The central purpose of any school summer reading program is usually a rooted in an attempt to combat the “summer slide” that often occurs when students take long breaks from academic instruction, but what happens when the book (or the list of books) from which to choose does not appeal to you? Do you wrestle your way through it? Do you abandon it? Do you (GASP!) skip the assignment altogether?
According to studies conducted by Scholastic in partnership with the international market research firm YouGov, 90% of kids say they are more likely to finish a book that they were free to choose themselves; therefore, Mepham's English teachers decided to pilot a brand-new free choice summer reading project for the 2017-2018 school year to see if the change in approach increases students' interest and participation.
The project was promoted by Ms. Stack and Mepham's faculty through various methods, including English teacher-led book talks and "Book Selfies" from teachers across all subject areas in the late Spring of 2017. Mepham utilized its social media accounts, namely Twitter and Instagram, to share options and ideas with students.
As we move through September, English teachers on all grade levels are conducting in-class assessments of the summer reading selections. This may include creating scrapbooks or portfolios, practicing writing a text-based analysis, or writing a narrative that "tells the story" of why you chose THIS particular book for your project. As well, the English department put together a Summer Reading Book Questionnaire that aims to survey students in all grade levels about their book selections, including whether or not the students were happy with the selections and what they learned from participating in the project.
For more information about Mepham's Summer Reading Project, check out this link.