Summer Reading Assignment – What is Your Dream?
Check out the associated lesson plan here Summer Reading Assignment – What is your dream?
Your school district mandates summer reading assignments. Your students spend the last day of school complaining and the first day of school turning in rushed and wrinkled break packets. There is nothing you can do to change this sad summer assignment reality. Right?
As an English teacher, I admittedly sided with my students when they whined about useless reading response packets to “prove” they had read. I also knew the importance of mandating reading to prevent summer learning loss. The frustrating reality was that my high performers would turn in perfect summer reading packets while my reluctant learners would “lose” or “forget” their packets.
I was tired of sending the message that reading was work. I wanted to empower students to become lifelong learners and global citizens who viewed reading as a tool to achieve their dreams. I decided to (figuratively) throw away my classroom set of novels and generic summer packets that I had reused year after year.
On the last day of school, I lead the discussion that would introduce my whole new plan for summer reading:
- What is you big goal or dream?
- What is your life purpose?
- How do you want to change the world?
- What is your dream career?
- What specific steps do you have to take to make your dream a reality?
- What information and skills do you need to learn in order to accomplish your goals?
- How can you learn this required set of information and skills?
- When do you plan to start achieving your dreams? What are you waiting for?
- How can you use this summer to start changing your life and your world?
The answer of course is reading. Some of my students wanted to cure world hunger, others wanted to be veterinarians or billionaire athletes. No answer is incorrect as long as students realize that all dreams require careful planning, preparation, and therefore reading and writing. No matter what grade you teach, any age group will have fun daydreaming about their dreams and taking steps to make them come true.
I instructed students to answer the following questions on paper:
- Do I need to go to college or post-graduate school to achieve my dream?
- What are the best schools, internships, jobs and volunteer opportunities that will prepare me to achieve my goal?
- What are the requirements to be accepted by these schools and careers?
- What information do I need to learn to make my dream a reality?
- What skills do I need to learn make my dream a reality?
- What community and expert support do I need?
- What can I read and learn about this summer to start preparing to achieve my dreams?
These questions would guide student’s summer reading. My aspiring basketball players spent the summer researching their favorite college basketball teams and the GPA and test score requirements for college players. They researched local basketball camps, and even the workout routines and nutrition plans of professional basketball players. My altruistic students researched global and local organizations supporting their chosen charitable causes. Artistic students researched photography, painting and poetry contests, along with famous art schools and local classes to improve their skills. Instead of completing a reading packet, students created an inspirational vision poster. Students printed photos from their online research, and illustrated the academic, volunteer and career steps they would take to achieve their goal.
For the first time in their lives, students were reading for a purpose, instead of a correct answer. In lieu of summer novel studies, encourage students to research and read informational texts to learn how to achieve their wildest dreams. This meaningful summer reading assignment will inspire students of any age to proactively transform future dreams into current realities.
Review and assign the Summer Reading Lesson Plan