Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Bright Idea... To Get Kids Reading More Variety... and just MORE!

It has been a LONG time since I have blogged... over a year in fact. But for good reason. I went MIA when I found out I was pregnant because I was tired, sick, and... more tired. Then we decided to move while having a newborn and I honestly haven't been 'into' blogging lately. I haven't felt like much of what I have been doing was 'blog worthy'... but I have been implementing this new idea since October and I knew I wanted to blog about it... so when the opportunity came up for a new Bright Idea post, I knew I had to jump in... even if this is the last post I do for a couple months. It is a good one (though admittedly the pics are not the best because they are quick cell phone pics due to deciding at the last minute to take pics).
So here is my idea...

You know those kids... the ones who ONLY read Diary of a Wimpy Kid... or ONLY read ONE genre and then either reread those same books or just give up reading when there are no more to read? I have a few of them in my room. Not that rereading is bad, nor is finding an author you love and reading all their books (that is what I do and why I have over 200 unread books)... but I love getting kids to branch out and read... more... different... just read. So here is what I did.

When my students ordered Scholastic books I would place an order as well. I would use the rewards I got for that month plus pay for some out of pocket. When the box of books comes in I make a HUGE deal about the new books. The first time I did this, I did one book at a time and explained the procedure (which I am going to explain below) but now I have a new way to really get the kids intrigued.

I read the title of the book and the summary from the back/inside cover. Then I place the book on the marker tray of my board. I do this for every book. Then I write the title of the book and numbers 1, 2, and 3 underneath the title. I draw sticks with student numbers on them and when their number comes up they can come sign up for a book. (pic below of what it looks like before the sign ups begin)
Now, here are the rules... they can have their name under as many books as they want (once everyone gets a turn to sign up, I put the sticks back in and redraw- if there are enough slots still open... if not then I leave the open spots available and kids sign up in their free time). BUT... they can only HAVE one book at a time. So, using fake names here... here is an example of what I mean...
In the picture above you can see everyone that has signed up for these three books. Payton has her name on two books and Tim has his on two books. In this picture, Payton has 'Elijah', Ashley has 'Murphy's' and Tim has 'Double Cross'...

When students finish the book, they bring it back to the board and erase their name, and move everyone else up a spot. Then they bring the book to the next person. So in this example, Ashley finished 'Murphy's' so she went up and erased her name. According to the list, she would hand the book off to Payton,
but Payton hasn't finished 'Elijah' yet. So, since Danielle doesn't have a book, Ashley will rearrange the names on the list for 'Murphy's' and bring the book to Danielle, placing Payton in the number 2 spot and leaving the #3 spot open for someone else to sign up (and believe me... they rush to sign up!)
(My students actually came up with this method... my original plan was the book would sit on the shelf until Payton was 'free' for it but they decided this was fair so that the books don't just 'sit'... and they all agreed that it was ok to get bumped down if they already had a book.)

Those are pretty much the only rules for this... only 'holding' one book at time... and they have to manage it on their own. The only other 'sometimes rule' is if there is a book series that must be read in order. I do not let them read certain series out of order. There is a series I found in my garage called Kidnapped (it is age appropriate and from Scholastic but I did give them a disclaimer about not reading it if it would scare them) and the books have to be read in order for it to make sense... so they are not allowed to sign up for book 2 unless they read 1 and can't get 3 until they read 2. And they are REALLY good at it. Here is a pic of the board after sign ups... 
You can see almost all the books have waiting lists and one student is up there managing one of the lists. They seriously LOVE this and I can not keep the books on the shelf for the most part. A lot of the times, if books are sitting up there for more than a day, someone will take it just because they want to try it while waiting for another book to open up. Once books are no longer having lists, they come off the shelf and go into our class library. 

And sometimes, just sometimes... books come BACK to the shelf. We had the 'Al Capone does my shirts' book, as well as the other two in the series, a few months ago. They have been moved to the class library, but thanks to the Battle of the Books assembly, the students wanted them back out because they wanted to read them. So we put them back. 

I mentioned above that I do things a little differently now... I put the books on the shelf and have it all set up before the students come in. The buzz that starts from this is crazy. They can not WAIT to get their names on lists. I need book security when they come in! But I don't let them sign up until I read the summaries and pull sticks because I want everyone to have a fair chance. And the really 'popular' books... you should see what happens when someone is about to erase their name because they finished it. There has been a mad rush to be the next one to add their name to the bottom of the list! 

My kids WANT to read... they LOVE the books... LOVE the system... are reading out of their 'norm'... and are READING... I call it a win. And... aside from ordering the books, reading the summaries, and making the original list set up on the board... I do not have to do a thing. 

(If you want the scoop on those crates in my pictures, check out my former bright idea here.)

And for more bright ideas, check out the link up below! 

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