Sorry, educators, but summer’s winding down, in-services are starting up, and it’s time to think about the school year ahead (hopefully, a little more “normal” than last year?). We know you’re looking for fun and engaging ways to help your students improve their skills and knowledge base while keeping their attention after a tough two years. We’ve got you. Here are some easy ways to have fun with literacy in the classroom this year.
Battle of the Books
This is a great activity to start early and continue all year long. The prep work is creating a bracket (think: NCAA March Madness basketball). Pick an even number of books to pit against each other. Break students into four groups, each of which reads two books and casts their votes on the winner. That book goes up against the top pick of the other groups, and so on. Celebrate the winning book at the end with a party highlighting the theme of the book. Learn more here.
Word Family Fishing
For this game for early readers, you’ll need plastic fishing nets, masking tape (or some other way to write word families on the nets), a bucket or plastic tub, ping pong balls, and a marker. This involves water, so you’ll also need towels. Write the endings of word families on each net (e.g. “-at,” “-op,”
“-an,” etc.). Write words that fit each word family (e.g. “hat,” “stop,” “van,” etc.) on ping pong balls. Each child gets a net and goes “fishing” in the bucket for words that match their net’s word family. Learn more here.
Set up a chair for each student, either in a circle or back-to-back. Put on music and, as if playing musical chairs, have the students walk slowly in a circle until the music stops. This time, there are enough chairs for everyone and a book placed under each chair. Each student will grab the book under their chair and read for a few minutes (they don’t have to start at the beginning!). When the music starts up again, they’ll place the book under their chair and keep walking. Put the books out later so they can pick them up again if they’re interested. Learn more.
This is another game that could be played year-long and can be done in two ways.
- Fill a bingo square with the title and author of the reading list for the year (and possibly some other popular or recommended titles). When they finish each book, have them check off that box (you can choose to ask a question about the book or assign them to write a short paragraph about each book). When they fill up a row, they get a prize.
- Give students blank bingo cards and have them write the title and author in a square when they read a book. They win when they’ve filled in the whole card.
In either case, a parent or guardian should sign the card when they’ve completed it and winners receive a prize or incentive (it could be a class-wide incentive if the whole class completes a certain number of cards, such as a party or movie). Learn more here.
One School, One Book
Select a book appropriate for the whole school to read and provide a copy of the book to each student. Students can make either individual or collaborative art projects, films, fan fiction, and other projects related to the book. Offer a daily trivia question related to the book with small prizes. Have students discuss the book in small groups with teachers moderating and asking questions. Throw a party with food and decorations based on the book, if applicable. Learn more here.