How do I get students to read more? And not just read more but enjoy doing it? One way is with a little friendly competition. Each semester I encourage students to read a novel of their choice at the beginning of each period for 10-15 minutes. As this is intended to be enjoyable, students are encouraged to change their text if it is not engaging.
As an incentive to read more, students in all three classes in the current semester compete together to exceed the previous semester’s book total. If current students are able to beat the total number of books read by the previous set of classes they earn a prize of their choosing.
What’s great about this competition is that I have posters on display promoting book recommendations from their peers from current and past semesters. Students can see which books from our class library or from the school library were enjoyed by their peers.
I’ve had great success over the last few semesters increasing the number of books read by students. Last semester’s three classes finished with 30 books in total being read, while my current semester’s students read 64 books and became the reigning champions.
I think it would be fun to come up with a unique name for each semester’s group of classes. Something I will need to organize…
Here’s how to get started with a reading competition:
- If you have done this before, hang posters from past contests up around the classroom-showcasing the total number of books read.
- Set up a new poster with the title “Books We’ve Read,” you will need to add more posters as the semester and book list progresses
- As students finish a book, have them add the following information:
- book title
- first name (have them circle the title if it is from your class library or underline it if it is from the school library)
- Star rating (hopefully they enjoyed it so the star rating is high)
- At the end of the semester calculate the total number of books read and add the total to the last poster
- If this current semester’s students win the competition they can choose a prize from an approved list (e.g., watch a curriculum-related movie, get an extension on a project, study day in class for an upcoming test…)