Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Summer Reading Goals & Paper Chains


These last couple weeks of school are just flying by with all the hustle and bustle of our End of Year celebrations. I am so very proud of all that my firsties have accomplished this school year.

The end of the year brings such a flurry of emotions. Excitement for summer, inspiration for a new school year, relief, stress, and the anticipation of less stress. Woot!

However, with that, the last day blues may start to kick in and you begin to worry that your young readers will forget all the wonderful strategies you taught them throughout the year. The dreaded "summer slide"...

To help combat this fear, my students set reading goals for themselves to help hold them accountable. We created Summer Reading Goal Paper Chains!

I began by telling my students the truth of what happens to students over summer break….the “summer slide”. They were appalled by this news. I asked them what could they do to avoid such a phenomenon. I happily received a smart answer: READ during the summer.

At this point, my students began making statements that they were going to read EVERY day. But then others piped in, and said they may not be able to do that because of family vacations and of course some of my firsties have a summer birthday so they would be too busy to read on that day (they are too cute).

This led to discussion of how many days long our summer vacation is. So, we counted: 76! We had a serious discussion of what was an acceptable number of days to read since summer was a busy time with their families.

At the primary level, I found it best to measure reading by days rather than by the number of books since there is a great variation in their reading levels. Some students are reading chapter books while others may still be approaching grade level standards.

They then began to set realistic reading goals for themselves and recorded them on a Summer Reading Goal Sheet (available HERE at my TpT store):

Then the crafting began. We made our paper chains to match the amount of days we planned to read.

I heard them counting by 1s, 2,s and making their chains in groups of 10. I also heard them discussing what books they would read:

“This link is for a nonfiction book about sharks, I want to learn more about killer sharks!” 

“This group of 10 links is for The Magic Tree House chapter book I am going to read because it has 10 chapters…I’ll read a chapter a night!”

This is music to a teacher’s ears!

Not only does the Summer Reading Goal Paper Chain serve its purpose to motivate your young readers to continue their love of reading over the summer, it took them a good hour to create them! It was a great end of the year craftivity! Not that I want to kill time or just throw busy work at them. They truly enjoyed making their paper chains and they were completely engaged in creating them for a great length of time! 

My firsties took these Summer Reading Goal Paper Chains home to their families.

As they read each day over the summer they plan to rip off one link. This colorful paper chain will serve as a visual reminder for them during summer break to read, read, and read some more... and avoid the "summer slide"!

This is a great visual reminder for parents as well; of the value of summer reading.

If you are looking for a Summer Reading List for your students, be sure to visit For the Love of Teacher’s article on Get Your Summer Read On- Reading List & Tips. She offers some great recommendations for favorite reads for kids of all levels, as well as tips and suggestions to provide your students and parents to help avoid the “summer brain drain”. You can read it HERE.

If you would like to read more about our End of Year celebrations, visit the blog post:

Happy Summer Reading!


  1. Love this idea! I also like the "realistic" goals being set and not making them feel too overwhelmed but still motivated!

  2. This is a wonderful idea! Not just a visual reminder but also kinesthetic as they rip off each chain! I love this! You have so many great ideas :-D