February 24, 2013

Summer School for Below Grade Level Readers

Something that I pushed for this year for middle school students who were reading below grade level is guided reading offered throughout the summer in conjunction with our district's summer school program.  Currently we have 10 teachers (most of them middle school Language Arts teachers) signed up to teach both sections of summer school which are held 2 weeks after school gets out and 2 weeks before school resumes.  We invited any student who is reading below grade level to join us for both sessions.  Students will be grouped by their end-of-the-year reading level and teachers will teach additional guided reading lessons to students at their reading level.

Since this is the first year of our literacy collaborative implementation at my school, I'm so excited that we've taken the initiative to get this summer reading program organized for students.  A lot of our data shows a "summer slide" between the end of a school year and the beginning of the next school year.  For students already reading below grade level, a summer slide can be detrimental to academic success. In middle school, the larger the gap between where a student is and where a student should be, the harder it is for that student to perform in ALL of their classes.  It is obvious that reading is intertwined into every class, whether it is English, math, technology, or art.  However, what I don't think we always consider is if students are capable of processing the texts that we are asking them to read in classes other than English.  Students who aren't able to read the materials are often called "lazy" or "unmotivated" when sometimes in reality, their reading level hinders them from performing in all classes.

The last thing I want is to see all the hard work teachers have put in this year for guided reading, LLI, reading interventions, etc. to go to waste when a student leaves us in June and doesn't pick a book up again until September.  I'm really hoping that parents will see the summer reading intervention for middle school students as an opportunity and not a punishment.  I'm also excited to track data to see is by doing extra guided reading throughout the summer we can at least do a little to prevent the summer slide.

What do other districts do in the summer to combat this problem?  I'm interested in hearing what else is out there.  Hope everyone had a great weekend! :)


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