Remember why you started

Updated: Recording My Summer Reading for My Students


The longer I teach middle school reading, the more young adult books I read. And the more young adult books I read, the harder it is becoming for me to remember them!

I’ve been thinking for a while that I need to start recording what I’ve read, but I was intimidated by the idea of recording my reading because I didn’t start at the BEGINNING. For some reason, it felt like I would be “cheating” the dozens of YA books I’ve read in the past by not including them in any type of list, and the idea of trying to make a list of ALL the YA a book I’ve ever read was intimidating.

Then I realized that I was just getting farther behind by not starting where I was! I decided that my summer reading would be a good time to begin keeping track of the YA books I read. Maybe someday I’ll be inspired to go back and try to add some of the books I’ve read in the past. Maybe I won’t. But at least now I’ve started!

The purpose for keeping track of my reading is to help my students choose books to read themselves, so I set up a place on my classroom blog called “Book Recommendations” and I am planning to make a new post for each YA book I read. As of today (updated 7/15/13), there are 8, and I’m hoping it will grow.

I decided that each “review” will have 2 sections:
1) Why did I read this?
2) Who would like it most?
I also included the lexile level, because I have discovered that some of my more math-centered students enjoy knowing it.

I decided not to include the actual cover art for the books because after doing some research I couldn’t find a firm answer about whether it would fall under “fair use” to use cover art without permission for an online book review. Instead, I used Compfight to search for an image with a Creative Commons license and then used iPiccy to add the title and author of the book.


  1. Laura,
    What a great idea. I like your homemade book covers too. Fun, and your reason for doing it is a great role model for students.

    I like how you are keeping it simple. Your posts will be easier to keep up, and your students won’t have to read a long summary and analysis. They just want to know if they want to take a chance on it. Your short posts will give you more reminders if they should have any questions about the book at hand.

    So, I say great, well-thought-out, and ready for a summer of reading. I’m glad you got started!


    • Thanks, Denise. I figured the kids that need the most help choosing books are those that don’t have a natural love of reading, so I kept it short! Also, I thought those same kids might get something out of knowing WHY I picked up a book, because some of them think people only read because they “have to.”


  2. Laura, great idea! I decided the same thing about 2 years ago, only I make it easy on myself. I put my reviews on Goodreads and Shelfari, then put the shelf on my blog. I will be adding “who would like this book” next time, though, thanks to you! Have fun reading!

    • Thanks Joy!

      I love that idea. I used to keep a Goodreads portfolio, but I have let it lag over the past few years. A few years ago the 7th grade teachers in my building had each of their students keep a Shelfari page to record their reading for the year, and I believe they could comment on each other’s books and things. That is why I love technology!! There are so many awesome ways to share and connect with each other.

      Thanks for the comment!


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