Building reading stamina is to be able to sustain being engaged in reading texts for increasing amounts of time without becoming distracted and without becoming a distraction to others. In a shorter way of defining it, can your students enjoy reading for increasing amounts of time?
We all have the goal of building reading stamina in our students, but what does that look like? I think if we incorporate these 3 elements of choice, confidence and motivation, stamina WILL increase! Let’s talk about 5 practical tips for doing this!
- Chart Stamina Minutes
When we track reading minutes on a chart, it becomes more tangible and visible for students to see where they are and where they are going. I like to use these stamina charts since so many groups come through my classroom each day.
We also have a chart that can be sent home and students can track their stamina there, if they choose. You could do the same thing using a piece of chart paper if you wish. But it isn’t for charting your minutes and getting a reward when you turn it it. This chart is to build the element of motivation. Students will become more motivated internally when they see the progress they are making!
Read to the end to get these stamina charts FREE!
- Allow More Than Books in Book Bags
This is an important tip for building reading stamina. Especially for readers who find reading for a length of time to be difficult. Some of our readers can read on one or two books for the entire time! But others just aren’t there yet. And that’s okay! If we allow readers to include items like sound charts and sight words, we are telling them it is okay to read a book, then take a bit of a break to read a chart that is familiar and then go back to the books.
Allowing different types of reading materials builds their confidence (definitely just what some of our developing readers need)! For some readers, reading connected text for an extended time is a lot of work. Telling them it is okay to read charts and sight words, allows their brain a little rest but still keeps them reading!
- Switch It Up
Switch It Up is so good for a couple of reasons! Switch It Up requires students to have both fiction and non-fiction books in their book bags. After students read for half the time they are trying to get to for stamina on one genre- say fiction, they then switch over to non-fiction and finish out the time on those books. This builds up motivation in reading since they get to change part way through. It almost feels like something new to look forward too.
- Bless The Books
I was taught this great trick years ago and I can tell you it works! You can “bless” books by reading them to your class and the placing them in a Blessed Books Basket for students to borrow from. Or you can just line them up on your marker board/chalkboard ledge.
I always keep books in my classroom library. They really don’t get switched out except when I add new books that I have ordered. But those holiday books, books that go with our topics of learning or content get switched out. These make great blessed books! If you have read them to the class, the books and the language inside become more accessible to more students because they have become more familiar with them in class. So good for motivation and confidence!
- Set Stamina Goals
Our last tip for building reading stamina is to set goals! Be sure to set goals that are attainable at first so the students can succeed. Then start stretching them a little at a time. Students become more confident in their reading and more motivated when they see those goals being met! Which is just what we are working towards!
Of course, none of this works very well unless we are building a culture of reading in our classrooms. We must always be building a love of reading and of books in our rooms. If we are doing that, it will make building reading stamina that much easier!
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