Sunday, May 15, 2011

Summer Reading and Writing Projects

You can have worked so hard to support your students' growth in reading and writing this year.  Now you'll want to send them off for the summer with their bags filled with ideas for summer reading and writing. 

Kelly, a first grade teacher, and her students spent the final days of the school year last June making summer reading and writing plans.  Here are some photos from her room and some tips on making your own summer reading and writing kits.

Remember that summer reading and writing is all about independent projects.  Kids can think about the following:
  • What can I make all by myself?
  • What favorite authors/series do I want to read?
  • What topic do I want to learn more about this summer?
  • What tools will I need?
  • Where can I keep my tools?
Kelly's class decorated simple tote bags with fabric markers to hold their summer plans.
They took home blank calendars for the months of July and August and jotted some of the things they might do over the summer. 

Then they used the calendars to dream up some of the writing they would like to make.  For example, if they knew that they were spending a week at grandma's house and grandma has cats, they might decide to make an All About Cats book at her house.  Or, if they really loved the poetry unit and they knew that they were going to be at a summer camp or day care program, they might take several sheets of poetry paper to make an anthology.  Be sure your kids plan for several projects to create over the summer. 

Kelly's class used old charts from previous units to make decisions about the writing they will make over the summer.  They could choose from a paper buffet that included the following:
  • Small moments and fiction story booklets
  • All About book paper choices
  • Poetry paper 
  • Letter writing paper
  • How to Paper
Kids can also imagine audiences for their summer writing projects.  Kids will most definitely do their summer writing projects if they have someone to send their story/letter/book/poem to in the mail.  Kelly's class made these simple address books so kids could collect (with family permission) the addresses of friends and family.

You'll also want to fill the kits with tools (besides paper) that will help kids follow through with their summer reading and writing plans.  You might include the following:
  • Pens and pencils
  • Copies of your word wall, alphabet charts, or other spelling tools that have supported kids
  • Strategy charts from some of the units that kids have found helpful
  • Phone numbers of writing buddies or partners (with family permission)
  • Library card
  • List of favorite books/authors/genres
  • Small summer reading log 
One of my favorite blogs, Tiny Reader, has lots more great ideas for summer reading and  writing kits.  Click here for the post.  

Look for another post soon about creative ways to get students to read over the summer including a post about making a summer reading DVD for kindergarten and first graders as well as making summer reading plans for yourself. 


  1. Thanks for the inspiration! Our second graders made their own summer literacy kits using cereal boxes (from Tiny Reader's idea). They were inspired to write from the class address book we created and I have already received 4 letters from students this summer. One thing I meant to include in their kits was a summer book list but I couldn't get it together in time. Do you have a place to find summer reading lists by level for students?

  2. Hi Amy,
    I just posted today some quick lists to help your students with their summer reading plans. You can click on the summer reading post or copy and paste this link:
    Glad to hear you already got some mail. Happy writing to you too!