ReCreate Reading: A High School Summer Reading Program That Focuses on Pleasure Reading

Lauri Vaughan February 5, 2017, 1 comment

ReCreate Reading is a summer program that leverages a community’s enthusiasm for reading to infuse less frequent readers with an eagerness to read for fun. By nature, schools are hotbeds of bibliophiles -- teachers and administrators who enjoy a myriad of fiction and non-fiction titles appropriate for and usually shared with younger audiences; students who voraciously consume excellent young adult literature that, like Harry Potter, older readers delightfully discover. ReCreate Reading seeks to cross fertilize these interests; amplifying a celebration of thrilling narrative, nail-biting adventure and thought-provoking prose that organically infects a large majority of the student body with a genuine interest in reading.

In the spring, all adult participants sponsor a book in anticipation of facilitating a discussion with 16 or fewer students. All students select from among the list of titles and agree to read and be prepared to discuss the book upon the return to school. During the first week of school, students disperse to their book groups for a 45-minute discussion. Beyond the embarrassment suffered by the unprepared, there is no penalty for students who do not fulfill their commitment to read the book.

Reading for pleasure is the prime objective of ReCreate Reading and it is important to make this clear in introductory materials. As such, it is also important that no penalty exists for students who do not fulfill their promise to read the book they've selected. Yes, some students will not pick up their book and this will frustrate some teachers. Many studies indicate that given the opportunity to choose a book, most teens do read. Not only that, but most read their books more earnestly than they would a required title. We've experienced the reality of these studies with ReCreate Reading.

Type: Active
Age: High school
Optimal size: 20+
Estimated cost: Free
Planning time: 5+ hours
Frequency: One-time

Learning outcomes

The learner is curious about what the artist was thinking when crafting a work.

The learner demonstrates the ability to understand the feelings of others.

The learner is open to constructive criticism, unexpected ideas, new ways of thinking, and growth. The learner is willing to re-evaluate personal ideas and opinions when faced with new information.

The learner understands cross-cultural relationships and collaborates with people of other cultures with humility and empathy.

The learner understands cross-cultural relationships and collaborates with people of other cultures with humility and empathy.

The learner identifies and understands pathways to opportunities that allow for personal, professional, or academic growth.


ReCreate Reading is an annual summer reading program. Set up begins in the early spring, when all teachers select a book to sponsor. Teachers are encouraged to pick books for pleasure reading -- popular mystery, fantasy, science fiction and non-fiction appropriate for teens. Once the list is complete and promotional materials are ready for launch, the titles are announced to the student body. All students select one of the books and agree to participate in a discussion in the fall. They have the summer to read the book.

The first week of school, during a designated 45-minute discussion session, all students meet with their book groups. There is no test or quiz or written assignment associated with the discussion. The focus is on having an engaging discussion about a good book.

For more information about setting up a program like ReCreate Reading, including a myriad of details, logistics, and a suggested calendar, visit ReCreate Reading for Program Directors. The most recent ReCreate Reading website -- created annually for students to select their books -- see this LibGuide.


Conduct surveys of teachers and students immediately following book discussion day in the fall.

Actively seek out informal discussions with students and teachers regarding their experiences.

Invite faculty to participate in brainstorming meetings to improve on program design.

Post a program

Post an activity that you think will be useful to others.

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