Using Pinterest to Find Summer Reading Activities

I love Pinterest.  I can spend hours on it, just looking at things.  I can find ideas for ANYTHING on there!   Recipes, funny and/or inspirational sayings, and photos of places I want to visit.  I’ve seen baby and bridal shower ideas, and great photo tips.  It makes me think I can decorate and cook wonderful things.  It’s taught me that turquoise and coral go together, how to do a sock bun, and how to watermarble my fingernails.  Usually though, I get caught in the “it’s so cute and easy” craft trap, and then it never turns out like the picture and I get upset.

Another of my favorite things about Pinterest is that I can find a lot of great “teacher stuff”:  printables, ideas for anchor charts and book tie-ins.  For the purpose of this post, I wanted to create a Pinterest board with summer reading / motivational ideas that teachers can use with their students.  (Click here to take you directly to my board.)  There are some additional ideas pinned there for people to use with their own children, too.

(If you don’t know what Pinterest is, or are scared of it, its like a giant online bulletin board.  You “pin” photographs that link back (usually) to the original content.  For example, if you were looking for a chocolate chip cookie recipe, you would “pin” the picture you find and that “pin” links back the site where the actual recipe is.  So, when you go to bake your cookies, you’d click on the “pin” and it would take you to the recipe.  For the “official” explanation, click here )

Since it’s almost the end of the school year, I wanted to look for some ideas to send home with my students to encourage them to read over the summer.   Believe me, I know that reading should be its own reward, but there are just times when kids need a little extra boost.  I can remember a few summers when I was younger that my mom could not get me to read at all—unless there was a prize involved, or it was a competition with my little sister.  There were many days where she had to set the timer on the microwave and make me sit on the steps and read until it went off.  And now look at me!  I can hardly stop reading!

For each book your child reads, he/she earns a segment of the bookworm; every fourth or fifth segment hides the promise of a prize, such as an ice-cream cone or stickers. Glue construction-paper segments onto paper or poster board (cut a worm pattern from plain paper first); for prize segments, cut segments from folded paper, glue down the back, then open and draw a picture of the prize inside. Tack down flap with a sticker.  (via the website)

You could do this one of two ways, I think.  Either have it as an activity your students can do with parents (and parents provide prizes at the designated spots), or have students fill in the segments and turn in to you at the end of summer for a prize.

Here’s another cute game (thats also printable).  Its customizable to suit your needs.  All you would need to do is set your goals and print!

There are a ton of free printables.  I really like the Bingo card (the left picture).  You set the designated amount of time you want the child to read (say 20 minutes), and there are various locations / times that they have to mark off to get bingo (prize), or if they want to go for the gold, have them play “blackout”.   Click here for more printables.

This link includes a “reading kit” (reading notes, reading log, some “this book belongs to” stickers) and also a Dr. Seuss quote printable, a book checkout log, and those cute bookworm stickers.  I like ready made things that I can just print out.  Let’s face it, I could never make something that cute on my own!

Oh man!  What I wouldn’t give for a summer reading teepee or tent!  But its not really about the actual teepee or tent, its the feeling of reading in some place new and special.  It’s why kids like to read in old bathtubs or under your desk.  Its new.  Its different.  Its cool.  If you want the step by step directions on how to make a summer reading teepee, click here . And for the Flickr page of the tent, click here.

You could make this into a summer reading log, journal, anything.  I don’t know how cute MINE would actually turn out, but it looks easy enough!  For directions and supplies, click here.  The directions include a printable for a “very scientific rating system” (below) that I think kids will enjoy.  If you make these with your students to send home, make sure you send home star stickers for them to rate their books.

Make a summer reading box.  It looks like all you need are old cereal boxes and whatever you want to decorate.  If you’re really good, you can get two reading boxes out of one cereal box!  Here is the original post

Here’s a cute as a button free reading log printable (the page has printables for June, July and August)

And for this one that isn’t month specific.

Around the World in 80 days setting bingo.  To mark off a square, kids need to read a book that is set in (or talks about) that square.  For example, the top left square is “the forest”, so to get that square, a child needs to read a book set in the forest.  Here’s the printable link.

I leave you with this:  Pinterest is fun, yet addicting.  Kind of like reading.  I hope you all have a wonderful summer and read lots of great books!

Amanda Furman is just finishing her 8th year of teaching, her 6th teaching grades 3-5 English Language Learners.  She recently graduated with her masters in Reading Education.  She has served as a Round 2 judge on the Cybils Easy Reader/ Early Chapter book committee and on the Elementary reader selection committee for the Virginia Reader’s Choice.  When she isn’t busy spreading the love of reading, she and her husband like to travel (you can read about their upcoming roadtrip adventures @ The Furmans On Tour ( flowboard (surfing and bodyboarding on a manmade wave), take photographs (and of course, pin stuff on pinterest).  She blogs at Maestra Amanda’s Bookshelf( and posts random thoughts on twitter @maestra_amanda