Many school districts around the country, without doubt concerned about summer slide or learning loss and equity, are encouraging students to read for a specified number of minutes per day or a number of books from their online library collections. Oftentimes, choices are limited to a certain range of levels. Unless a student is fond of tracking their minutes like many of us wear fitness devices on our wrists for tracking our steps, after over a year of online schooling, many students have had enough. I even saw a post on Facebook of a child wading in our town creek the day after school got out with the caption: No more teachers! no more books! While wading in the river brings me a smile, I cringed at the captions. Our teachers fostered reading as best as they could, given such the difficult year. And books are a lovely escape exploring our world and worldviews all year round. But here is a photo of a friend’s child, completely engaged in a book despite the distracting noise from younger twin siblings.
How do we bring joy to reading?
How do we avoid shouldas, couldas, and wouldas?
How do we find book recommendations? Maybe check out Shea & Mae? Ainara Alleyne’s Bookshelf? Black Men Read? Make a point to stop at the library? Take a walk to browse Little Free Libraries? Visit a thrift shop?
Shall we notice the literacies all around us? On tee-shirts, bumper stickers, and road signs?
And even if a child can read independently, reading aloud is powerful toward warm fuzzy conversations as well as learning vocabulary, literary devices, and listening skills. What are some of the great read-aloud books for summertime?
How do we support metacognition and metalinguistics?
And what about safe spaces for reading that is not tracked, surveilled, or monitored?