Thursday, May 5, 2016

Combat "Summer Slide"!

All teachers are probably familiar with the loss of students' skills over the summer months, often referred to as the "summer slide." To help students maintain the skills you've worked so hard to help them achieve in the past several months, take a look at these ideas.

Librarian Becky Calzada suggests talking to your students about the research behind the summer slide. "Having conversations with students provides an opportunity for us to educate them and allows students to consider proactive steps to help themselves."

Getting books into kids' hands is an important way to ensure that they continue reading over the summer monhts. Hosting book swap before the end of school allows your students to get access to books without spending a dime; Reading Rockets offers some tips on setting one up.

PlanoRichardson, and Dallas libraries all have summer reading programs that are the best price: FREE. Encourage your students to visit their local libraries. You could set up a Google form for your students to submit each time they read a book. It could look like this (thank you to McKinney ISD's Media Resource Specialist Cindi Bolton for sharing this example at TCEA back in February). Be sure to let someone from your Instructional Technology Team know if you need any help setting up the Google form!

Technology can provide lots of other ways to help you stay connected to your students, too. If your kids can't make it to a physical library, they still have an opportunity to enjoy books on their home computer or even a smart phone. Every elementary schoolmiddle school, and  high school student in Plano ISD has access to ebooks! Ask your school librarian about how your students can access these terrific resources.

If you have a Google Classroom, continue to check in on your students throughout the summer! Encourage them to read. Discuss with them what they're reading, and encourage them to discuss their books with each other. Promote the programs that are happening at your local library.

Does your school have a Twitter account? Encourage your students to submit pictures of themselves reading, and tweet those pictures out! Parents could also tweet the pictures of their students reading, and include a special school hashtag. And don't limit selfie production to just the students - they would love to see your Teacher-Book Selfies tweeted from your classroom account, too!

Many thanks to librarians Cindi Bolton and Brenda Ross for sharing their "No More Summer Slide" presentation at TCEA last February, and provided not only the inspiration for this post, but also most of the suggestions! Also check out the #summerslide hashtag on Twitter.

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