Rockmart Students Know “Reading’s What You Need” This Summer

Van Wert Elementary and Rockmart Public Library in Rockmart recently released their third annual summer reading parody video titled “Dear Summer Reader” that playfully lays out everything students need to know about why it’s so important to read when school’s out.

Christy Sisneros, the Directed Studies teacher at Van Wert, said the school has seen a significant increase in summer reading by giving incentives to students who participate in programs at their local libraries—and promoting it with popular video parodies each year.

Additionally, Get Georgia Reading partner myON delivering thousands of free books to all Georgia youth during the summertime has given Van Wert students who don’t have books at home the opportunity to read whenever they want on their computers and mobile devices.

“This has helped our ‘summer slide’ problem by offering nontraditional ways to get books to kids in our community,” said Sisneros. “There has been a stability in Lexile levels of students who joined the summer reading program in the last few years, as opposed to the decrease in Lexile levels we see in other students. It also allows our school, community, and parents to all become involved in educating our students.”

Van Wert students love to share what and where they are reading during the summer months on the school’s social media pages—and they are eager to show off their summer reading logs from the local library when they come to the school’s open house.

“I’ve had many parents tell me that they had never seen their child read during the summer until we started our collaboration with the library and my parodies,” said Sisneros, who began making videos after receiving training when the school system started integrating more technology into lessons a few years ago.

Sisneros’ first parody was created in 2015 to help promote and encourage students to believe they can “show what they know” on tests. The school’s support—combined with the students’ enthusiasm—led her to continue making more in an effort to engage and inspire young learners.

“Part of my job is to try and find ways to fill in gaps we see at our school,” explained Sisneros. “The summer reading slide is something I wanted to try to make smaller.”

Check out more parodies from Van Wert on Sisneros’ YouTube channel.