As teachers we are always looking for quick and easy ways to create engagement and excitement in our classrooms. I wanted to share with you my top 5 ways to create excitement around reading for students. We all have those reluctant readers, or even those readers who haven't quite found their groove and love of reading yet. After using these 5 different ways to get my students excited to read I am sure one or more will work for your classroom.
Book raffles create so much excitement around new books! The next time you get any amount of new books for your classroom (scholastic orders, book fairs, amazon, student donations, half price books, etc!), consider doing a student book raffle! Here is how I have done this in my classroom. Tweak it to work the best for you!
- For about a week I announce we are having a book raffle on Friday
- During morning meeting or at the end of the day I show the new books, read the synopsis, and create some excitement around the choices
- I display them on the board for the week-students can choose to read about them or look at them as the weeks go on so they know which ones they want to “win”
- I use small squares of bright paper as raffle tickets and hand them out for various things, good behavior, quiet line, paper brought back signed, etc
- Students write their name on them and keep them for the book raffle
- On Friday, I place the buckets with the books around the room. Students walk around and decide where to put their tickets. They can choose all in one or to choose multiple books.
- We then draw one ticket at a time and make a big and exciting announcement for who “won” that book!
- If their name is drawn again they can choose ONE TIME to trade.
- They don't keep the book..they just get to read it first! Then they pass it on to the next excited reader.
- Sometimes not everyone “wins” a book…to me this is OK. Do what what works for you!
Flashlight Friday (or any day!)
Flashlight Friday is a fun reward or just exciting afternoon in your classroom! My students have earned this many times from playing classroom management games (bingo, unscramble, Make a Deal, etc.) Here are some tips:
- 20-30 minutes of reading
- Use the end of the day or maybe after lunch/recess time
- Have students bring their own flashlight (or 2 to share!) and/or grab some cheap ones on amazon here
- Sometimes I let them bring a pillow or small blanket for that small part of the day
- Lights off
- Everyone is reading the entire time…. They LOVE IT!
Book clubs can be done in a variety of ways. This is a big area where I love to foster student independence. I start by assigning them to a book club group. Sometimes I assign them a book to read together and other times I let them choose from a choice of 2 books. This helps me stay in control but brings in that student choice and buy in.
My book clubs are very student led. Book clubs meet once a week as part of their station time. I make it a weekly station to allow it to fit into the day. They read their book on the same day of the week during independent reading time and then meet with their group during their station time. During their book club meetings they use these reading discussion cards to facilitate discussions about the text. I also assign them a variety of graphic organizer slides to complete as they go through their book. I monitor their discussions and sometimes sit ant meet with them, but not always! Giving them the ownership and setting high expectations will do wonders for your classroom!
One thing that is SO important is allowing time in your day for students to read WHAT THEY WANT! I allow students to choose their books they have in their “book bags” for the station work. I also allow them to choose what they read for 20 minutes a day after recess during independent reading time. In addition, I don't pick their library books or micromanage their choices either. I will say, we talk a lot about what a “good fit” book is. Other than that, student choice in their reading selections is really important. This helps them fall in love with the types of books they enjoy.
Yep…PICTURE BOOKS! No matter the grade level there should be some picture books incorporated into your day/week. This can be done in a variety of ways but here are some of my favorite ways to do this:
- Morning meeting (here are some of my favorites!)
- Social emotional lessons
- Introducing new skills (ex: cause and effect)
- End of the day read aloud
Ditch the Reading Rewards
Ditch the rewards that are attached to reading. I believe there is a difference in celebrating amount books read and rewarding them for the number of books read and reading levels. Students tracking what they read and finish can be celebrated..but I truly don’t think this should be made into a competition. Also, displaying and rewarding reading levels creates anxiety for lots of students which can dim their love of reading really fast. My recommendation is to just be mindful of these practices.
Another fun and easy thing to do to get your readers excited and loving reading is to feature some NEW reads to your classroom library! You can do this on your white board or in a shelf in your library area. Here is my best tip: Join Scholastic Book Clubs to easily earn points to help add books every so often to your classroom for FREE! (this helps with those book raffles too!)
One of my tips above is letting students choose what they read. It's important to discuss what a “good fit” book is to also teach HOW to choose books they want to explore. One of the ways I do this is with these bookmarks! You can grab them for free below!! (if you are already on our email list you can still get this freebie to your inbox by putting in your information below!..p.s. personal email is always best so you never miss anything fun!)
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