Top Teaching > Danielle Mahoney > Finish Off the Year With Amazing Summer Reading Plans

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Finish Off the Year With Amazing Summer Reading Plans

CamilaplansWow! It’s hard to believe that it’s just about time to wrap up the year with summer reading plans. You've taught your students a ton of reading strategies this year and showed them what it means to be a good reader. You'll want to ensure that they keep up their reading stamina by making summer reading plans. With your help, they'll be excited to grab a new book along with their snacks and sunscreen and hit the beach. Let the summer reading plans begin!


Making Summer Reading Plans


It doesn't matter if you teach kindergarten or 5th grade: students of every age will enjoy working on summer reading plans with your support. The 4th graders in the photograph above are beaming with pride after creating their own plans. How can you make this happen in your classroom? Simply follow the series of activities below.

Places We Read

Gather students in your meeting area and ask them what they plan on doing this summer. Where will they be spending most of their free time? Are any of these places the perfect setting for getting lost in a book? Creating a chart with a list of places kids might find themselves reading this summer will give them a resource to use when writing their plans independently. Below is an example of a chart I made with a group of 2nd graders. We talked about how a park with lots of trees and grass would be perfect for reading, but how a park with a noisy playground may not be. Encourage students to evaluate each other's suggestions as the list grows and grows. 



Run Out of Ideas?

AlltheworldOnce you've collected a few initial ideas, motivate your kids to think about other places to read this summer with a beautiful read-aloud. Liz Garton Scanlon's book All The World, illustrated by the talented Marla Frazee, is PERFECT for inspiring kids to marvel at the beauty of the summer season. As you turn the pages, students will come up with additional places that would be good for summer reading. Add them to your chart.

If you love this book as much as I do, you'll want to visit Garton Scanlon's site and download a curriculum guide to use this book over and over again.



Put Your Plan in Writing

Model the type of writing you want children to produce. I wanted my students to write a short paragraph that would lay out their plans. Together we came up with examples of lead sentences, details, and closing sentences, providing a scaffold to writers who needed more support during their independent work. 

Topic Sentences:

  • What are you going to do this summer? I plan to . . .
  • There are so many places to read this summer! I plan to . . .
  • I have great summer reading plans! I’m going to read . . .

Details may include:

  • Places (and why you chose them).
  • Types of books (genres and why you like them).
  • How often will you read?
  • Strategies you may practice.

Closing sentences:

  • That’s what I’m going to do this summer.
  • Now you know my reading plans!
  • What are YOUR reading plans!?

These 2nd and 4th grade students really thought to make their summer reading plans meaningful: 



After your students are done writing, have them draw a picture of themselves doing the work. If they can envision themselves reading at the beach or under a tree, they have a better chance of doing it for real. Read through all of the plans and provide feedback to let them know how proud you are of their work. It may take a little extra time to write a personalized message to each student, but think about how much it will mean to your writers.

Vanessasplans Ivanasplans












Jasonsplans  Camilosplans













Dianasplans Lilibethsplans












Angelsplans Dibishasplans












Bulletin Board Display

Finally, hang up your students' work outside your room to inspire other readers in your building to make plans, too. The result will be a great bulletin board display. 


"My Summer Reading Plans" Packet 

As you get closer to the end of the year, return the summer plans to your students in a special packet. Include a cover page, their plans, and blank calendar pages for June, July, and August. Think of it as a goodbye gift that will support the type of reading work you want them to keep up over the summer.  




Scholastic's Summer Reading Challenge


Be sure to have your students register for Scholastic's Summer Challenge. You can download booklists for kids from PreK to young adult, as well as reading logs, pledge forms, book review templates, and much, much more. It's like one-stop shopping for summer reading!


Beth's Top Ten List for the Summer

P_beth I highly recommend checking out Beth Newingham’s latest post, "Planning a Productive Summer for You and Your Students." She's my hero. Her tips and advice should not be missed.

Beth has a few ideas to help you with YOUR summer plans as well. Thanks, Beth!!



The Balance Between Real Adventures . . .
and Those We Find in Books

Living the life of a reader is pretty cool. When we read, we learn more about the amazing world around us and about ourselves as well. Tell your students that they'll be very grown-up if they sprinkle in some serious reading time into their summer plans. But we're not saying that they have to have their faces buried in a book at all times. We all spend our summers doing lots of different things. There has to be a balance between living real adventures and reading about them in books.

I try to get away for a week each summer with the same group of incredible friends. I always pack a good book or two in my suitcase for the plane ride and for downtime on the beach. But I do take part in some real adventures during the summer, too.

During a summer trip to Aruba a few years ago, I had the opportunity to go parasailing with my brave friend Glory. We were really excited to get up into the sky after putting on our life jackets and safety gear. (Little did I know how scary it would be!)


Up into the sky we sailed! 


It was some view up there. Absolutely beautiful. (I'll spare you the details on how sick I got right after this photo was taken. Let's just say that I will never go parasailing again — ever!)


As we set off on our summer vacations, we have to find a balance between having real adventures and virtual ones. If we don't make room for real adventures, how can we connect to what we're reading in our favorite books?  I had a wonderful time snorkeling, swimming, and parasailing on vacation. . . . 

But I got caught reading, too!

So find the shade of a tree, get comfortable, and read! Here's to having fun inspiring your students to read this summer. With your help, they will make meaningful plans — and stick to them.


After a really busy year of teaching, coaching, and blogging, I'm looking forward to relaxing with a few great books while on summer vacation. If you have any MUST READS for this summer, please let me know!! I'll start shopping for titles today! =)


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