Encourage reading with Serial Mash this summer

July 18, 2023

It can be hard to motivate children to continue to read over the summer holidays and as a result some schools report a drop in attainment in September. In this post, Cheryl Allibone, Year 2 Standards Lead and School Writing Advocate at St Nicholas Priory CE VC Primary School in Great Yarmouth, shares how she is using Serial Mash to encourage children to continue to read over the summer holiday.

The problem

"The saying is true, nobody quite knows tired like a teacher at the end of the summer term, but the summer break is definitely a blessing and a curse. After spending ten and a half months pushing constantly for progress, using every spare minute of the day to carry out interventions and squeezing as many readers as possible into that tiny gap between collecting coats and going home, we then have 6 weeks of nothing. No interventions, no early morning reading and definitely no common exception word practice. That’s where Serial Mash has really helped.

Many of our parents have difficulties accessing books with their children for various reasons. Many are EAL and find reading English challenging. Many work long hours and can’t access resources such as the local library and, being in an area of high deprivation, the sheer cost of books is just an insurmountable problem.

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Cheryl Allibone

The Serial Mash solution

  • Serial Mash means I am able to set targeted level books for all the children to read alongside setting the matching quizzes and games to give a fun way to encourage reading throughout the summer.
  • I can make sure the children access books that meet their interests and reading levels and check their comprehension at the same time.I can set voice notes to encourage the children and explain what I’d like them to do. This means parents don’t need to be able to read or speak English in order for the children to access books.
  • I can also schedule chapters to start and finish at various points across the summer so that, as a teacher, I can have a break too.
  • The quizzes are self-marking so there isn’t a huge pile of marking in September and the children know immediately how they’ve done.

Motivating summer reading

As a Year 2 teacher and writing lead for the school, I know the importance of reading in developing writing and the skills necessary to become a greater depth writer. I’m also acutely aware how challenging this is to achieve if children have limited reading experience. Therefore, throughout the summer I’ll be setting chapters for the children to read and issuing Dojo points for every chapter they read and complete the quiz for. If the children read on average a book a week, I’ll provide them with a prize alongside their Dojo points. I’m hoping that by encouraging the children to continue to read during the holidays and providing rewards for this, the drop in attainment normally noted in September will be reduced in both reading and writing making September less of a curse and more of a blessing."

- Cheryl Allibone, Year 2 Standards Lead and School Writing Advocate, St Nicholas Priory CE VC Primary School, Great Yarmouth

This summer, you can join in with our #SerialMashSummer reading challenge for free, gaining access to over 200 eBooks as well as activities and teacher resources. we believe that reading is not just a fundamental skill, but a gateway to boundless creativity, learning and imagination. #SerialMashSummer is an excellent opportunity to keep pupils reading and engaged over the holidays, and to try out Serial Mash for free.

serial mash summer

Video overview

St Nicholas Priory have also produced their own video overview of Serial Mash, covering access, tricky word definitions, quizzes and activities, and video narration. We've set this link to skip past the first minute, which contains information only relevant to their school:

Try Serial Mash for free with #SerialMashSummer

Serial Mash is an ever-growing online library of over 140 books aimed at children aged 5-11. With a new chapter every week of term, writing activities and guided reading resources, all the hard work is done for you. Find out for yourself and try Serial Mash for free during our #SerialMashSummer reading challenge.