Thursday, February 17, 2011

Barnyard Book Bingo

This year the Principal planned a series of treats for children that meet their Readers-to-Leaders goals each nine weeks. The first grade Readers-to-Leaders goal for the first nine weeks was to read 25 books; the second nine weeks to add another 30 books; the third nine weeks to add another 30 books and then even another 30 books for the fourth nine weeks. The final goal is to read a million wrods this year. The goal is cumulative so for this second nine weeks the children had to have read 55 books to meet their goal.

First grade teachers at our school have decided to interpret this goal in different ways. Some teachers have the children record one book every day that they read at school during the Readers' Workshop. In our class we have decided to require the children to read the books to meet the goal at home. While we have time every single day for the children to read independently, it is also important to us that they develop the habit of reading at home every night. It is a part of their nightly homework and is a habit that will be required of them for their entire career at Chets Creek.

Meeting their goal is a big job for a first grader. First of all they have to remember to change out their book every morning, selecting a "just right" book from their book bin to take home. Then they have to remember to remind mom or dad that they have to read. We consider this the child's responsibility. It's not enough to just read. Then they have to pull out their login sheet and write the date, the name of the book (once the child starts chapter books, about 15 minutes of reading a night counts as "a book" which is usually several short chapters) and the level of the book. On Fridays they have to remember to turn in their log and get a new sheet for the new week. However, we have learned that first graders CAN complete this task and if their parents offer a little support, the children have no trouble at all! Last nine week we were so disappointed when only 11 of our children met their goal. We realized that many of them did not understand our expectation and neither did their families. It was a new routine for our families. We have worked hard this nine weeks and today 18 of our 29 children met their goal and enjoyed the Principal's Barnyard Book Bingo! We expect even more children to make their goal this next nine weeks as they realize the pay-off... and even more the last nine weeks! We think we are teaching children a lifetime habit.

Today was fun with a Dining Room full of first graders excited that they had made their nine weeks' reading goal. Our Principal called the barnyard animals as the children marked their Bingo cards. Every child had the opportunity to yell "Bingo!" and to get a prize along with a special pencil. Most of all, the children just had lots and lots of fun! They can't wait until the next nine weeks when the Principal promises to KISS A PIG!
And how about the children that didn't get to participate? They were in the room.... reading, but more than that, several of them have asked to take home two and three books a night so they can catch up! Our goal is that every child in our class understands that they will become better readers if they read! Will let you know how it goes...

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