We have had fun this week creating a reading challenge and the kids have already made a good start on it. I know that they have tried similar ideas at school, so I thought I would adapt those ideas and get the children reading a few new books at home.
Boo and Little Man do read and are both very competent readers for their ages. They happily read every evening before they go to sleep and they will often grab books during the day to read, too. The reading challenge is not to motivate them to read or enjoy books in our case, as they already do. But I can see that this might work for reluctant readers, perhaps just make fewer challenges to spur them on. The reason that I have created a reading challenge for the kids is to encourage them to read a wider variety of books.
They often re-read old favourites, which of course is fine. I do the same thing with my books from time to time and there is something so relaxing and comforting about reading a favourite book. I love that they do this, that they have fallen in love with certain worlds and characters. Then outside of these favourites, they often read very similar genres, not really choosing to step much outside of them. I want them to do so, just from time to time, and I know it is good for them to do so.
They will experience a greater vocabulary by reading more widely, they will uncover new facts and explore new worlds and they might find new authors and genres that captivate them. Only good things can come from it!
To create the reading challenge, I grabbed some paper and popped a grid of 25 squares on it. I then jotted down a wide variety of bookish challenges onto it, naturally I chose a different coloured pen for every square – that is probably not necessary!!
They both have the same chart and challenges, but of course they can read books appropriate to their ages in order to complete them. So far they have each got three stamps, but they are completely different challenges so they are making different choices.
They will get a small prize when they complete a line and then their main prize when they complete the entire grid. They have each chosen stampers to use when they have read a book (Little Man has opted for a dog paw, Boo a heart) and we have a little chat about the book, what they enjoyed about it, anything they weren’t so keen on and so on.
Both of the children are very excited about the challenge. Little Man has decided that he wants a new LEGO set when he completes his chart and Boo is asking for Disney pins. I will be interested to see whether their interest wanes as they have managed to tick off the easier, shorter reads first to get going and now it will take a little longer to read each book. There is no rush to do this so it really doesn’t matter, it’s just whether it manages to remain exciting. This is another reason that they have the same chart, as though it isn’t a competition, their competitive streaks might kick in and help to motivate one another to get the challenge completed.
Whether they end up completing the entire grid or not doesn’t matter anyway. They have already read three books that they wouldn’t ordinarily have read and I am quite certain there will be at least another handful, so I’d deem it a success already. They have enjoyed them all, and that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?
Would your children enjoy doing this?