Rewind back to August 2015, I had recently read The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. (BTW, if you have not read this book, you are missing out!!!). The book introduces the 40 Book Challenge; where you challenge students to read 40 books during the school year from different genres (future post in that later).
As a special education teacher, I often have very reluctant readers because it is often a challenging task for most of my students. I was determined this school year to get my students to love reading! But how?!
At first, my class of third graders were not happy to hear of this challenge and thought one book was a lot to read during the school year. So... I did some brainstorming for activities we could do to get the kids excited about reading. Well, the number one activity on the list that we do is Flashlight Friday.
There is just something special about getting cozy in your classroom, turn out the lights and reading with a flashlight! The students love to go under their desks, go in dark corners, and just READ... Ahhhhh! I found some good quality mini- flashlights at Marshall's and a pack of four finger lights at the Dollar Tree that students love just as much!
My co-teacher and I do other activities too. We do a snack and chat where the students share the book they're reading and provide a synopsis for their small group of classmates. This is for other students to explore different books that they might not normally pick out on their own! If their peers recommend a book, then it becomes a must read! The teachers provide the snack and allow time for the kids to chat about their books! Students also provide book commercials for their books; another way to get other students intrigued about a story! This "sells" the book to the students without giving the entire storyline away! My students even love reading to me; which totally makes this heart smile. I love what this challenge has done for my students. students that struggle, I have created a template for students to follow which you can find here!
Even the simplest of ideas, can get students EXCITED to read! For younger kids, you could have students bring in a stuffed animal, doll, or action figure to read to aloud. You can also pair up varying grade levels for Buddy Reading. Contests are always fun too! Students certainly love a bit of competition.
Back in January, my co-teacher and I decided to ask the students how they now feel about the 40 book challenge; and we were so happy and surprised how their feelings towards reading has changed!
I hope this post inspired you to try some new things in your classroom to get your students excited to read. Do you have other ideas that you would love to share?! Please comment below!