We asked two of our fantastic Premiers’ Reading Challenge coordinators for their top tips to promote the Challenge at their school and how to motivate students to keep reading.
Brentwood Park Primary School
- Keep track – I remind and encourage students to keep a record of their books from the first lesson of the year. Sometimes I will also use the announcements and comments section to encourage students along the way.
- Make the books visible – I have all the Challenge books marked in the library. I always comment on the books when they are borrowing, reminding them that they can use them for their Challenge book list.
- Prizes and incentives – I offer prizes for the first class to have every student finish the Challenge, as well as a prize for the first student in each class to finish. These are announced at assembly and we make a big deal of it.
- Celebrate students who finish – We have a prize for the first student in each class to reach 100 books. Of those readers, someone will be named the ‘Super reader’ of the year level and get the Challenge badge.
- Keep books within easy reach – We put together a tub of high interest books that are appropriate for the year level in each class room, so students can be confident that what they are reading will count towards their total.
Head of Library Services – St Margaret’s School and Berwick Grammar School
Healthy competition – I have each year level’s class compete against the others with a scoring system for each book read (See point 2). I have a whiteboard with the competition ladder, I only show positions on the ladder, not each classes’ individual tally. Each week I tell the classes their positions on the ladder.
Aim higher – I encourage students to Challenge themselves to read at their level or higher. I award points according to the book’s level on the Challenge application. For example, a year 7 student reading a 5-6 book only gets 1 point. But if they read a 7-8 book they get 2 points, and 9-10 they get 3. Young adult or very long books score 4 points.
Involve other teachers – Each English teacher gets an automatic 10 points for every book they read. This provides a sense of unity of purpose, and models good reading habits for students
Extra points incentives – I make extra points available as an incentive, for example, the first to read a new book in the Challenge will score higher points and book reviews score extra points. You can also have quizzes attached to picture books for older readers, and ask students to think about why a picture book would be on the Challenge at a 9-10 level and not for little kids?
- Extra points for reviews – I also award extra points for the students who add book reviews to the VPRC website.
- Offer rewards – If appropriate, offer students rewards for reading. But be sure to ask them what reward (within reason!) will motivate them. I have used pizza lunches or donut feasts as incentives in the past.