March is reading month and we have so many fun activities going on at our school to engage our students into reading!
Our school theme this year revolves around hockey! Students are given a log to record all their reading for the week. Each week that they turn in their reading log, they receive a hockey puck with their name on it. This is proudly displayed. I have my display on my classroom door. (See below. This is from week one, with few hockey pucks on it.) If students turn in their reading log three times, they get a chance at shooting a hockey puck at our principal (as a goalie).
Our school also competes in a “friendly” competition among the grade levels in a read aloud competition called Reading Star. Our students pick a book and are given 2 minutes (1 minute for the first round) to read it aloud. They are then judged using a rubric on their voice volume, fluency, expression, sitting up straight, showing pictures, and so on. With the first round, everyone can participate and the top 6 then move into round 2. For each round, the students need to pick a different book and is judged by a different teacher. The highest three readers of round 2 then move on to the third round, where it is narrowed down to one. Then one student from each classroom competes against the other classrooms in their grade level. Unfortunately, some hearts get broken, but I love that students are building up their fluency, along with being intrigued in books. I have seen time and time again students say, “Oh, I wanted to hear the end of that story” and then look for it at the library!
In my classroom, I have created a display where students graph the number of books they have completed on their level during reading month. Each student has to give me a brief summary of the book after completing it. If they do well, I provide them with a “gold coin” that they write the title and author of the book on. Then they place it above their leprechaun with their number. (See below.) I haven’t decided if the reader with the most “gold” will be rewarded. I was thinking I might let them order a free book from scholastic.
I have also jumped on board with the March Madness Reading board. I saw it from my blogging friend, The Brown Bag Teacher and absolutely loved it! However, I decided instead of doing novels, I wanted to do picture books! I love read aloud time (it’s one of the few times my students are nearly 100% engaged and quiet!). I choose 16 picture books that I read aloud to the students. They then vote and it slowly gets narrowed down to one grand champion (We are still in the process, so the picture below is not complete yet). Another thing that I like about this is that we talk together as a class about how we notice new things that we didn’t notice the first time we heard it.
Finally, one of the last things I really enjoy about reading month is that we have a school-wide reading rally. During this time, students rotate from room to room for 20-minute reading sessions. Ahead of time, we break our class lists up and group them with other classes. Then we come up with a game plan of where they start and end. Each teacher picks a theme for their classroom, such as the beach room, reading with flashlights room, poetry room, comic room, and so on. Students can travel from room to room with their own books to read or the books of that themed room. Last year, I did the comic room and had tons of comic strips and comic books out for each group to enjoy. This year, I plan on having the poetry room. I’ll be dimming the lights a bit, creating a relaxed atmosphere with poetry on charts all around the room and poetry books to dive into!
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