Exciting lesson ideas, classroom strategies, book lists, videos, and reproducibles in a daily blog by teachers
























The Teacher's Book-A-Day Summer Challenge

By Shari Edwards on June 24, 2013
  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

Last spring I read a post written by Donalyn Miller (author of The Book Whisperer), about a book-a-day challenge she had given herself and other educators. She challenged teachers to read one children’s or young adult book per day during the summer months. I wish I could tell you I completed that challenge, but I didn’t. Summer got busy and most of the books in the stack I had chosen for my summer reading ended in that same unread stack when back to school rolled around. So, this year, I'm trying again and am determined to succeed!


On this, my last post of the 2012–13 school year, I would like to share my tips for completing this challenge and making it a useful part of your summer routine, as well as an investment for next fall. I'll also suggest a few books to put on your reading list.


Keep a book bag close by and full of children's literature.

Snap pictures of books with your phone while visiting a bookstore. I also take a picture of a page that is representative of the text inside the book to help me remember why I liked it.

Jot down notes and ideas that come to mind about using different books for future lessons. I keep a little journal and pen in my book bag along with my books. Attaching sticky notes filled with ideas and connections to the inside cover of a book I want to use later also works well for me.

Enjoy the books with a child for added enjoyment! My children are grown, but I have a grandson who loves books! If the child is old enough, ask for his opinion about the book.

Keep in mind important topics or skills that come up during the school year. I may miss my opportunity to connect a special book to a topic if an idea hits me at a time I'm grading papers and teaching class. So jotting down a note at that busy moment allows me to pull it out when I have more time during the summer to look for that special title.



A Book a Day! Where Will I Get That Many Books?

Bring a few books home from school that you have forgotten or haven't read at all.

Borrow books from another teacher and also ask for her recommendations.

Browse bookstores and read in the store. Purchase or make a record of the books that fit your needs.

Some Book Suggestions

Book Summary Possible Uses
Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street

Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street

By Roni Schotter

Eva listens to her teacher's advice: "Write about what you know." She doesn't believe she has anything in her life worth writing about. She finds out differently!

Use this book to teach how to generate a writing topic.

Make a list of the things Eva could write about in her neighborhood.

Have students create their own lists of topics.

Chicken Little

Chicken Little

By Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley

"The sky is falling!" This is a charming retelling of the old story with great vocabulary and colorful pictures.

Compare and contrast this story with the traditional version.

Work with the wealth of vocabulary from the book.

Rewrite another well-known tale.

You Think It's Easy Being the Tooth Fairy?

You Think It's Easy Being the Tooth Fairy?

By Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt

Here is the truth told by the Tooth Fairy herself! Learn what her job entails and how to keep her happy and willing to make visits!

Explore and discuss point of view in writing.

Write a story from the point of view of another famous character.



Pete Seeger's song illustrated by Michael Hays

Learn how a father and son save their village from a mean giant and go from outcasts to heroes.

Use this book when studying the folktale genre.

Find the problem and resolution of this story.

Talk about acceptance.

PUNCTUATION Takes a Vacation

PUNCTUATION Takes a Vacation

By Robin Pulver

The punctuation marks feel ignored and misunderstood in Mr. Wright's classroom. They decide to take a vacation!

Try reading without the punctuation marks to find out why they are so important.

Write postcards from the point of view of a punctuation mark.

Carlos and the Cornfield

Carlos and the Cornfield

By Jan Romero Stevens

Carlos learns an important lesson about being trustworthy and working hard.

Discuss character traits that students notice in the story.

Work with cause and effect.

Use the blue cornmeal pancake recipe that is included.

Freckleface Strawberry

Freckleface Strawberry

By Julianne Moore

Freckleface Strawberry doesn't like her freckles and the attention other people give them. It takes her a long time to accept them — and herself.

Use for discussions about self-esteem and valuing the differences between classmates.

Find problem and resolution within the story.

Crazy Hair Day

Crazy Hair Day

By Barney Saltzberg

Stanley arrives at school prepared for Crazy Hair Day only to find out he has the wrong day, and it is actually picture day!

Use for discussions about self-esteem and valuing the differences between classmates and sticking together.

Find problem and resolution within the story.

Tar Beach

Tar Beach

By Faith Ringgold

A young girl living in an urban landscape has grand dreams at night on a rooftop. She and her brother lie on a blanket and imagine flying over the city.


Discuss self-esteem and belonging, citizenship, and family.

Ask students to draw, write, or tell about their favorite parts of their neighborhoods.


Scary Sharks

Scary Sharks

By Camilla de la Bedoyere

What student doesn't like a good shark story? This is a great nonfiction book with a foldout of a shark's mouth in actual size! Great text features, pictures, and facts.

Use during discussions and lessons about text features.

Demonstrate researching skills for animal research activities.

Are you ready to accept the challenge? Just a few minutes with one book per day during the summer can put you miles ahead for the next year.

This is the last post of the year for me on Top Teaching. I've enjoyed sharing my ideas with you this year. The school year is over, but the learning continues!

Follow me on Facebook or Pondering Pedagogy as I continue my adventures in teaching!

How do you stay current on children's literature?

Comments (4)

Don't forget your local library

I earn many great books from points accumulated from Scolastic book orders. To check out new books and authors, I literally check them out of the library. I am surprised this was not one of your suggestions. The library has the biggest selection at the most affordable "price".

Thank you, Mary Ellen! Have a great summer!

What a great challenge! Enjoy your summer reading.

Post a Comment
(Please sign in to leave a comment. Privacy Policy)
Back to Top