Wednesday, December 4, 2013

National Picture Book Month 2014

We celebrated National Picture Book Month in November.  Last year for Picture Book Month, we ran a special on picture books - check out at least one and students could get an extra book.  This year, we ran the same special, but added a challenge.  Elementary students in grades 1-5 were given bookmarks to track the picture books they read during the month.  (Kindergarteners got a pencil without having to fill in the bookmark.) Once they finished 10 picture books, they had to choose their favorite and explain why.  Once their bookmark was completed, they earned a special pencil that says, "I read picture books at FSUS!" 

I ordered the pencils in bulk from Oriental Trading Company.  For just over 600 pencils, it cost around $100.  Well worth it to encourage the kiddos to read picture books.

 I know some educators reading this post will be disappointed (or even angry!) that I required the students to earn an 80% or 100% on the Accelerated Reader quizzes for the books on the bookmark. Here's the thing: our students participate in the AR program. We're an AR school. For better or worse, that's the situation.  I decided to require an 80% or higher on each quiz so that students would take their time and really read (and enjoy!) the picture books.  If I hadn't done that, I worried that some students would race through 10 books (or not even read them) because they wanted the prize.  That's not okay with me.  Because our school uses AR as a supplemental reading comprehension program, I try to work within the system while still encouraging the children to read a wide variety of books at a variety of levels, and to read for pleasure.  You'll notice that for each book on the bookmark, the students also circled a thumbs up/side/down to indicate how much they enjoyed each book.

Many students read far more than just the 10 books to get the pencil.  That tells me they were reading for pleasure and enjoying the picture books.  That's really all that matters to me.

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