We are just ending our first full week of summer vacation, and some of us spent it reading! The Charlotte Public Library and Charlotte Central School are celebrating a 4th year of collaboration on our “Classic Connections” Middle School Summer Reading Program. This past week, thanks to a generous grant from a local patron, 20 CCS 7th & 8th graders spent two hours a day with us at the public library discussing Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells; adapted by Lewis Helfand.
What? Middle schoolers in the library during summer vacation? Whaaaattt? Yes, my friends, your close reading strategies are working. Here’s why the program works. Our awesome 7th & 8th grade Language Arts teachers offer the completion of this program as a choice for students to satisfy their summer reading requirements. That’s really amazing and has a huge impact on attendance! Their support is the key. I’d like to share some of our students’ accomplishments, as well as some of their own words. Over the course of the week, students:
Read 536 pages! Wow!
“Reading 90 pages [a night] goes faster than I thought.”
“I learned to organize my time so I finished all my reading.”
Contributed to daily group discussions of our readings.
“Discussing books is fun!”
“Graphic novels are just as good as a normal novel.”
“Steampunk is a fun genre.”
“Reading is fun.”
Contributed to the Young Writers Project with daily writing and podcasts!
“Podcasts are fun to do!”
“When you combine ideas, it has a better outcome.”
“I had fun on YWP.”
“Don’t change the YWP writing.”
Created altered books illustrating major symbols and themes from our readings.
“I learned how to ruin a book and then make it awesome!”
“Don’t change the fun art project.”
Of course, we also asked students for feedback. Middle schoolers are really good at giving feedback! For some, the genre was a challenge. For others, the amount of reading was challenging. Others requested more opportunities for movement, and would love a field trip incorporated into the program. We have done field trips in the past, and I agree. They do add to the program!
Here are a few pictures that show some highlights of the week.
Finally, I’d like to leave you with a quote from one of the students’ exit cards in the section “What I learned this week”:
“The future is what mankind makes of it.” Enough said. Happy summer!