Wild About Reading…this was our first theme this year for celebrating the love of reading. This is also our first year in a lot of years to go without Accelerated Reading (AR). I have posted previously on my feelings about AR if you want to read those posts to understand how we got to the place we are at now, just click here.
We have decided to celebrate the act of reading and the love of books through real life reading and not through incentives or test taking. My committee decided we would hold a celebration (where everyone participates not just those that earn points) 4 times a year- once a quarter.
It was left up to each individual teacher how much they wanted to do in celebration, but we provided ideas on how to promote and celebrate. We provided the theme of Wild About Reading and asked if the teachers had any decorations that they wanted to put up in the hall it would be great. We were thinking of hanging some vines from the ceiling for a jungle look and putting fake plants out in the halls. But let me tell you, the excitement took hold of everyone and the halls have looked like I have NEVER seen them look!
We had jungle vines across ceilings, almost every door decorated to the maximum, and art work EVERYWHERE celebrating books and reading! Classroom teachers, Title 1 teachers, art teachers, paraprofessionals…all caught the buzz and got involved. Our door, as you can see was decorated like the Wild Things. Others’ doors had trees, vines, monkeys, giraffes, tigers, snakes, bananas. You name it, it was there! It was the coolest thing to walk down the halls and see everything in celebration of reading.
Teachers got to plan how long they wanted to celebrate and what activities to do. Some did Mystery Readers, where a mystery guest showed up to read a book to the class. Others did crafts to go with a special story. Classroom parents sent in special snacks to go with the theme (animal crackers, zebra cakes). Themed bookmarks, jungle book read alouds, book sharing were also ideas given. Teachers and students were also encouraged to wear animal prints-fun! And our celebration just happened to be the same day that book fair opened- great books were everywhere!
One big hit of the day was getting to read in the hall (yes, this is a great motivator, because when does a whole class ever get to read in the hall?). Kids brought blankets and stuffed animals and were allowed to spend time in the hall reading books. Which is what this day was all about- real life reading! Some of the younger students even read their books TO their stuffed animal and enjoyed that so much.
We have not completely settled on our theme for our next celebration, but teachers are already asking what it will be so they can start on their ideas now. I LOVE it when the whole school pulls together! For me, this is what celebrating reading is all about!