Winter Wonderland Reading Incentive!
By Mary Montero
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It’s that time of year… lots of teacher are winding down and getting ready for the long awaited winter break. Unfortunately, so are the kids. My first year teaching, I remember being shell shocked looking at my progress monitoring data the week we came back from winter break. What had happened?! Where had my fluent kids gone? Why couldn’t they answer even the most basic questions about our books? It was as if they had done a temporary brain dump and it took a good week or so to get them back into the swing of things.
The next year, I knew that I had to at least provide an opportunity for them to continue practicing reading over the break. I knew I didn’t want to require or assign anything, so we began a little craft/activity to keep kids reading, but also have a little fun.
They cut out a Christmas Tree and glue it on to a large piece of construction paper. Then, I used our di-cut machine to cut out circles for ornaments. The year I took this picture, we had like 20 days off. It was a crazy amount! So I decided to have 15 ornaments, one for each day I hoped the kids would read. (You could adjust this to your own expectations). On each ornament, they write the date and the number of minutes they read. The kids write the title of the book in the shape of a hook for each ornament.
Then, the kids choose holiday symbols to add to their “wonderland” that they can write the main idea, settings, and characters on for ONE of the books they read. In the example about, I had an ornament for the main idea, a mitten for the setting, and a gingerbread man for the characters. When they return this, it is all filled out with the information for one of the books (along with their dated ornaments). I have the parents sign the star acknowledging that the kids did, indeed, do all of the reading they are claiming to have done.
If the kids complete all of their ornaments, I gave them a Scholastic book as a “reward.” (I used my rewards points, only chose $1 books, and it was a nominal amount). The kids LOVED making these little scenes, and I usually have about half of the kids come back with a full tree. I have had a great response from parents as well.
I’m so glad you are here. I’m a current gifted and talented teacher in a small town in Colorado, and I’ve been in education since 2009. My passion (other than my family and cookies) is for making teachers’ lives easier and classrooms more engaging.