Getting Kids to Love Reading
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What do you do in your classrooms to encourage reading/literacy? Post your ideas here. :)
One thing that I'm doing in my second grade class is for the month of May, we have a Chapter Book Challenge. Our challenge is to read (I mean, REALLY read) as many chapter books as possible. I have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes... as well as honorable mentions for whoever participates. 1st place prize is to have McDonald's lunch with me, a new book, and a bookmark. ;) (You'd be surprised how excited they are about that!!) For each book they complete and get either a parent's signature OR take a quiz on, then they get a "book page" to fill out and put on their "book."
We have a bulletin board to track our progress:
This is to really raise the literacy standards in my class and to firm up a love of reading. I was tired of everyone (even other second grade teachers!!) saying that second graders can't read chapter books. BOLOGNA! Yes, they can. And they will love it. :)
I also have lots of books available for them to read in the classroom and to checkout to take home. Easy access can really make a difference!
I have a "Snuggle Up and Read" program in my SK/Grade 1 class. They bring a book home every day, if they want to, or whenever they need a new book. They read it to or with their parents. Parents help record the book, and initial the record sheet. At five books, they get a sticker prize. At 10 books, they get a "pencil box" prize (pencil or eraser). The only reason I give rewards is so that they make sure I see their record sheet at certain points. But, of course, there are other benefits to the reward system. The real reward is having parents and kids read together, and it's sad that the school has to be the catalyst for that. But it's working!
A couple of things that I do with my third graders that may be helpful (if you're already doing these, ignore):
1. Teach your students how to pick out a "Just Right" book, i.e., a book that has an interesting: title and/or topic, cover picture, and synopsis on the back cover; and a book that is not too easy/hard - use the "5 finger rule" - students should read the first 1 - 3 pages; if they come to 5+ words that they don't know, they should "keep that for later in the year" and pick out something that is more comfortable for their current reading level. If students are reading a Just Right book, they should be able to tell you the story elements at a brief conference; if not, I would have them reread the book.
2. Prepare some leveled book boxes, perhaps sorted by DRA or FP levels, and put the names of the students that most of the books in the box would be just right for. Then when they choose a book from the general classroom library and can't retell it, direct them to choose from their leveled book box. They should know that this box contains just right books for them, and that you are expecting them to be accountable for those stories whether it be an oral conference with you or a written response that gets passed in.
3. Prepare boxes of book series (MTH, Horrible Harry, Boxcar, Cam Jansen, etc.), and read the first of the series aloud to a small group or the class to spark interest around the characters and premise of the series.
4. Hold them accountable for a written book response for each IR book they finish. Provide a choice of generic book response sheets that students will choose from when they finish reading. The sheets should be leveled somewhat to basically match the writing/comprehension ability of the students (but don't make one for each individual - use your judgment).
5. Encourage students to read from a variety of genres. Have students read a book independently, and then share their book with a buddy reading the same genre. They can then have a short book chat, followed by completing a simple book response sheet about their book. They could also compare it to their partner's book.
6. Try to get some books in pairs so kids can read independently first, and then read the same book with a buddy and write a short response about the book and about their sharing activity.
The book sharing activity might be something that they have to earn, and they can do that by doing a good job on their IR work.
I tell my students that very long books are good for at home, but that they should be reading a wide variety of authors and genres in school. Good luck!