Adventures in Literacy Land: motivation

Showing posts with label motivation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label motivation. Show all posts

Working to Get More Books in Their Little Hands

Happy (almost) summer everyone!  Our year is coming to a close this week.  As I analyzed our assessments, reflected on this year, started looking ahead to next year, I was pleased with the progress my students made this year.  They worked hard.  I worked hard.  My team worked hard.  And we all know that some of that hard work "sails" away during the fun of summer. Each year I remind them to read, send home information about the library programs, inform families of other local reading programs, give them all reading logs, and try to provide incentives if they bring the sheets back.  But I felt like I needed to do more this year.

Let me explain...just a little.

Last month I wrote a post all about books that you could access for free online.  I loved this post because it is a great tool for me to use in my classroom and with my own little ones at home.  But most of my students are not read to at home (especially not in the digital form).  Many do not have books.  And it is sad.  Really sad.  But something that I cannot control.  So I have to, first, motivate them to want to read to themselves, a sibling, or a stuffed animal.  And, second, make sure they have books in their hands.

Here are some things I do to accomplish these goals.

Reading A-Z
I have some students that have made a tremendous amount of growth but need to continue that journey throughout summer.  So I made them HUGE stacks of books to take home.  They are leveled by their need and month of summer.  Each of their parents have been called to explain the importance of their child reading the leveled books over the summer.  I put each set in a cute bag for them to carry around.  My students have been asking for their sets of books each day.  Nope!  They have to wait until the last week of school :)

Books for All
We called a local organization called, Crayons to Computers, and asked if they would be able to donate books to our school.  They agreed (THANK YOU!!)  On the last day of school, each student will get to "fish" for a good book!

Reading Packs
Most of my students come to school not knowing their nursery rhymes.  And they love reading them with us, especially the "silly" versions by Bruce Lansky.  Each of our first graders will get all of the rhymes that we have read in a bright, yellow folder.  They are super excited to have them all in one place to read!  I have made one book of nursery rhymes.  It is in the pack below.  This pack will be FREE today, in case you want it for your students.

Winning Books
This week when the students in my building find a hot air balloon they can win a book!  We picked out the best looking books we had and displayed them in one of our glass cases.  When they find a balloon, they get to go to the glass case and pick out a brand new book to take home.  Super motivating!

Take Your Pick
 This is a bulletin board (original idea from Lesson Plan SOS) for each grade level in my building.  Students earn tickets each week.  They vote on the book they would like to win.  Then I choose 15 winners a week.  That is about 540 books I give away in one school year.

Motivation to read during the summer can be a bit trickier.  One thing that my building decided to do this year was throw a celebration during the last week of school.  Since we missed our typical Dr. Seuss celebration (due to testing), we decided to call it "Sail into a Seusstastic Summer."  The entire hallway is decorated with book covers, hot air balloons, and Dr. Seuss characters.  Each day students will do activities to motivate them to want to read this summer:

*Discussing WHY they need to read this summer
*Making lists (on a hat) of the different places they can sit and read this summer
*Encouraging them to read together this summer and share books (like a little book club)
*Writing summer "bucket lists" together that include reading

For more ideas about the reading over the summer:

Emily wrote about that "summer slide" a few weeks ago with ideas on how to slow it down.
Lori from Conversations in Literacy wrote a great post about mailing books to her students (oh! how I wish I could do this).
I love this post about a summer book swap.  This would be a great idea to host at the school one day over the summer.
This post at From the Mrs. includes a summer bingo game to motivate kids to read in different places.

What do you do to keep your kids reading over the summer?


Reading Response Spinners

As a reading specialist, I’m always looking for ways to make reading intervention more fun. My kids need a lot of repetition with the same things, but in a motivating way!

There are a few story elements that I like to review after every fiction book we have read- and to make it more interesting, I picked up some supplies from the Dollar Tree and created some Reading Comprehension Spinners!


On the blue pinwheel, I just used a Sharpie to write Main Idea, Main Character, Setting, Problem, Solution, and Author’s Purpose. I did have to write quickly because the Sharpie wanted to bleed through a bit. No big deal, though!


While I was on a roll, I made two more spinners, too- one for reading responses (the green) and non-fiction (pink). I labeled them with washi tape.


So, for a grand total of $3, I have 3 spinners! These would be great in the regular classroom, too, for quick review after a read-aloud!


When I use them with students, I spin it and let them stick their finger in to stop it. If we’ve already stopped on that one, we turn to the next one that hasn’t been done.

The reading response one may be my favorite, because I can spin it once and have all of the kids respond to that prompt! How do you review common reading comprehension questions like story elements?



Motivating Struggling Readers

Hello, everyone!  It's Andrea here from Reading Toward the Stars.  Today my focus turns to a topic that is near and dear to me ~ how to motivate struggling readers. My own son was once in this category, but he had a a teacher and mother who worked hard to find what worked for him.  Now I am sitting with him watching the sixth Harry Potter movie since he has finished that book in the series!  I never thought I would see the day when he would be able to read Harry Potter!
You say it every day ~ "Get a book and read when you finish your work."  Most kids do, but several of your students find something else to do ~ drawing, sitting with nothing to do, or sleeping.  You have books at every students' levels on your shelves.  All of your students went to the library and picked out two books.  They have the book you are all reading in their desks.  But why aren't they reading?

Many times those students are struggling readers.  They want to fit in and read what everyone else is reading but feel embarrassed when they pick up those "kiddie" books.  So, what do we do as educators to get them to read?

But how do we do that?  It seems so simple ~ give those struggling students something to read that is on their independent level!  But this is what those students may be thinking as their peers are reading those "cool" books.
As educators, we need to tap into those students' interests along with abilities to help them find a way to enjoy reading.  In the middle grades, this is tough to do.  Students at this point have pretty much given up on reading like their peers.  For them, the comprehension skills instruction won't do much for them at all. 

So, what can we do to get those struggling readers to read?
We need to expose those struggling readers to a variety of text genres.  The ultimate goal is to get them to read good books, and they will get there one day.  But for now, we need to tap into what they can and will read.  Many boys love nonfiction, especially about sports or cars.  Girls love to read about things they can make or cook.  Biographies about people they admire are always fun too.  Find out what your students like with an interest survey, like this one you can grab for free on Teachers Pay Teachers from Rocky Top Teacher.

Find books on the students' levels.  Help them to find what they can read, but make sure it looks like what others are reading.  Chapter books are super cool in the middle grades, but many struggling readers can't read the same chapter books as their peers.  Look for books that have a lower vocabulary but look like traditional chapter books.

Tap into their interests!  Find out what they are interested in and help them pick books that they want to read about.  You can even find appropriate websites for them to read about their favorite subject.  I have seen plenty of girls who love horses find and read books about horses with perfect comprehension!  If they have seen a movie, the novel version would be a great book for students to read because they already know the story line.  It makes reading the words so much easier!

Students don't have to just read books they are interested in.  See the list below to show some other great places to find reading material.

1.  Comics ~ Boys and girls alike both enjoy comics.  I remember when my brother hated to read because he couldn't.  He found my old Garfield comic books and went to town with them.  The pictures help struggling readers better understand what is going on in the comics, and they can be perceived as "cool".  Boys love comic books and graphic novels too.  And now, there are many out there for girls too, like the Nancy Drew comic books.

2.  Magazines ~ There are so many great magazines for kids!  I remember reading Highlights for Kids when I was a kid, and their articles include many different levels. Then the other students in the class don't know what everyone else is reading.  Sports Illustrated Kids is perfect for the boys.  If they are interested in the content, they may be able to comprehend quite a bit of it.  And the American Girl magazine is perfect for girls!

3.  Websites ~ Students can go to websites about their favorite things and people (sports teams, cars, dolls, TV shows,movies).  With their interest in the topic, reading will be easier for them.

4.  Audio Books ~ Pair books with audio to help students enjoy some of the books their peers are reading.  Plus it helps them to comprehend what they are reading and learn new words.

And, of course, everyone wants their peers to approve of what they are reading.  When students read a book they enjoy, they love to share it with others.  When students share what they enjoy, they feel pride in their accomplishments.  This year I wanted to create a working bulletin board, but it never has happened.  Based on the premise of Facebook, students would share on the "wall" about books they love.  The name of the bulletin board will be "Readbook", and students will fill out a status update about the books they have read, recommending it to their peers.   At the bottom, their peers can like or comment on it.  Best of all, students will learn about books they may want to read, motivating them to find something they can and will read.
Click {here} or on the picture above to grab you copy.
There are many resources for helping educators and parents find books to motivate struggling readers.  Reading Rockets has a wonderful article to help educators and parents get a good start.  You can read that article by clicking {here}.

Jana also has a great post on our blog about engaging reluctant readers, which you can access by clicking here.   Lauren also wrote a book review of The Book Whisperer in this post, which can be helpful for helping you reach those struggling and reluctant readers.

Helping struggling readers find motivation to read is the first step in helping those students become better readers.  Once they have that foundation, they will enjoy reading and talking about reading.

What are some ways you help your struggling readers become more motivated to read?

**Thank you to Erin from I'm Lovin' Lit for the frames and headers and Heather from The Meek Moose for the clip art.  Some fonts by KG Fonts.**

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