In order to encourage students to complete summer reading assignments, you must acknowledge that this needs to be a transitional effort, beginning in the current school year and concluding with the new teacher next school year.
We have a responsibility to make this learning activity relevant to students. To do this, follow these steps:
At the end of the assigning school year, design a lesson that will set the stage for the summer reading experience. Obviously, this is easier if every student is reading the same novel, but you can also use a even a simple K-W-L chart or a set of prediction questions can be used to help students make a connection to the novel.
Create a meaningful activity for students to complete while reading. Scholastic has many teaching resources that can help. One professional book I prefer is Reading Response Trifolds for 40 Favorite Novels.
Students must have an assignment to return at the beginning of the new school year. Otherwise, summer reading has no relevance and seems more like a punishment. Prepare an assessment for students to complete when they return for the next school year. This assessment does not have to be a difficult test, but rather a quick group discussion, journaling response, or role-play activity. Some websites offer interactive games and activities for specific novels so that teachers can plan such an activity before choosing the novel to be assigned.