I’m constantly coming up with contests to keep my students interested in reading and try to tie them into current events. I started a contest for 3-5th grades that ties in to the 2014 Winter Sochi Olympics. This is a collaboration with the PE teachers as the students are logging their daily reading and activity minutes.
Each class was given a country that they represent in the contest. We have not given USA but instead they have Canada, Italy, Australia, Peru, South Africa and Japan. In addition to the kids learning more about the Olympics some of the teachers are tying in learning about the different countries.
The students were told that the top class in each building would get a pizza party (I have three buildings!) and the top three individuals in each building will get medals. Of course some are trying to exaggerate their minutes and that is where the aides in my libraries are a wonderful source as they know that students’ better than I and they are able to monitor this.
Before each library lesson I ask my 3-5th graders if they have been watching the olympics. We have had some great discussions about different events and athletes. This also gets the other kids excited about watching especially if they have not watched or been exposed to the Olympics. The contest ends this Friday and I am anxious to see which classes come out on top.
Last year I was in a middle school and getting kids excited about reading is especially challenging. I tied a reading contest to March Madness basketball and using School Library Journal’s model we had brackets that the kids voted on. Of course instead of basketball teams the brackets had popular books. Surprisingly, Hunger Games did not come out on top!
I encourage you to come up with fun ways to use reading incentives as a way to get students’ excited about reading!