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NYC Helpline: How To: Work with Students' Families

Building Stamina and Motivation in Reading at School and Home 
by Linda Mandracchia

So, you’re in the thick of the school year,time sure does fly.  But, do you know how much your students are reading?  I mean really reading?  It is a good idea to keep track of what and how much they are reading and to involve the parents and families in this as well.  We all know that the more kids read, the better they do overall in school in all other subjects. 

Two ways to motivate your students to read, are Reading Logs and The 100 Book Challenge: they will build their stamina, help them meet their minimum 25 book per year requirement to meet the NYC standards, and keep their families involved.

Reading Logs
Reading Logs come in all shapes and sizes, formats and designs.  You can access existing ones by googling “reading logs” or simply make your own. Logs are usually specific to early grades, upper elementary and middle school and usually include date, title of book, author, genre, pages read. Some may include a parental signature.  Including the parental signature involves the families to help students track their reading and adds accountability to what and how much they have read.

When I was a classroom teacher, I collected the logs once a week to make sure my students were reading and recording and that parents were aware of how much or how little their child was reading.  In addition, some teachers have students complete an index card with the title of the book, the author, and give a brief synopsis of the book on the other side of the card.  It is a good idea to also monitor how long a child is taking to complete one book.  If you use the Fountas and Pinell leveling system in your school (most NYC schools use this system), here is a useful table your students can use. You can also share it with their parents to get them more involved.

How Can I Move Up a Level?

If you read at this level
It should take this long to finish a book
and move up to the next level in
J,K,L (about 2nd grade- early 3rd grade)    
45 minutes  
10 days
M, N (about 3rd grade)    
60 minutes  
15 days
O,P, Q (about 4th grade)  
2 hours (2 days)  
21 days
R, S, T (about 5th, 6th grade)  
4 hours (4 days)    
45 days
U-Z (7th grade and higher)  
4-7 hours (4-7 days)   
60 days

100 Book Challenge
Another way to build motivation is to have a 100 book challenge.  This is great for motivation when started in the beginning of the school year, but can be initiated at any time.  Parents should be informed of the challenge by a flyer and be encouraged to root on their children to read more at school and at home.

When a whole class reads 100 books as a class (or their second 100), the whole class will have a celebration (decided upon by the class).  In the middle school I am working in this year, it was a class wide challenge and also a school-wide challenge.  The classes that got to their 100 books decided to design a day of school the way the students wanted.  When my son had a 100 book challenge, once met their goal, they had an in class slumber party.  All students and teachers wore their pjs to school and brought pillows, sleeping bags, and stuffed animals and spent the day lounging around reading more books.

Keeping reading logs and having 100 book challenges are only two ways to increase student motivation and stamina for reading.  Including families in this process will only help to assure your students are successful and stay motivated.

See also: How to Handle Telephone Conferences by  Allison Demas.



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