This is a guest post by blogger Elizabeth Hall that originally ran in April 2014. If you like what you see here, you can check out her blog, Kickin' It in Kindergarten, for more of her writing, or you can click here to see her other contributions to our blog!
The itch of summer isn’t felt just by us. It spreads like wildfire through classrooms all over the place beginning at the end of April. May is crazier than the holiday season for me. I know you know what I’m talking about! There aren’t enough color codes on my calendar to organize all of the different activities and school programs that are happening at the end of the year.
Reading is one thing that seems to be put to the side at this time of the year. Most of the students have mastered the actual goal of learning how to reading, so parents and teachers do not emphasize at home reading as much. My biggest goal is to motivate my students to read more. I want them to want to read. One way I do this in my classroom (I usually start in April), is give them a 100 Book Challenge. If you start later in the year, you can make it be fewer books.
The 100 Book Challenge is exactly what it sounds like. Students have about five to six weeks to read 100 books. I tell them that the book has to have at least ten pages. If the book has twenty pages, then it counts twice. When the student reaches 100 books, we have a bit of a celebration. I let the kids dance around and they get a reading medal. They also get to sign their name on a poster in the hall. There are tons of trophy companies out there that have medals. You can find reading-specific medals as well.
Another way I try to keep my students engaged, even when I’m not with them, is by giving them a summer bucket. In the bucket, I always give them a book and a suggested reading list. I also fill it up with other fun summer things that they can use over the summer. The buckets can be purchased inexpensively at any craft store or on-line.
I know you are just as excited about the days of staying in your PJs until noon as I am, but we still owe it to our students to encourage them and believe in them. Each time you say or think “I am so over it,” remember all of the hard work that you have put in to each student!
Happy Summer Reading!
Author Bio (2014)
This is my fifth year as a kindergarten teacher. The best part of kindergarten is watching a child fall in love with reading. It has become my passion to show children the possibilities and amazing adventures literature can offer. I love watching their eyes light up when they tell me they can read their favorite book, or they can’t wait to go back to the library! I have the best job in the world!
I am so lucky to have such a wonderful support system in and out of school. My family lives close and I get to spend a lot of time with them! While I am not at school, I enjoy running, teaching spin class, swimming, playing kickball, spending time with my husband, and traveling. I also have a sheltie named Maggie, which is spoiled rotten. I am married to the best guy in the world, work with wonderful people, and have fabulous students!
We're pleased to offer ready-made classroom libraries to supplement your collection and give your students plenty of books to choose from for their challenge! Click here to see them on our website, or click the image below to download a brochure!