Reading Ritual: Character Hall of Fame

Encourage an inviting classroom environment with reading rituals.

Reading rituals...they are an integral part of our reading classrooms in order to create an environment for readers to be fostered, grown, and encouraged.  They look different in every classroom and some rituals will have more impact than others.

Over the summer, I took a hard look at the reading rituals that I felt needed to be added to my classroom. I look forward to sharing them as the year moves forward because I am already starting to get a glimpse at the impact that they are having on my budding little readers.

One ritual, in particular, that I want to focus on today is our "Character Hall of Fame."  October is National Bullying Prevention Month; therefore, our school has encouraged many conversations about bullying and kindness.  Picture books provide a plethora of characters to analyze when it comes to this topic.  So my teammate and I decided to take advantage of this opportunity and hone in on the kindness that so many of our favorite characters show.

But first things first...the term "Hall of Fame" and "kindness" needed to be defined.  My firsties came up with their own definitions for kindness and they included the words such as: nice, thoughtful, and helpful.

Encourage an inviting classroom environment with reading rituals.
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We provided many examples of Hall of Fames that can be found around the country: Music Hall of Fame, Football Hall of Fame, Baseball Hall of Fame, etc.  Then we talked about what it takes to get into one of these establishments: effort and a growth mindset.  So we decided that really a Hall of Fame celebrates effort.  My teammate and I went on to explain that only individuals that show an extreme amount of effort and growth can be inducted into a Hall of Fame and that we expect no less from the characters that we induct into our Hall of Fame.

This led right into a brainstorming session.  Students began nominating characters that they felt showed great kindness.  After providing the characters name, each student had to explain their thinking or defend their reason for choosing that character.  What great conversations we had!  Even in mid explanation, some students would change their minds on the truly kind character of the story.

Our first graders were then asked to illustrate the character for our Hall of Fame wall in the hallway. (We used orange paper because that is the color used for National Bully Prevention month.

encourage an inviting classroom environment with reading rituals.

Once complete, the images were mounted and ready for display.

Encourage an inviting classroom environment with reading rituals

To formally "induct" our characters into the Hall of Fame, we had a ribbon cutting ceremony!  Then students were invited to check out all of the images drawn. (And, yes, those are GIANT scissors!)

encourage an inviting classroom environment with reading rituals
Once this initial lesson is complete, the Hall of Fame can grow throughout the year.  The characteristic that is being analyzed can be changed too!  Maybe the students would prefer to focus on characters that exemplify bravery or curiosity.  It is another ritual to help students feel connected to the characters within the stories they are reading.

encourage an inviting classroom enviornment with reading rituals.

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