Today is the first day of summer vacation! On a whim, I told the girls we should start a reading contest. It has suddenly ballooned into a major family project, and we are so excited about it!
First of all, I want to give credit where credit is due. This project is modeled on a classroom reading project my daughter’s kindergarten teacher did this year. I’ve made some modifications to suit a family, but the ideas behind the project are hers. So Mrs. Koontz–thank you for this inspiration.
I was also inspired by a teacher friend’s middle school house cup contest–thank you too, Cap!
Teams: We are working in teams. As a family, we chose parents against kids, which we hope will help our daughters feel closer to one another instead of competing with one another. Depending on your family, you may want to team up as boys vs girls or mixed teams. The key is what works for your family.
Points: My daughters are still young and reading short chapter books, early readers, or picture books. We decided that every book (without chapters) or every chapter earns one point.
My older daughter is starting to read silently, and my younger daughter primarily reads aloud. So that we can guarantee that they’re actually reading everything they say, we alternate between asking them to re-read a page to us, asking them questions about each book or chapter, or simply asking them to tell us about what they read. If they’re so inclined, they can ask us to do the same.
Reading Journals: Though this is team contest, we are tracking books individually, too. We first created a large chart for the wall so that everyone could record their books. I very quickly found that this would be impractical, and we modified our program to include individual reading logs instead. Everyone has their own, we decorated our covers (even dad did his!) and there are lined pages inside for recording books or chapters.
Team Tallies: Daily, or several times a day, you should record everyone’s progress on a large team tally board. Make a big deal out of this family time–cheer for every participant and count up the tally marks (math lesson!).
Prizes: Our project is going to last for 8 weeks (we think). The grand prize is a trip to Chuck E Cheese (if the kids win) and Cheeseburger in Paradise (if we win). I’m also planning smaller “pop prizes” for the first team to 50 books, first team to 100 books, first person to 50 books, most books read in the first week, etc. Some of these pop prizes will be team prizes and some will be individual.
I think that’s it, so far! I’m sure I’ll modify as I go and we see what works and what doesn’t. My biggest concern is the length, so I’m hoping we can
keep the kids motivated for the entire 8 weeks.
If you and your family want to join us, please do! I’d love to hear about how your family does their summer reading project, so please use the #summerreadingproject tag!