Saturday, October 31, 2015

Caring, Sharing, and Preparing: Advice From Amber - Building Reading Stamina

I think it is safe to assume that most teachers struggle to get their students to build (and maintain) good, consistent reading stamina.  I'm talking about "actually reading and thinking about the book, not just pretending because my teacher wants me to focus" kind of stamina.  Can you relate?

Well, I tried something this year with my firsties and it worked like a charm!

We have a mini poster in our classroom that has a thermometer outline.  It is tough to see, but the mini poster hangs on the upper-left-hand corner of our whiteboard and this is what we use to record our minutes (or at least the highest number of minutes we have reached).  Do you see it?  (I'm sorry I do not have a close-up!)

Every single day, I refer to our stamina chart.  We talked about it A LOT in the first few weeks of school...less now because it is not as necessary.  We also learn, regularly discuss, review, and routinely practice what good habits readers have and show without reminders.

I told my students that when they reached 5 minutes, they would get to use the "fun stuff."  This includes pillows, stuffed animals (to whisper read to), laundry baskets (to sit in), and exercise balls.  Do you think they tried hard to focus on their reading and thinking in order to show that they were building stamina?  Yep!  It took them a few days, but they got the hang of it.

After the students showed 5 minutes of stamina, our next goal was to get to 10 minutes.  It was at this time that I told them the next incentive = reading partners!

These pictures were actually not taken during Partner Reading, but I realized I do not have any pictures to show this.  I am using these as a substitute.  These partners pictured here were actually trying out a new reading strategy during the Active Engagement section of our Mini-Lesson.

So the next goal was...yep, you guessed it = 15 minutes.  After my students met the 10 minute reading stamina goal, I then told them the next incentive was... Flashlight Friday!

I have not yet taken a picture of our bucket of flashlights, but I can tell you that I found mine at Wal-Mart for $1.00 each in cute colors.

Our next goal was then 20 minutes, which my students have already exceeded, but...there is problem.  The incentive is to read books via Raz-Kids on our tablets, but we are having issues deploying apps to the tablets in our school district right now.  I hope the issue is resolved SOON because I have some antsy first graders.

What do you use as incentives (or anything really) to encourage your students to build and maintain reading stamina?

Thanks for stopping by!  :)

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