We just wrapped up our fall book fair in the Barrow Media Center, so I feel like that’s all that has been on my mind. The end of the book fair also brings the end of our fall reading promotion. Our school does not do Accelerated Reader. Instead, we offer several reading promotions during the year. I’ve found that tying the reading promotion in with the book fair, GPS curriculum, and media center needs not only builds excitement for the book fair but it also supports the goals and efforts of the whole school community.
Last year, our book fair them was Read Around the World. For the reading promotion, students had passports with each continent listed on them. Various sections of the media center were labeled with the continents and students had to read a book from each section and earn a stamp on their passport. Some sections of the media center were not being used as heavily as I would like to see, so my thought was that the promotion would breathe life into the sections. Also, as students checked out their books and earned their stamps they had to locate the continent that they had “visited” on a map at the circulation desk. This supported several grades that study map skills and the continents.
This year, our school is working on individual student portfolios/data notebooks. To support this, I took our Reading Heroes book fair theme and made the Reading Heroes Challenge. Students had to set three reading goals for themselves and track their own progress. When they met or exceeded their goals, they turned in the completed challenge sheet to the media center.
Here’s what the reading heroes sheet looked like:
In all instances, students who completed the reading promotion had their name displayed at the book fair. For Read Around the World, we created flags that resembled prayer flags and criss-crossed them along the ceiling at the media center entrance. For Reading Heroes, we made reading hero emblems with student names in the center. Students also had their name put into a drawing for a book fair gift certificate.
I will say that more students participated and finished the promotions where they earned stamps along the way. As a school we’re trying to get students to set goals and make strides toward achieving them, so I’ll have to look at ways to revamp the goal-setting incentives and see if I can get better student buy-in and completion of the incentive. In the spirit of participatory culture, maybe eventually I’ll get around to having a student-designed reading incentive.