*An update post*
A while ago, I posted about giving students an opportunity to read, actually read, in my lessons. The post is here if you are interested. The particular group of year 7s I am working with admitted to me that they can’t read, hate reading, won’t read. So I designed a unit of work that would “force” or perhaps I should say encourage them to read. The unit is downloadable on my free downloads page too.
Here is the end of that mini-unit.
The big “pull” for these kids, a starbucks lesson! Unbelievably, it was that simple.
The challenge – each student choose a book from the library and during my one lesson, reading club and for homework – they would read it and finish it. The deal was it had to be 150 pages and a chapter book, no graphic novels or the Guinness Book of Records. If they read more than one. Fantastic. Some students read 5, most read 2, a handful didn’t finish their first book but did read.
The reward – a starbucks lesson. This is an easy win for me. As I regularly do coffee and cake revision, so my room is kind of set up for it. With the help of a student in my tutor group, we made 21 hot chocolates, with squirty scream and marshmallows.
We then sat around, chugging our drinks and nibbling cupcakes, and discussed the books we had read. Book club style.
The kids wrote their own reviews, made recommendations or not. We discussed why we enjoy some types of books and not others.
I asked when and where it was best and easiest to read. Some fessed up to not reading at home but enjoying reading in my classroom.
As we were already a mess, we decided that mess should be embraced and celebrated. So we designed a few spontaneous reading quotes, posters, adverts.
Now, I need to make sure I’m not just being warm and fuzzy about this. So here is the “progress” as I measured it, across 6 weeks:
- For the duration of the project, all students read more than they would usually.
- Some students read a book, independently, for the first time.
- Many students exceeded expectations by reading more than one book.
- Some students admitted enjoying what they read.
- Most students were able to explain the basic plot of their novels.
- All students were able to outline details about the main character.
- Some students could explain what they thought the writer’s message was.
- Many students choose books by new authors or in new genres.
For me, taking one hour a week to do this project and achieving the above is good. Damn good.
My final thought, I would highly recommend snaffling up World Book Day books or Quick Reads as prizes for students. Each student in this class received a book as a reward for participating in this unit. I gave them out on Wed 18 Dec. By Fri 20, when we broke up, 4 students had already read their free book.
Well done, 7×3, well done indeed.