When I was a kid, summer break always began the same way: on the last day of class, my mom would blast “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper on the car ride home, windows rolled down, my brother and I giddily singing along at the top of our lungs, “No more pencils, no more books..” Ironically, I would then spend my summer reading as many books as I could get my hands on!
Most students say they really enjoy reading during the summer, but barriers to access, limited choice, and a lack of guidance and support can make it challenging for students to read consistently. So, as we head into the summer months, I want to share my favorite tips for supporting readers outside of school with MackinVIA.
The end of the school year is an essential time to revisit the basics of finding and checking out digital materials. Students may not have reliable access to print books outside of their school library or classrooms, but MackinVIA is available anytime, online or with the app. Students can also download titles to read offline or on the go, opening the door for reading opportunities anywhere!
Promote Alternative Formats
Audiobooks are a great accessible format that appeals to reluctant readers and bookworms alike. Encourage students and families to consider an audiobook if finding the time or focus to read is a challenge. Instead, listen to a few chapters while in the car, going for a walk, doing chores, or just relaxing after a long day in the sun.
Provide Scaffolded Support
Students may have trouble reading without the structure and guidance found in the classroom—especially students with learning disabilities and new language learners. Caregivers often lack the knowledge or capacity to provide that same level of support. In these situations, the unique features of an eBook or read-along format can help readers build confidence while working to read independently. MackinVIA eBooks come equipped with accessibility tools including text-to-speech, a built-in dictionary, and options to change fonts, text size, background, and page view.
Curate High-Interest Content
Summer reading should feel like an adventure, not a chore. Use the Groups feature in MackinVIA to showcase new, popular, and can’t-miss titles that are sure to grab the attention of your readers. Create Groups for popular series so that students can easily find their next read; include a few “readalikes” to inspire future reading as well. Curate “staycation stories” about different locations and travel experiences. Or, compile the books students would recommend to a friend.
Change Things Up
Use your MackinVIA Home page to feature fresh picks throughout the summer. The carousels are customizable, so it is easy to reorder or add a new Group, or just switch up the resources within a Group. For our students with short attention spans, a rotating digital collection is a chance to explore beyond the familiar and discover a new author, or perhaps an unexpected genre.
Try embedding supplemental links and videos into your summer reading Groups. Entice readers to explore beyond the page with news articles, science experiments, local park and museum webpages, or even virtual field trips. You could also link printable activities, like a scavenger hunt, word games, book discussions, or character coloring pages.
Foster Family Involvement
Set families up for success with a refresher on how to login and navigate MackinVIA. Then, invite caregivers to read alongside their student and complete an activity together; I recommend this summer reading board game! Don’t forget to check with your local organizations such as public libraries, arts centers, museums, and parks to see what summer programs are happening in your community.
Create a Community Resource Hub
Utilize MackinVIA as a resource hub for your families this summer! Create a special Group where families can find links to the school calendar and information for the next school year, plus additional resources for summer learning such as:
- Reading Is Fundamental Summer Programs
- National Summer Learning Association
- National Parent Teacher Association
- Mackin Family Literacy Resources
What books are you looking forward to reading this summer? For more end-of-school-year inspiration, check out Ideas for Engaging Students in End-of-Year Reading Reflections by Jen McCarty Plucker.