A big thank you to our guest blogger, Bev Humphrey, for her top tips on how to combat the summer reading slump.
“The countdown to the summer holidays has now started and I’m sure for many of us it can’t come a moment too soon! Pupils eagerly await the long holiday too, but it’s always a shame when you realise that they haven’t seen reading as a pleasurable activity during the (hopefully!) hot summer days, and that their reading ability and their enthusiasm for books has dropped by the time they come back to school in September. How can we help prevent this?
Well, for primary age children the public library summer reading challenge is always a good place to start, and this year’s ‘Big Friendly Read’ that celebrates Roald Dahl’s centenary promises to be fun and exciting. Children agree to read 6 books over the summer and they can collect incentives and take part in events along the way. Show them the brilliant trailer that is on the front page of the website to stir up interest, or download the Big Friendly Read Resource Pack for schools from the Reading Agency website.
For older children, introducing them to Reading Hack would be a great way to keep them reading. This is a scheme run by the Reading Agency for young people aged 13 – 24 that involves taking part in activities with reading at their heart. The activities range from volunteering to work with younger children on the Summer Reading Challenge (perfect for the volunteering component of the Duke of Edinburgh Award), to running a poetry slam, organising a reading group, or incorporating reading into the very popular Minecraft. There are pages of hack suggestions on the website, as well as competitions, a book recommendation page, opportunities for socializing, and a leader board for ‘most hours spent hacking’ for the competitive type.
Book blogging and vlogging (video blogging) are incredibly popular at the moment, so encouraging your students to share the books they enjoy in this way could be good fun for them. Show them successful vlogger channels on YouTube like Benjamin of Tomes to get them started, or introduce them to teen Lucy Powrie’s book blog.
Of course your RM Books platform is a great way to combat that summer reading slump. Open 24 hours a day all through the summer, and accessible from the beach or poolside, your school e-library can be used to complement any of the ideas above or to create your own summer reading programme. You could offer a prize for the most books read via the platform, or devise a scheme whereby students need to read a book from each of certain set categories – poetry, biography, non-fiction, mystery etc to win an incentive. Promoting books on your platform to parents, especially in primary schools, can also work very well. Mums an dads who are tired of hearing the usual cry of ‘I’m bored!’ will appreciate some new ideas from books like The Holiday Activity Book or 101 Great Science Experiments.
The easy access that your RM Books platform provides can be used to encourage GCSE and A level students to read their set texts or do some wider reading over the holiday, giving them a head start for the new term. Teachers could assign these books to students before breaking up.
Having an ebook platform allows you to provide a service to all of the young people in your school all of the time, whilst you relax on the beach or catch up on your ‘to be read’ pile – which, if you’re anything like me, is probably ridiculously long!
May your summer be filled with relaxation and reading.”
Literacy, school library and technology consultant
P.S. If you live anywhere near Bristol, Birmingham or London, Foyles is running an interactive children’s and YA festival during the summer called Storybox.There are many and varied events being run that include meeting the Gruffalo, having a Where’s Wally picnic and a conversation event with YA authors Jenny Mclachlan and Sarah Crossan.
Personally I am most excited about the day-long Harry Potter celebrations that are taking place on 31st July, Harry’s birthday, and also the day that the book of the play ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ is published. For YA fans, the Young Adult Literacy Convention is a must visit. It runs from Friday 29th to Sunday 31st July at Olympia and there are over 80 authors taking part. The convention is part of the London Film and Comic Con and there’s always so much to see and enjoy that the day will be absolutely packed with good things. I’m going on the Friday and Saturday, see you there!