Blogger Stacy Dillon

Summer Reading

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It is time for school librarians to dust off their summer reading lists and refresh them.  I know that the public librarians are wondering how we can possibly just start thinking about summer reading now, but in the school things are a bit different.  We tend to release the students to you all to fulfill their summer reading duties!

Since the majority of librarians at my school came from the public systems, we are hyper sensitive to the look and feel of our summer lists.  We remember keenly the super long, out-of-print, completely off grade level lists that we had handed to us.  So we make sure not to contribute to that problem.

My own lists are updated every year with award winners, books that will give students a running start in terms of curriculum, books that provide both mirror and window opportunities as well as some personal favorites.  I don’t reinvent the wheel every year, but instead add about 30-40% new titles each year.

In the past I reformatted the lists to read “Lower Elementary” (grades 1 and 2) and “Upper Elementary” (grades 3 and 4). While I enjoyed the fluidity, the parents were much more comfortable with set grades.  So there is quite a bit of overlap in titles between the grades. And that is ok.

This year, I am thinking of embedding some book trailers into the lists as well to freshen them up even more.

What do you do to your reading lists to keep them fresh?


  1. Steve

    Kids, especially those at progressive schools, are more apt to enjoy reading books that are current and have relevant current themes. Still, you don’t want to just point them to junk. For example, the whole dystopia is so hot, but you want to really pick well written ones. I guess that’s one thing I strive to do!

  2. Monica

    “I know that the public librarians are wondering how we can possibly just start thinking about summer reading now,” HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA *tears*

    Sorry, as a public librarian who has spent the last 3 months frantically trying to prepare her Summer Reading Program so I can start sending marketing materials out next week, this was a very funny line.

    Also, I love the attention to detail you have to your summer lists. Still waiting to hear from our schools! I got to sit in on two meetings last year and felt like everything I had to say during the first meeting was ignored, then the second meeting just tried to help every way I could from that point on. Didn’t see a single school librarian — don’t know if they were intentionally not included or were not able to attend the meeting. Now, I’m just trying to put together a wish list for each of the grades and keep trying to get in contact with the teachers involved in last year’s summer reading and hope for the best.

    Oh and if this helps, the biggest complaint I’ve heard about our school system’s summer reading was that the teachers didn’t do anything with the reading when school was back in session, so the reluctant readers felt like it was a waste of time and gave up. The big readers just loved having a new list of books to browse through, so it didn’t matter to them as much, but I even heard that complaint from some of our great readers!

  3. Jessica

    Summer reading lists cause trouble in the public library summer reading program. Try reading Donalyn Miller’s excellent book, The Book Whisperer. She (and I) both work feverishly to get kids excited about reading whatever they love. We then coach them as fellow readers to books we love. As they read and chat with us they gain skills and confidence. Stop giving lists. The kids have actually told me they don’t want to read for the SRP because they have school reading to do and they’re avoiding that! It’s better to work with your public librarian to develop a really stellar SRP that inspires and excites kids.

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