Hello! I’ve been a bit MIA during March as I’ve been planning and organizing a bunch of fun activities for my school’s reading celebration. I’ve also been trying to spend a little less time on the computer and more time reading since that’s what I’ve been asking the kids to do!
I have some highlights of our reading celebration to share. Between this, preparing for my final review, summer reading planning, Dewey Shelve-it and my real life (I do have a life outside of the library…now that it’s nice out Mr. Lodge and I have been running again!), there were a few times when I thought “oh boy, why did I decide to do all these things!?” but now that it’s done, I’m so happy with the whole celebration.
Before the reading celebration, I did some planning with my literacy specialist and a small Reading Celebration Committee, where we tossed around ideas and I was able to get input from classroom teachers. This was helpful because I’m not always sure how much something will impact the classroom and I know they have a tighter schedule and more to squeeze in, especially because we had two weeks of testing this month. They also had some great ideas to add to our fun!
An overarching goal throughout the month was that we would read one million minutes as a school. We tracked our reading on a bulletin board in the front of the school. We will be reaching our goal this week!
In the library, we have been doing all kinds of fun reading activities. I started off the month with Reading Makes You Feel Good by Todd Parr with all grades. Students were asked to think about the reasons reading makes them feel good. My iPad center all month has been to create a Todd Parr inspired illustration of why reading makes you feel good. We are using Drawing Pad to make our pictures. After creating the picture, students save it and import the image to Book Creator, where we add text. As soon as all the pages are finalized, I’ll be able to export the book to iBooks to read like a real ebook! I’ll share as soon as the books are finished!
We had several weeks of guest readers, including parents and other teachers. This was really fun for parents who enjoy coming in and also for some of the staff, like our secretaries, who each came in to read to a class. The kids rarely get to see this fantastic ladies outside the office so it was nice for them to be able to share some of their favorite books with the kids.
A favorite read aloud during our celebration was Boy+Bot by Ame Dyckman. I tweeted how much the kids loved the book and Ame Dyckman sent us bookmarks and stickers! Amazing! If you’re on Twitter, she’s a great author to follow (@AmeDyckman).
We had many other reading centers like sharing favorite books through a photo booth and decorating truffula trees with favorite books for a bulletin board (which I forgot to take a picture of!). We also read Creepy Carrots and had a creepy carrot center.
Another way to share books was this teachers’ favorite books table. I put out signs saying “Teachers’ Favorite Books” and “What books do your teachers love?” and asked teachers and staff to tell me their favorite books. I put names on sticky notes to show who picked out the books. The kids loved choosing books recommended by their teachers!
Favorite Character Day
The kids were SO creative with this. We had a few Cat in the Hats, Harry Potters, Jack from Magic Tree House, and Fancy Nancys. We also had Creepy Carrots, Stink, Skippy Jon Jones, Humphrey, Mrs. Beaver from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (a current read aloud in 3rd grade), and the Paperbag Princess. One of my favorite ideas was four 4th grade girls who came as versions of Edward Tulane, their current read aloud: Edward as himself, Susanna, Malone, and Jangles. Another favorite – a girl named grace came as Just Grace. She carried around the book Still Just Grace and told everyone “I’m still just Grace”. Funny! Teachers even got into it, coming as Molly Lou Melon, Mrs. Granger from Frindle, the Cat in the Hat, Things 1 and 2, and Sam I am, Amelia Bedelia, and Mrs. Wishy Washy. Below, you’ll see Cowgirl Kate, some Hogwarts students and Dobby, the Paperbag Princess, and Roscoe Riley.
Breakfast, Blankets, and Books
My absolute favorite part of this reading celebration was our Breakfast, Blankets, and Books morning. A first grade teacher does this with her class the day before Christmas vacation. The idea is the wear PJs, bring a blanket, read, and eat breakfast. To apply the idea to the whole school, we decided to have everyone wear PJs, students could bring a blanket or a stuffed animal, we would read all together as a school, and breakfast would be at each classroom teacher’s discretion. We have a lot of food allergies so teachers did many different things – from the teacher bringing in donut holes, to kids just bringing an extra snack, to room parents making pancakes!
We had a staff breakfast to kick off the day, which was so much fun! Then, classes were called down to our cafeteria/gym first thing in the morning. Students and teachers spread out with their blankets and books and read for half an hour! It was amazing! Even some of my little friends who don’t always make good choices or have trouble focusing were all engaged and reading. We wrapped up our blankets and books reading time with a fun reading-themed poem read by some of the 4th graders. I got a lot of positive feedback about this activity and it was definitely my favorite!
We had a mini Blankets and Books for the afternoon kindergarten during a 4th grade library class. The 4th graders were happy to oblige and be book buddies for our kindergarten friends!
Whew…what a month! Happy reading!
PS – Check out this amazing project Mrs. Reed did to celebrate World Read Aloud Day at her school. She sent home bookmarks for families to decorate and share why they think reading/reading aloud is important. I would LOVE to add a project like this to my reading month next year. What a great way to include families!