Tips for Getting Kids to Do More Choice Reading: Celebrate!

Some high school ELA teachers argue that there just isn’t time for choice reading.  They believe that students aren’t motivated to read outside of school.  Well, to that, I can only pass along my students’ pride and excitement:

How do you support your students as readers?  And what do you do celebrate your students’ reading successes?

9 thoughts on “Tips for Getting Kids to Do More Choice Reading: Celebrate!

  1. B10 — You know how much I LOVE to steal your good ideas and this picture is AMAZING. I am super sad I can’t steal it for this year as I am flat out of time with my kids, but I LOVE IT SO MUCH. You are an awesome inspiration to both the students in your room and colleagues in your circle! Keep up the good work friend.

    • Those are your kids, too! I love it when they’d say, “Ah, well, actually I read more books last year in Mr. Stuart’s class, but this year I was really trying to challenge myself. You know, step up my game.” Yeah, tenth grade. 😉

  2. As a second year teacher, I’ve had a hard time building my classroom library to a point where I can send kids home with a book that they love every night. Right now, I constantly run back and forth to our public library to stock my shelves (right now it’s merely a book cart). I am often only to get my hands on one copy of a book and that means I have to ask kids to leave it in my classroom (for other classes to read) until the end of the day. Because of this, I have a hard time getting kids to come back at the end of the day to check their book out at night. I virtually have no or minimal at home reading taking place with my students. I’m guessing this will fix itself with time as I continue to purchase and search for books for my classroom library. Any suggestions on building it faster? Keeping track of books that you do check out (I’ve noticed a few go missing this year)? Or how to encourage at home reading?

    On related note, my 8th grade students absolutely love in class reading and I believe it has made very effective strides with my students. I also used your reading ladder idea with my students this year and it was a great success. Seeing students’ amazement at reading 4000 pages was inspiring for both them and myself.

    Thanks for your continuous great ideas and contributions to the world of education!

    • Hey Shawn,
      Thanks for the great comment. I’m so glad you and your students are finding success. 🙂 I’d love to see some of their Reading Ladders to share with my students.

      In regard to your frustrations, I think you pose some of the major issues teachers have around choice reading. During my second year, I was in the same situation with few books, but you’re getting way more of work-out than I was with all of your running back and forth to the library. I’m sure you’re students really appreciate that, but I bet you’re exhausted.

      Even though the “fight” is a good fight there are major challenges within it it, but the awesome thing is that you are totally on track with your plan to increase more books. More books = more reading. I mean, you’re speaking right to the research from Warwick Elley about creating a “book flood” and Jeff McQuillan on “The Effect of Print Access on Reading Frequency.” If we can just get good books into the hands of kids, they will read more. I seriously believe that the work of building my classroom library has been the most impactful thing on my instruction.

      To spur the growth, I would look directly to DonorsChoose as the most reliable option. Next, I’d consider applying for Penny Kittle’s Book Love foundation grant: In terms of purchasing books from your own funds, I’d go to local libraries’ used sales, Amazon, and garage sales. I’d also collect donations from students and family members. Generally, if say a student’s grandma donates all of her non-YA-friendly titles, I re-sell the donations to a local store and use the funds for on-demand books.

      In terms of books that go astray, sadly, this is something that we have to be somewhat okay with experiencing; although, it never gets easier. Gallagher says if we’re not losing any books, then we’re not doing our job. However, when we only have a few books, this is heartbreaking. I use Booksource’s Classroom Organizer to keep track of my check-outs, and since using it, I feel like I got back WAY more books than before. Here’s the post where I break it down:

      Thanks so much for the great dialogue! I’d love to hear how things progress for you. Best of luck!

  3. Great idea! My students do a book chain around the classroom, making links each time they finish a book. At the end of the year, we see how far it stretches and celebrate with some donuts (a novelty in Bogota, Colombia). If you scroll down, you can see photos:

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