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May 30, 2013 Summer Learning for Students and Teachers By Tiffani Mugurussa
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    A few weeks ago I shared with you how I plan to help my students stay off that summer slide and continue to develop as learners during their vacation. When I send home their summer homework folders, I will include a list of recommended reading material, all of which can be found at the local library.

    Some of these books we have read together during the year and have become class favorites. Parents are not always aware of the types of books we read aloud in class and might not know their child has a fondness for a particular title. This list clues parents in to what their child might like to hear again.

    Often parents ask me what kinds of books their child should be reading. Here are three types of books we have in class that make learning to read simple and fun. They also help to build sight word recognition, phonemic awareness, and fluency.

    If you don’t have time to put together a personalized class list, you might look at this list I came across from the Catalina Foothills School District (PDF). It has lists separated by grade levels (K–5), as well as by genres.

    Also, Scholastic has put together a great resource for reading as part of its Scholastic Summer Challenge. Students read books, log their minutes, and earn rewards. This is the seventh year for the reading challenge. It is intended to help students stop the summer slide and encourage them to read. Best of all, it's free to join and participate in.

    This year I also will be sending my students home with their bag of class-made books. These are books we have made together and read all year long. Many of these books came from The Big Collection of Mini-Books for Guided Reading and 25 Super Sight Word Songs & Mini-Books.

    By providing my students with a list of summer reading suggestions and their book bag, my hope is that they will continue developing their reading skills. I try to emphasize to my students that, just as they will continue to learn during the summer months, I too will continue to learn. I tell them about the trainings and conferences I plan to attend and show them some of the books I intend to read.

    What’s in My Book Bag?

    So, what’s in my book bag you might ask? Although summer vacation has yet to begin for me, my bag is filling up fast with some great reading material. Some of these are new, and a few are worth a second and even third read.

    • Common Core Mathematics in a PLC at Work, Grades K2
    • The Daily 5
    • Math Work Stations (third read)
    • Literacy Work Stations (second read)
    • Number Sense Routines (waiting for it to arrive)

    If I finish with these books and I still feel the need for more professional development reading, I just may read Opening Minds and Word Nerds. Both of these books have been on my reading wish list for a while now.

    Besides reading as a means for professional development, this summer I will be embarking on a new adventure. Lack of school funding has greatly hindered my ability to attend conferences and workshops. This summer, however, I have decided to attend the I TEACH K! National Kindergarten Teachers Conference in Las Vegas.

    I will be joining hundreds of other kindergarten teachers to learn from the best about phonemic awareness, interactive calendar time, and music in the classroom. To top it all off, I will be attending both of the keynote speaker presentations: one by Debbie Clement, a children’s author, illustrator, and performer; and the other by Ron Clark, the author of several wonderful, inspirational books for teachers, including my favorite, The Essential 55. For four days I will be listening, learning, and absorbing all that I possibly can from the best of the best. I intend to walk away with hundreds of new ideas, some newfound inspiration, and of course, a few more books to add to my book bag.

    Of course, I can’t have all my summer reading focus around education, I need to feed my mind with romance and suspense, too. Once school lets out, I will be making a trip to the local bookstore to peruse the aisles and see what catches my attention.

    I hope you have enjoyed stepping inside my classroom this year and wish you all a happy summer — with plenty of good reading.


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Susan Cheyney