I have seen a lot of posts about Summer Reading programs for elementary students, and I’ve had a few questions from friends about what their kid should be/could be reading this summer.
One kid in particular is Sam, inquisitive, smart, and compassionate Sam. Sam is a soon-to-be 2nd grader who is reading at a much higher Lexile level than his 1st grade classmates.
Teaching middle school, I was at a lost as to what to suggest to his mom. It didn’t hit me until a few days ago after the tragedy in Orlando. Newsela CEO, Matthew Gross, sent an email to subscribers explaining how Newsela would handle the story and how teachers (and parents) could deal with this tragedy. As stated in the email, the Orlando “story will not appear in Newsela Elementary.” (I was not aware of this feature.)
While Sam is not ready to read articles pertaining to the bad in the world, Newsela is full of things I know he would love to learn about. Best of all, his mom can pick Lexile appropriate text to encourage and engage him in his summer reading.
Knowing Sam and his mom, I am able to easily choose a few articles that would be a great start for him:
Kids: Special cameras help scientists look at wild animals (430L)
Health: A boy gets a special new arm in the United States (430L)
Opinion: Sharks need our help to live (480L)
Sports: 17-year-old can do 7,306 pull-ups in 18 hours (480L)
Science: Eastern states prepare for six weeks of the cicada (580L) – Maybe a little high, but the fact these crazy insects have invaded our area should be encouraging enough.
I hope that reading articles like these will accomplish a few things:
- Encourage reluctant readers
- Improve informational text comprehension
- Provide opportunities for discovery and discussion
- Give Sam’s mom some peace of mind as she looks for appropriate texts for Sam’s summer reading challenge
Good luck Sam’s mom!! Hope this helps!
How do you encourage your elementary student to complete summer reading requirmements?
Is there a summer reading program at your library or within the school?
Do your kids read just for the sake of reading? (No prize involved?)
During the 3rd nine weeks, my Resource Room Language Arts students read the Jerry Spinelli novel, Stargirl. This fiction selection’s Lexile is 590L. This is a little low for the grade levels I teach (6th-8th) but the text fits the needs of my students.
It takes me a long time to get through a novel – longer than I really want most years. I like to throw in writing activities, games, and projects which lengthens the time I need to get through it.
This year I am working with a block schedule and may find it easier/faster to get through the book.
To keep a good balance between fiction and non-fiction, I am going to incorporate a piece of informational text every few chapters.
I have previously mentioned the huge non-fiction selection at ReadWorks. I decided to use this resource to come up with related non-fiction texts. I used the keyword search to looks for passages including: bullying, high school, fashion, and names
While I haven’t quite decided exactly where each of these selections will fit in the book, this is the list I am working with. I have noted the Lexile and the skills covered for each passage.
Fashion Do or Don’t ; Lexile 980; Fact and Opinion
How to Overcome Shyness; Lexile 860; Multiple Skills
Back Off (Deals with bullies; Lexile 630; Multiple Skills
Stop Bullying; Lexile 740; Genre
Boys Only – Girls Only (Same sex schools); Lexile 690; Multiple Skills
The Billings Middle School Badger News: Are School Uniforms Really That Bad?; Lexile 990; Fact and Opinion
What’s in a Name?; Lexile 860; Theme
You may want to consider this option with your next novel. I think it will break up the daily reading of the novel and provide an opportunity to incorporate more Common Core standards.
Definitely not my favorite thing to teach, but a requirement of the Common Core. It is very challenging for me because I have to find informational text in a lower Lexile range (400-600) when my students should be reading at almost double that.
Here are a few things I made to go with the next chunk of non-fiction reading we are going to be doing in my Resource Room.