As we close down our school libraries and think ahead to the next school year, all of us are thinking about our summer reading list. What will we bring home to read? What should we read first? How can we balance professional reading and reading for fun during summer break? All these questions call to us as school librarians and book lovers. Here are 5 tips to manage the large task of summer reading lists.
Tip #1: Books I know I want to book talk day 1
Being ready for book talks as soon as the new school year starts off and running is a great way to relieve pressure as the year begins. So much of our jobs becomes putting out fires that pop up as the year starts. If we have our book talk and book ideas pre-planned we can take some of that extra stress away when we are asked by teachers and students what they should read.
Tip #2: Books that connect to new curriculum changes
We all are aware that curriculum across grade levels changes as updates happen year to year. Part of our roles in our buildings is to know what is new so we can have updated curated resources and materials ready as the year begins. Taking some of those new books home for the summer, and starting to make connections to work with teachers can be huge to starting the year off ready for those changes.
Tip #3: Books that are on your state award lists
Each state has numerous book award lists depending on the age of the students you are working with. This site from Follett will give you great places to start, no matter where you are in the country. Your state award lists will have great recommendations for readers in your area, and they usually try to incorporate all genres and appeal to all types of readers.
Tip #4: Books that are trending on Goodreads, Instagram, and Twitter
Opening up social media to see what other book lovers are talking about is a great way to see what your students will be asking to read or wanting to hear about. If a book is getting thousands of likes and shares, blogged about by tons of people, or just photographed and posted all over social media then add it to your summer reading list. Your students or staff will have seen it and having read it yourself can open up book talks, conversations, and relationships with readers in your school.
Tip #5: Sequels, just for fun!
As librarians, book lovers, and busy working professionals we don’t often have time to read for just plain fun. The majority of the books that I read are for school-related topics or book talks. Even when I find a series that I love, it is so hard during the school year to continue to read the next books knowing that I won’t be able to book talk or connect them to new projects in some way. This summer adding a few sequels to your reading list will add that little hint of fun and enjoyment of a longer story that many readers crave.
As school librarians our minds are never truly turned off from school on summer vacation. We are always thinking about what is coming up in the new school year ahead and what we can do during the summer to help with the crunch of the new year jump off. Organizing your summer reading list with these tips will help summer reading feel less like work and more like the best professional development we could ask for.
Author: Elizabeth Libberton
Elizabeth Libberton is the library media specialist at St. Charles East High School in St. Charles Illinois. She currently writes book reviews for School Library Journal. She is a member of the ALA Awards Selection Committee. Also, she is a member of the steering committee for the AISLE Lincoln Book Award.