July 15, 2020
As students hit the midpoint of summer vacation, the first day of school draws closer and closer each week. One way that students of all ages can prepare themselves for the start of a new school year, and fight any summer boredom that starts setting in, is to read. Younger students can pick a few books a week to read, while older students may choose to dive into a longer novel or work of non-fiction. Reading increases literacy skills, sparks imagination and teaches students about new and exciting concepts.
Choosing a good book can be the first challenge, as students can feel overwhelmed by the number of choices that are available. They are so used to teachers and schools assigning books that the thought of actually choosing their own might seem daunting. You can consult lists of popular and recommended books by student age by doing a simple online search. Students can also ask friends or family to recommend something. In the spirit of expanding their horizons, students can opt to read something that is non-fiction or choose from a variety of books that emphasize diversity and a variety of types of people.
In this age of digital learning and digital resources, there are several online treasure troves for reading materials. Many publishers and authors have put their materials online, allowing students to access them from their own personal devices. Bookshare offers a library of books for students of all ages, and Bookopolis allows students to explore a variety of books and invite friends to share what they are reading in a safe, parent-monitored social media type setting. Storyberries offers a variety of resources, and Harry Potter fans can join the Harry Potter Book Club!
Part of really enjoying a good book can be discussing it with others who are reading the same book. There are several summer reading clubs available online that help students find recommended books based on interest and read reviews from peers their own age. Scholastic offers options to students of all ages, and Literary Adventures for Kids offers clubs based on popular books for older students. Students (and parents) can also take the initiative to set up their own book club with friends or family members, using free tools like Zoom or Google Meet to bring people together to discuss books. Depending on the length of the book, one can choose to meet after every chapter or after everyone has finished reading the books. To help you plan, here are some ideas to get you started.
Of course, nothing beats a trip to the library where students can wander the stacks and choose a variety of books to explore, while also enjoying the air conditioning! Although most libraries remain closed due to the pandemic, many are offering services online. Check out your local library’s website to see what they are offering. Detroit Public Libraries are hosting 313 Reads as a way to keep readers of all ages engaged with reading, among other programming in their Kids Zone.
If you’re looking for less expensive ways to find books and your local library is closed, consider reaching out to friends, family and neighbors to see if you can pool your book collections together. It’s a great way to connect and share resources.