Here are 5 things I have done to kick off the school year promoting reading at Mayflower Mill.
This summer I decided that I was going to buckle down and do a lot of reading in preparation for the school year. I had set a goal for myself to read at least 20 professional, children's, and young adult books. I surpassed that goal, also reading some best selling "grown up" novels. I made reading a priority in my summer plans and was excited to share my summer reading picks with others. When I returned to school in mid-July, I began creating a collage on the door to my office to advertise the books I read this summer. It's been a hit with both students and staff, and I have great recommendations to pass along.
To get students excited about books and reading, I announced that I would be doing a 180 #bookaday challenge. I will read one picture book a day for each day we are in school. Each morning on our daily announcements, I give a brief review of the book I read the day before. I include the title and author of the book and end my review with some type of hook that I hope will make everyone else want to read the book too. I created a bulletin board in my office for a monthly display of the books I am reading for my #bookaday challenge. I am also strategically placing myself in prime locations to read the books so that students see me reading. One day I sat near the entrance to the lunchroom as my second graders were entering. They got really excited, and I heard many whispers of, "Look! Ms. Higgins is reading another book!"
3. Staff Book Study: The Book Whisperer
One of the books that inspired me to be a bigger promoter of reading was The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller (@donalynbooks). I was so inspired, in fact, that I purchased this book for all of my teachers. We will be reading it and discussing it during our morning professional development time. I am hoping that many of them will feel just as inspired as I did after reading it.
Currently Reading: About the Authors: Writing Workshop with Our Youngest Writers by Katie Wood Ray
4. Currently Reading: Promoting Books Via Email
I saw this idea on Twitter. I added a line at the end of my email signature that identifies what I'm currently reading. I update my signature each time I begin a new professional book. This is a great way to advertise to everyone I communicate with that reading is important to me.
5. Stamina Challenge
Mayflower Mill is a Daily 5/CAFE school. Therefore, we begin each year with building our students' reading stamina. "Read to Self" is the first component of Daily 5 that we teach to all students. This is done by the teachers working with the students to identify what it should look like, feel like, and sound like during a time they are reading to themselves. Then, teachers allow students to read independently and train them to increase their stamina so that they can build up the amount of time they can stay on task with their reading. One way we promote increasing stamina is by having a Reading Stamina Challenge. I have the teachers chart their students' daily stamina time and then collect the average number of minutes each class was able to read independently for the week. I then announce their average reading stamina times on the morning announcements and congratulate them on their efforts. This challenge is a fun way to get the students excited about being independent readers.
So, there you have it! 5 ways that I am building excitement for reading this year. There are many more plans in the works, so I will provide updates as the school year progresses.