Summer reading engagement at your school can depend heavily on your outreach and marketing tactics to students and families. And the earlier you devise a strategy to spread the word, the better! Start building interest for summer reading in the spring months with these tips to help increase and sustain engagement throughout the summer.
- Amp up the excitement at school before the break.
Share your challenge details with students in the springtime to get them excited to participate over the summer. You can post flyers or posters in the library, go on morning announcements to spread the word, make guest appearances in English Language Arts classes, remind and show students how to log their reading in Beanstack when they come to the media center, and send flyers home.
And if your summer challenge includes any rewards or drawings, be sure to mention them! Even if you don't have a budget for prizes, you can consider adding school-specific incentives, like a dress-down day or homework pass, as rewards. The chance of winning a prize, whether for reaching a concrete reading goal or for reading at random, is a great way to motivate daily reading.
- Set a community goal.
To set a realistic goal, check your school community's average minutes read for the last few months within Insights to establish a baseline. You can also decide your goal by multiplying your school's total enrollment by the amount you'd like each student to read, like 300 students x 200 minutes each = 60,000 minutes. You want the goal to seem attainable, so if in doubt, scale it down a bit. You can always rase the goal if you crush it!
Then, add your goal to your landing page and keep your school community updated on your progress through social media updates and emails.
- Engage your school leadership.
When students see their teachers and principals getting involved, especially in goofy ways, their excitement and participation go through the roof. Talk to your school leadership early to see if they'll participate in concrete ways, like by starring in a promotional video, sharing what they're reading, or offering to get pie-d in the face, dunked, or even hair dye-d if the school reaches their goal.
- Get social.
Go big on your social media campaign over the summer to reach kids and families while school is out. Reminder posts and videos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok can make a big impact in increasing visibility and participation, and can be a great way to interact with your community. You could even consider challenging a nearby school to a summer reading contest to stoke a reading rivalry and ignite students' competitive streaks.
- Partner with your local library.
Consider teaming up with your local library, especially if they're also running summer reading challenges with Beanstack! You can pursue a tandem connection so that your students' reading can count automatically toward both challenges or just promote each other throughout the summer season.