Inspiring Reading

Activities, Assignments and Events

In the Classroom

Classroom Atmosphere

Creating a special atmosphere helps students become excited about reading. Each day the atmosphere is important, but it is fun to make it different on special days. On days when the class is going to have a literature circle discussion, the classroom has a different feel, which makes the students excited about participating. Decorations are taken down right after to make the literature circle days special.

Create a Model of the Setting

After reading a book the students create a physical model of the key setting in the book. The project pictured below is a model of the island the main characters live on in the book The Cay. Each year kids from previous classes come back to see the models and have fond memories of Language Arts class because of the project.

Create a Suitcase/Pack the Suitcase

Below are pictures of The Suitcase Project. After reading a book, students create a suitcase to look like one from the era of the book, and pack items the character would have traveled with. In the pictures below, a student suitcase shows what Esther Rudomin brought to and from Siberria in The Endless Steppe.

QR Code Projects

Version 1 (Fluency Project): Students borrow and read a picture book from the elementary school library. After reading it they write a 30 second book trailer intending to "hook" an elementary student. In the free app Telegami, students create an avatar and record their voice speaking the book talk. After completed, students use the free app "Qrafter" to link their video to a unique QR code which is then printed and taped to the inside flap of the book. Books get sent back to the elementary library with a special indication (sticker?) that a QR code is inside. During book selection students can scan and view to the video to determine if the book interests them.


Version 2: After reading their self-selected book, students create and publish a digital book trailer (Vimeo, We Video, You Tube, etc.). Then students use the free program "Qrafter" to link their published video to a unique QR code which is then printed out. Additionally students can create a flyer which their QR is displayed on. On a selected day students in the class can scan each others' codes to watch the trailers. Flyers and/or QR code printouts can be displayed in the library or classroom for others to scan at any time.

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Host a Student Created Book Fair

After reading a book, students create a brochure and poster to promote the book. In the brochure, students inform viewers with the genre, summary, conflict, resolution, characters, and opinion. The poster is hand-drawn with an image from a scene of the book. Include a prop (something you wear, hold, display), and incorporate it into the booth so the audience understands the connection between it and the book. During the “fair”, other students visit booths and the host answers questions and explains the book. Participants can keep a scorecard/bookmark with them when they visit the fair to record books that interest them. Create signage to invite and attract others to the fair.

Comic Strip (Digital Storytelling) Promotion

Create a panel comic strip (using Storyboard That or ToonDoo) about your book. In the panels introduce the book, settings, characters (with specific personality traits), re-enact a critical event from the book which will entice the audience into reading it, a hint toward the conflict the characters will encounter, incorporate a quote from the book, and the closure (genre and how why they should read it).

Other storyboard options are for students to create panels demonstrating vocabulary, grammar, character traits, themes, pivotal events, story structure, timelines, etc.

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Black Out Poetry Slam

This starts with students ripping out pages from discarded classroom or library books (always a fun activity for them. They then black out (redact) the words they want to remove, leaving the words that will be read in order. Students then read their new poem to the class with dramatic flair. Vote on a winner.


This exercise can also be used as an assignment, not a contest. Have students create a poem from a character's point of view or experience or create a poem about themselves. Newspapers and magazines can also be used.


http://blogush.edublogs.org/2013/05/24/black-out-poems/

Scene It (for book hooks or selections)

As the teacher take a pivotal or important scene from books to re-write into a screenplay version. Assign character roles to a few student volunteers. Include fun props. Give volunteers a few minutes to practice their script and then have them act out the scene. Lastly, reveal the book title, cover, and description.


This can also be done when introducing a class book (for interest) or for book selection.

It can also be done at an individual level where students create the screenplay themselves and bring in a prop for the book they have read. Students place their screenplay title in a hat and other students will draw from a hat to act it out. Then the book is revealed. Participants can keep interest score cards during the presentations.

Flash Fiction: Six Word Memoirs

Using only six words, students create an extremely brief memoir that reflects their life. With hand-drawn or digital artistic flair, students can visually illustrate this memoir using text/word art, frames, and imagery. This can be beneficial before or after reading a memoir in class. The students can create a Six Word Memoir from their own point of view or to reflect the author's life.

Possible programs to use: Google Drawing, Glogster, Adobe Illustrator

Selfie Swirl

A great start of the year project (and perfect for open house displays), to celebrate national poetry month (April), or for Common Core lessons (identifying poetry structure), have students create a "selfie swirl." Students take a "selfie" and then place the printed image inside a swirl (see picture below). Students then create a personal haiku using proper structure and write the haiku within the swirl.

With the Library

Speed Dating (with Books) or Book Sampling

Students are invited to a "speed dating" event in hopes to find their perfect (book) "match".

Set up tables with tablecloths, confetti, fake flowers, etc.) and place a selection of books at each table. Students have a few short minutes to "check out" possible matches and rate them on a score card. After the round ends they can hang on to their book (but can later ditch it at another table if they find a better match) or keep looking. After all rounds are complete every student must leave with a possible match. If there's no "chemistry" with any of the selections they can leave with a book from the "blind date" table (in a wrapped bag) or go online dating (select an ebook). End the event with giving away a hershey kiss at checkout. Don't forget mood music, lighting, and flyers!

Book Parties

Book to Movie Release party

Character Birthday Party (Poe Party, Harry Potter's 13th Birthday, etc)

Pretend Movie Release Party (Hype up the event with related food, movie posters, trailers)

Mini-Oscars for recreating a scene from the book

School-Wide

Read-Off Challenge

Goal: Students collectively earn enough strips to duct tape the principal to the wall.


Individual Contest: During a specific time period, for every 10 minutes of reading done outside the classroom, a 1" piece of duct tape is earned. The length of strips earned is given to each student at the event.

Class Contest: Log more minutes than an opposing class period or grade. Winning class earns a party or prize. To take part in the party or earn the prize you must individually have read a set minimum amount of minutes

Planning: explanation letter to parents, reading log for students, master log, flyers

Materials: good quality duct tape, platform, yardsticks, prize for winning class

Pie in the Face Challenge

For "X" amount of minutes read, students earn a ticket and get to place it on the digital face (poster sized) of a participating teacher (Suggestion: all the Language Arts teachers, etc). When the contest ends, all tickets placed on a face are put in a bag, and someone draws the lucky winner who will then get to throw the pie in that teacher's face at a culminating event. The more you read the greater chance you have of getting drawn. Repeat the drawing for each participating teacher and host an assembly for all who participated.

Note: Please follow safety rules (goggles, no pie tin, just the filling).

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Fun Extras

Collection/Turn In Contests

If students are slacking returning items, books, assignments, etc hold a turn in contest. By a certain date, anyone who checks in with you and has a "clear" account gets entered into a raffle to win a box of donuts. This was a great way to get back overdue library books! It's also a great way to encourage responsibility and for students to be held accountable for what they owe (work or otherwise).

Cool Picks Display

Choose a time period and as students read books, offer them a fun flyer to fill out that will then be posted around the classroom or on the bulletin board. When students are looking for a book recommendations they can visit the display. For every flyer returned, students get a ticket to be placed in a raffle. Winners receive a prize or reward.


Kelley McLaughlin

6th Grade Language Arts

B.S. Middle School Education (Language Arts and Math)

Reading Endorsement

M.Ed Gifted Education