How Do I Keep Kids Reading over the Summer?


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Q: How Do I Keep Kids Reading over the Summer?

As we approach the end of another school year, many school librarians are contemplating how to keep the reading momentum going throughout the summer. While librarians are anticipating extra time for their “to be read” pile, our students probably have other priorities. Let’s send each student off for the summer with a gift…a reason to read and the tools to do so. Start by taking a look at these ideas gathered from my colleagues.

  • You’ve heard of dueling pianos…what about dueling booktalks? Partner with your public librarian to offer up competing descriptions to entice students to want to read or listen to the best books available through OverDrive. Get creative, have fun, and make sure that students walk away with their login information to both their school and public library OverDrive accounts.
  • Visit the public library during the summer. Create a “pen pal” station where you can leave recommendations for your students and they can write notes back to you about their reading. Can you stay connected through technology? Sure, but there’s something special about the anticipation of waiting for a personalized, handwritten response.
  • Create “baseball cards” for your favorite titles. Hand them out before school ends and watch what happens to those titles over the summer. You can also leave these at the “pen pal” station at the public library.
  • Teach your students how to recommend titles to add to OverDrive, then follow up with several small purchases throughout the summer. Imagine how your students will feel knowing that you customized the collection just for them with the items they want most.

With a little advance preparation, you can have so much fun connecting with your students over the summer and helping them to connect with more books. OverDrive is always available—even when you are enjoying a much deserved break.


Jen Cannell serves as the School Library System and Arts Coordinator for Capital Region BOCES in Albany, NY, where she provides supports and services to school librarians, teachers, and administrators across 24 school districts. Jen’s career began in Fairport, NY, where she was a middle school librarian and was the Crystal Apple for teacher of the year by her colleagues. Jen recently completed her doctorate in educational leadership at the Sage Colleges.


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