Saturday, February 1, 2014

Independent Reading Motivation

Happy Snowy Saturday from Wisconsin......  it just doesn't end!  We're on deck for several more inches today and also maybe a surprise snow storm on Tuesday.  I say surprise, because I can't seem to find two weather reports that say the same thing.  Some say it could be just the usual as of late 3-5 and others are reporting up to 12+???? Oh dear, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.  Gotta love the unpredictable weather. It's been amazing to read posts from all over the place saying similar things.  Especially the stories from areas that don't typically get snow or ice.  I really hope the groundhog helps us out tomorrow!

It's Saturday so I'm linking up with Head Over Heels for Teaching for her weekly linky to 'Spark Student Motivation!!!'

Today I'm sharing an  independent reading activity that helps get kids to change up their routine a little bit but still be excited to open up a book.  It's a pretty simple one--- a basket of furry friends.  I always read a class book at the beginning of the year called Justin Case: School, Drool and other Daily Disasters.  If you haven't read it, I highly suggest you do if you're looking for a new elementary read aloud.  There is a sequel now as well about his summer after 3rd grade, which I haven't read yet but hope to this summer! In a nutshell Justin is a third grader who is afraid of everything! He is a worry wort, and nothing seems to ever go his way.  This story is a great tale about his adventure in 3rd grade to becoming a more independent, confident and proud young boy, who only worries.... a little!  One thing in the book is that Justin still has stuffed animals, he calls stuffies.  He has a lot of them and loves to play with them, but doesn't like other people to know about it for fear of getting made fun of.  

After the story is over or close to when the story is over  is when I introduce our furry friends! When we see a change in Justin and his confidence we talk about things that we hold close to use that might be something we think people will make fun of.  I mention my 'pillow'---I can't go ANYWHERE without it.  All of my family and friends know that there is no way I'm sleeping anywhere but home unless I have my pillow.  It's a great discussion for kids, and it's really cool how so many of them open up about things that they care about. It helps them realize that even as an adult I have my 'thing' too!  I then introduce the students to our classroom stuffies.

On Friday, if students are all caught up with their reading goals, they can take a stuffy to a special place in the room and read to them!  Now I know that this won't work forever, and some third graders are so beyond this---BUT they still all take the chance at reading to a stuffy when they get the chance.  It does help keep goals up too.  I may change it up and offer this during quarter 2 and 4 and then do other things depending on the group of kids.

I hope this sparks some motivation with you to come up with some ideas to keep kids else could you use something like this or what do you think would work for your classroom?  I would love to know!


  1. I used to have some stuffed animals that my kiddos could read to and they loved it! Sometimes they would even have the stuffed animal read which was always fun to watch!

    Success in Second Grade
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  2. What a great way to motivate your students to read! How fun! I like that you share about your pillow! And, I don't think 3rd graders care how old they's something different and it's an incentive, so they'll want to be part of it! :) Thanks for linking up Ana!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  3. We have a 30 Book Challenge for independent reading... at the end of the year or (whenever you choose) you can have students turn in the completed 30 Book Challenge form for a special treat. This really motivates a lot of my students. Last year we had class outside and everyone that completed the challenge received an extra "pay check" and popsicles! I've also done a class vs. class competition for reading with my fifth graders. We called it the "Reading Bowl" like the super bowl. Each student was able to earn points for the class and the first class to 100 books won a special party!

    Way to motivate your kids! Hope they continue to have reading success!
    My Shoe String Life

  4. The students get so excited when they can bring something from home to read with! I wish I would have known about this when I was gathering up all those stuffed animals from my own children's bedrooms and donating them to Goodwill. Love this idea!

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  5. Hi Neighbor!! I am over in Minnesota and completely agree with the unpredictable weather! I love your idea and it is so true that elementary kids still love their stuffed animals! As much as they are becoming independent, they are still little kids. I will have to check that book out...I haven't heard of it before. Thanks for sharing!

    Kate :)
    McDee's Busy Bees


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