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What Are Your Summer Reading Plans?

Dear Dr. Laura

Have you seen any cute ideas for summer reading? I want to share something soon with our students and their families. Our school year ends next week. Yikes!


Summer Librarian

Hi, Summer Librarian!

And just like that our school closures are coming to an end as summer approaches. Schools have a lot of decisions to consider as they think about how they will wrap up this year and prepare for summer school and even next fall.

In many schools across America and even the world, librarians like you play a key role in helping students keep reading and hopefully fall in love with reading! Like I’ve mentioned before, my former principal used to tell me I was the reading Quarterback on campus. I need to call and make all the plays in this area. We know that researchers have long talked about the summer slide where students academically regress a couple of months because they are out of the school setting. This year, however, we are all facing what the researchers are calling COVID 19- Slide. This document shows some scary predictions that our students may actually only retain about 70% of the reading learning gains relative to a typical school year. The retention number for mathematics is even lower. YIKES!

So, let’s look at the role librarians can play to help battle summer slide, and now the COVID-19 Slide. Traditionally I would meet with the teachers and we would set goals of what they wanted the students to read over the summer in preparation for the next school year. I’ve seen schools that have actual reading lists with specific titles and even activities tied to each book. I’ve also seen schools that add a little fun twist and create something like a BINGO grid and fill it with things like: Read a Funny Book, Read a Book Written by Your Favorite Author, Read a Book Your Best Friend Loved, and so on.

This year I’ve seen a whole new level of fun summer reading making its appearance across social media. Bitmojis have been around for a while. But, COVID-19 has brought educators together in a whole new way in groups like Facebook’s “Bitmoji Craze for Educators”. This page’s audience seems to grow by thousands a day! It’s crazy!

Once you join you will see educators creating awesome digital interactive classrooms for their students and even in support of other teachers. They are taking this to a whole new level!

FYI: There are some Bitmoji Terms of Use. Be sure to follow them. For example, you cannot use Bitmojis for financial gain. Here’s an article that sums it up nicely: Can You Legally Use Bitmoji Avatars in Your Small Business?

So, here are some examples of Summer Reading that I have seen on Twitter and in the Facebook Group mentioned above. These images are used with the creators’ permission. In this post, the images are just flat images. If you find these images on Twitter or in the Facebook group, many of the items are hyperlinked to something. By clicking a book you might be taken to a video trailer or a PDF. Scanning a QR code would take you to a document to log your summer reading. The possibilities are endless!

Tina Burnias, Resaca Middle School Librarian

Tina used Canva and Buncee to create her summer reading image that promotes her Battle of the Books. She posted this on Twitter. @RMSGatorLibrary

Melissa Nelson, Sweetwater Middle School

Checkout her slide deck for more scenes. The links are interactive and some require the students to login. You will not be able to access everything she links to. Melissa credits Ridgey LeBrun’s for the chill out zone. The dance video on the third slide was inspired by Lisa Adams Rainey North and Allyson Caudill’s choreography. Melissa added her teammate and adapted the choreography to fit two people.

Katie Potthoff, Teacher at St. Paul Public Schools.

She shares her link here.

Lauren Kelly promotes her state‘s 3rd-6th grade reading list called the Texas Bluebonnet Award. Each book links to a PDF with more information about the book. You can make a copy of her slide here. @mrs_kellyl

If this kind of thing has caught your attention, join Facebook’s “Bitmoji Craze for Educators” and you will find lots of helpful guides and tons of inspiration!

To get started though you must create a Bitmoji first. Download the app on your phone to get started. Apple Google Play (Hint: You can only create a Bitmoji account on the Bitmoji mobile app.) Then start creating! So much fun!

Recently, I learned from my friend Maggie Ojeda that Bitmoji has some other tools it interacts with. You can use Bitmojis in iMessage, Gboard Android, and Bitmoji for Chrome. I’ve had fun adding it as a Chrome extension on my laptop because it allows me to customize the words and phrases that show up with my Bitmoji. Fun!! But, you first have to create your Bitmoji on the mobile app.

Don't forget guidance from our national library association. ALA has a great webpage dedicated to summer reading.

Anyway, Summer Librarian, I hope this has made you put on your thinking cap! There are so many ways we can help fight the summer slide and the COVID-19 Slide. Use your librarian superpowers and come up with something awesome customized for your students! I’d love to see what you come up with!

Dr. Laura

Have you met Nora Galvan? In her podcast interview she shares how to Demonstrate Your Professionalism. Nora has worked in both elementary and high school libraries and is now the Library Director at Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD in south Texas.

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