The summer reading challenge is a scheme happening in libraries all over the country and is designed to encourage children to read over the long summer break. It has been proven that children actually fall back academically during the 6 week break and one of the easiest ways of keeping on top of things is to get children reading.
Children taking part in it are encouragement to complete it by getting rewards and stickers. They have to read 6 or more books to complete the challenge. Parents love the scheme as a visit to the library is a free day out and it is educational. I think that without the challenge, the libraries would be dead!
So every year on the first day of the summer holidays I take the kids to the library to take part in the summer reading challenge and I have been doing this not just with my own kids but nephews, nieces and friends’ children as well. That’s the joys of being a teacher; everyone wants you to take their children to the library because you should know what you are doing.
I’ve picked up a few good ideas along the way, and you can use all or some of these as you wish.
1. Have a List of Authors
I have a list of authors who are either recommended authors for texts used in schools or who have won prizes for their books. This ensures that your children reading quality works and not just nonsense.
2. Don’t Pick The First Book You See.
Take your time at the library and pick more books than you need. Then go through each book and choose the best ones. Teach your child how to choose a good book by reading the summary on the back cover or by reading the first page. If they like the first page, they should like the rest.
3. Read The Books Your Child Reads.
This is especially effective to get reluctant readers to talk about their books and take more interest. They will begin to see that books can entertain just like movies. When I was at the library there was little girl returning her books, and the librarian asked her about every book even though she had not read them herself. When I asked the librarian why she had done that, she said that it made the children choose more books and come back and tell her all about them.
4. Write About The Books.
After reading you could get your child to write a review or simply just to score it out of 10. You can write online reviews and add it onto the book list on the summer reading challenge website too.
I will be posting some other written tasks you can do after reading a book on this blog. I will also be posting the list of authors on this blog too. So please join my mailing list if you would like to be notified.
It’s been entertaining watching Gareth Malone trying to teach literacy to this group of primary school boys based in a school in Essex.
His target was to raise the reading age of boys. In the first programme he teaches them how to debate, when most of them can’t even construct a logical argument. In the second programme he teaches them the love for books and reading and in the final episode he tackles writing.
At first glance it looks like the boys aren’t learning anything and that Gareth is a bad teacher. He’s not textbook, and he has made some classic mistakes like all trainee teachers but eventually he does get through to the boys. His methods are totally against what is dictated to school teachers because he makes learning fun. He makes it relevant to the boys’ interests and he praises their smallest achievements. A lot of these techniques are what I use with my students.
I encourage the children to try a new way of working out a maths problem, I encourage them to take many small steps to reach their targets and I encourage them to believe in themselves. Yet I don’t hold their hand and confine them to their desks. I use a variety of learning materials (including computers) and teach them how to work independently. That way they feel a sense of achievement through their own efforts.
But my parting questions are:
Why has a qualified professional teacher not helped him yet? Why is he not receiving additional input to better his reading skills? Perhaps the teachers haven’t noticed and have just labelled him lazy? Why has it taken a TV personality to come in to the school to notice this?