Sunday, January 19, 2014

Spark Student Motivation to Read!

I'm linking up very late on this Saturday night with Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching for Spark Student Motivation Saturday!  

One of my favorite things to do for as long as I can remember is reading.  Not surprising considering I am the daughter of a librarian.  I grew up in the Flint Public Library and remain a loyal library patron to this day.  I have always had a very special relationship with books, and they were a precious part of my childhood.  Meg Ryan said it best as Kathleen Kelly in "You've Got Mail"..."When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does."  

One of my goals as a teacher is to inspire this same love of reading in my students.  My passion for this project was reignited a couple summers ago when I read The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller.  

Front Cover

One of the things that Donalyn talks about in her book is challenging her students to read 40 books in a school year.  So, for the past couple years I have been challenging my students to read more than they ever have before!  

This year I created an area in my library for books that I recommend.  I first talked about this in my post "Mrs. Rye's Recommended Reads".  It's a special area of my room that is devoted to books I have read and loved.  The first two weeks of school I added a book a day, and since then I have added a book a week.  


I love to tell them about these books and see the interest spark in their eyes!  Last week I talked about one of my all-time favorite books, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.  

I told them a little about the main characters, where the story takes place, and explained a little about sharecropping as it's an important aspect of the story.  Then I said that this book has my favorite scene of any book I've ever read.  I explained to them that in the story the African American kids have to walk miles to school every day through mud and rain while the white students get to ride a school bus.  The bus driver gets a sick enjoyment out of splashing mud on the kids who have to walk, but one day they get their revenge!  And!  I went to walk my five copies of the book back to the Recommended Reads section and before I even got there all of the copies had been snatched out of my hands!  

If you haven't already noticed I love Charlie Brown!  I was thrilled when I found the perfect way to document how many books my students have read.

Each student has a chart which looks like a mini gameboard.  Each time they finish and talk to me about a book, they get a sticker to track their progress.

Then I figured out how many books the entire class needed to finish for the whole year and divided it by four.  I told my class that each time they made it 25% of the way to the year long goal we would have a reading celebration, and I keep track of that on this goal chart.

We had our first reading celebration a while back and one of the things we did was have a Book Light Read In.

I got this great idea from Tara at 4th Grade Frolics when she talked about her Flashlight Friday!  I didn't find the flashlights at the dollar store, but I did find the book lights. Either way it's fun to snuggle up and read in the dark!

Another tool I added this year to help keep my students on track to reach their goal is my Reading Goal Progress Report.  I send this home with each student at the halfway and ending point of each marking period.  

You can find my Reading Goal Progress Reports for free at my TPT store!

Check out all the other ways to motivate your students at Head Over Heels for Teaching!


  1. I loved The Book Whisperer too! It changed the way I taught reading. I have also challenged my students to read 40 books this year, and I have one who has already made it and a few more in hot pursuit of her.

    Thanks for sharing your celebration! My students would love to have a book light reading party.

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  2. Thank you for sharing so many great ways to encourage reading in the classroom. I like the way you are tracking the reading progress of a class as a whole.

    Fit to be Fourth

  3. I just re-read The Book Whisperer and found some great ideas for my fifth grade classroom. I am planning on making a recommendation board and I love the one you have! I also like your theme posters, are they yours? I'd love to grab a copy!

    Sara :)
    The Colorful Apple

  4. The Book Whisperer is on my professional to read list. I love Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry! When Cassie takes Miz Lillian Jean in the woods and beats her tail....hilarious! I love your "Recommended Reads" section. I have a "What We're Reading" list outside of our classroom where we write down books that we're reading.

    The book light reading party is amazing!

    Surviving Sixth Grade

    Visit Me on Facebook - Surviving Sixth

  5. Very nice post!!! I am also a member of TBTS. I am looking forward to seeing more from you. :)

  6. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work