Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Winter Vacation Reading

The end of the semester is right upon us, only two days remain here where I teach. This basically means that teaching and learning are put aside and everything turns toward having celebrations, enjoying some stress free days, and setting up some winter vacation reading guidelines.

That's right, I assign reading to my students for the vacation. I'm asking my class to read 1 hour per day, with Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, and New Years Day off. I let them select their own book, as long as it met length and level requirements, and they will complete some assignments, including a book report and chapter reporting pages, on them.

Teachers all over the country classically see a drop off in achievement when students return from vacation. This is understandable, because most kids go from day after day of work and practice to three weeks with no reading, no skill work, or anything.

I don't do winter reading to keep their skills from diminishing (which is more of a testing issue than anything else), I do it to show them that you don't have to be at school to read. Most of my students, at this point in the year, have found a genre or two that they really enjoy, and have said they want to read over the break. I'm giving them this opportunity to continue their hard work.

Do you do anything similar? Do you believe in working your students over vacation? I'm just wondering how common things like this are.


Anonymous said...

I have always done winter vacation reading. Some students complete it while others do not, but it is good practice for them. I do not have any suggestions for you, just to keep it up, it sounds like you know what you are doing.