Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Reading with a Twist

With two children who just finished their sophomore year in high school I had a slightly different inspiration for my summer reading this year.  Both of my high school age children had just completed the book, Night, by Elie Wiesel.  They were moved by this gripping novel of one young boy's experience in the holocaust.  We discussed this book many evenings at dinner and it inspired me to start my summer reading with what my kids are reading in school.  I downloaded Night on my iPad and dove in to the book.  Not only could I not put the book down, it also gave me more opportunities to discuss it with my kids, who were happy to re-live different parts of the book.  This was an added bonus - extra time to connect with my teens! Yay!  I mentioned to my kids that when I was in middle school we read, Don't Fence Me In, by Barry Spanjaard.  It is the story of an American born teenager in the Holocaust.  He came to my school and spoke to the student body, I remember he shared his personal stories with us and brought artifacts from the Holocaust.  I stayed after and he signed my copy of his book.  This treasured book is still in my collection and I have lent it to my daughter to read.  Check with students or teachers for other books on student reading lists and include them on your summer reading list - you won't be disappointed.

Here are my top five reasons why you should change up your summer reading list to include works being used in schools:

  1. It's a great way to become involved in student learning - when we know what is going on in other classrooms we become a stronger community of learners
  2. You can connect with what is being taught in the schools - talk to other teachers to find ways to align curriculum in different subject areas
  3. You can engage in meaningful discussions with your children and students - modeling life long learning to your students send a powerful message
  4. You will be enriched by reading (or re-reading) the works being used in our schools - you may discover a new favorite book, or re-kindle your passion for an old favorite
  5. It is a way to invigorate and connect your teaching - science, history, art or other subject area teachers can do some cross curricular teaching, for example connecting world history concepts to a book like Night

Help build the summer reading list with a twist.  Include books being read by students in our schools that teachers and parents should take the time to read.  You can access the Summer Reading List with a Twist - Google Doc here - find a blank space and share your ideas!

Techify it!  Here are some ways to incorporate summer reading and technology into your curriculum.


  • Write a blog about the books you read, share your thoughts and encourage students to comment
  • Let students research the book and blog about it so they can share their thoughts and interact with others who have read it as well
  • Use Google Presentations to let students share a book with the world - they can discuss the book, research the author's life, and explore history or science concepts covered in the book - share the link to the presentation on a school website or blog
  • Use Google Sites to create a review of books for students - students can recommend and review books they read in school which can be useful to students as they move through the grades
  • Have students create a video review of the book and post it on YouTube
If you have other ideas please add your comments!