read. I do in fact read many of them, but then I’m left with a stack of books sitting in my office. As we approach summer, I’m always wondering how to get more books in kids’ hands for summer reading. We promote our incredible public library summer reading programs, but I know that even with talking it up, some kids just won’t make it over there.
I decided to give our 4th graders (rising 5th graders) an opportunity for the summer. I took all of those ARCs I had read as well as some that I hadn’t read and spread them out on tables. Each class came to the library and I gave a quick spiel to them about how I really needed to hear their voices about some books that we might purchase for the library. I encouraged students that even if they didn’t find a book that jumped out at them they should try something new and stretch themselves as readers. This is something I’m wanting to do more of next year because I think it’s so important for students to help build the collection in the library. By allowing them to read the ARCs and give their opinions, they are owning the collection and will also be more likely to recommend books to their friends if they have chosen them.
Each student had a chance to go to the tables and select a book. I book talked ones that I had read and listened in as students made their decisions. I loved that every student took a book. Then, they filled out a paper with their name, book title, and author so that I could keep up with who got which book. Finally, students moved to another area where they put a label inside their book with a place for their name as well as a link to a Flipgrid where they can record their thoughts over the summer.
I’ve never tried this as a summer opportunity, so it’s a bit of an experiment. I’m curious to see how many students follow through with recording their Flipgrids. Even if they don’t, I have a record of their books so that I can at least check in with them in the fall to see if they read their book.
If they liked the experience, then perhaps these students will want to take this on as a project next year when I get ARCs in the mail or at conferences.
Happy Summer Reading!