It’s getting to be that long stretch in the year in which students start to become unmotivated after winter break. Summer break seems so close, everyone can almost smell it, yet it’s still pretty far away. Keeping students motivated at this time of the year can be difficult. Keeping students motivated to read can be hard during any time of the school year, but the second semester always seems more difficult to keep that incentive to read going, in my opinion. What can we do about this?
Do you use any reading incentives with your students? I find that motivating students to read by doing different unique reading activities and offering them some choices will often get them more excited to engage in a book. All students have a different love for reading and that’s okay. However, all students need to be reading as we know-even if it’s not for pleasure. It is simply part of the school day and part of learning. Many students handle this expectation differently. I’ve been at this librarian thing for a long time and I have learned some tricks of the trade to help motivate your students to read. Let’s talk about some reading incentive ideas that really work and are geared for 3rd-5th grade students.
1. Digital Choice Boards
Choice boards are a great reading incentive idea for 3rd-5th graders because it gives students the independence in choosing what they want to read and which reading activities they want to complete. Besides that, choice boards help greatly with student engagement. These Digital Reading Choice Boards are very popular with 3rd-5th grade students, especially because they can be completed through the technology of Google Slides. You could use them in the classroom for reading centers or independent work, in the library or during distance learning. They are also an especially great tool and reading incentive idea for differentiating instruction amongst your learners.
2. Reading Certificates + Celebrations
Another great reading incentive idea is celebrating reading of course! Students love celebrations and to be celebrated. Why not celebrate when they hit their reading goals with a quick class celebration at the end of the month or quarter? You could even just pass out one of these cute Reading Certificates to remind them of their hard work and make them proud of themself!
3. Book Tastings
Book tastings have always been a huge reading incentive at my school. The best thing about them is that students tend to forget they are actually learning about books and reading because they are having so much fun! A book tasting is a chance to expose students to different genres and to get them engaged and excited about reading. These could be books that they would never look at on their own or books that do not circulate in your library or classroom. Book tastings can be done with almost any grade or age level. Need a virtual book tasting activity for distance learning? No problem! Check one out here.
4. Special Activity Earned
Sometimes students are not motivated to read unless they earn something out of it. That’s okay; that just means that those types of students are not reading for pleasure yet-they are probably reading because they have to. Students like this may be motivated to meet their reading goals if they can earn something special that they wouldn’t normally get. I’m talking about things such as earning extra computer time, a small prize, a “no homework pass,” free time, special seating… the list goes on. You can come up with what works for your room and your schedule, and you don’t even have to spend a dime if you don’t want to! You could make all of the choices activities earned instead of actual objects. Start small and see what works with your students and what motivates them.
5. Make Reading Interactive + Fun
It’s best to remember that the BIGGEST motivator to getting students to read is to make it FUN. If students do not find the joy in reading, then they simply won’t want to do it. We live in a technologically advanced world don’t forget! Some students would rather get lost in a book that is animated or has video, rather than reading a paperback book and that’s just fine. Have you checked out Epic, Storyline Online or Raz Kids yet? These are all great places for books to come alive! Epic and Storyline Online are both free! Storyline Online is not animated books but it is a website in which celebrities read stories to children on video, which is sometimes much more fun than reading a book to yourself! Epic and Raz Kids are both interactive with a computer or tablet. Most stories even have a reading comprehension quiz at the end which can be great for teacher data!
Those are my 5 favorite reading incentive ideas for 3rd-5th graders in a nutshell! Tell me, do you have any reading incentive ideas that work? Are you already doing some of the things that I listed above?