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We Are Wild About Reading & Not AR!


Wild About Reading...this was our first theme this year for celebrating the love of reading.  This is also our first year in a lot of years to go without Accelerated Reading (AR).  I have posted previously on my feelings about AR if you want to read those posts to understand how we got to the place we are at now, just click here.

We have decided to celebrate the act of reading and the love of books through real life reading and not through incentives or test taking.  My committee decided we would hold a celebration (where everyone participates not just those that earn points) 4 times a year- once a quarter.  

It was left up to each individual teacher how much they wanted to do in celebration, but we provided ideas on how to promote and celebrate.  We provided the theme of Wild About Reading and asked if the teachers had any decorations that they wanted to put up in the hall it would be great.  We were thinking of hanging some vines from the ceiling for a jungle look and putting fake plants out in the halls.  But let me tell you, the excitement took hold of everyone and the halls have looked like I have NEVER seen them look!

We had jungle vines across ceilings, almost every door decorated to the maximum, and art work EVERYWHERE celebrating books and reading!  Classroom teachers, Title 1 teachers, art teachers, paraprofessionals...all caught the buzz and got involved.  Our door, as you can see was decorated like the Wild Things.  Others' doors had trees, vines, monkeys, giraffes, tigers, snakes, bananas. You name it, it was there!  It was the coolest thing to walk down the halls and see everything in celebration of reading.

Teachers got to plan how long they wanted to celebrate and what activities to do.  Some did Mystery Readers, where a mystery guest showed up to read a book to the class.  Others did crafts to go with a special story.  Classroom parents sent in special snacks to go with the theme (animal crackers, zebra cakes).  Themed bookmarks, jungle book read alouds, book sharing were also ideas given.  Teachers and students were also encouraged to wear animal prints-fun!  And our celebration just happened to be the same day that book fair opened- great books were everywhere!

One big hit of the day was getting to read in the hall (yes, this is a great motivator, because when does a whole class ever get to read in the hall?).  Kids brought blankets and stuffed animals and were allowed to spend time in the hall reading books.  Which is what this day was all about- real life reading!  Some of the younger students even read their books TO their stuffed animal and enjoyed that so much.

We have not completely settled on our theme for our next celebration, but teachers are already asking what it will be so they can start on their ideas now.  I LOVE it when the whole school pulls together!  For me, this is what celebrating reading is all about!

14 comments:

  1. I love this! I smiled through the whole thing. It's such a great way of celebrating being readers for life and not for a test. Yea for real life reading!


    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

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  2. Real life celebration tops tests and pencil prizes every day in my book. Good for your school for going that route - it may be a bit more effort and take more time, but the results are SO worth it.

    sandi
    rubberboots and elf shoes

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  3. LOVE THIS! I am anti-AR. THIS celebration and promotion of reading is dear to my heart. What wonderful memories you and your cohorts are creating by celebrating reading this way!
    ❤Dragonflies in First ❤

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  4. I wish our school would do something like this. Kids who struggle in reading have no motivation because they can't take the tests. My son's school stopped AR this year, and he actually enjoys reading because he can read whatever he wants without worrying about taking a test on it. Great idea ~ now to convince my Media Specialist who LOVES AR.
    Andrea
    Reading Toward the Stars

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  5. Lucky you! We aren't even allowed to have a class list posted outside our doors. It's the fire marshall, you see.....

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  6. What a fabulous way to celebrate reading. I LOVE it!
    One thing we sometimes do that you might be interested in is a Reading Pajama Party. The kids come to school in their pj's and our parent group serves milk and cookies to everyone while they lie around the classroom and read. Great fun!!
    Barb
    Grade ONEderful

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  7. Yay,Tammy! I love when my posts make you smile!

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  8. Sandi, I love that you came by! I'm so glad that we have finally gone this route to real life reading!

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  9. Thank you, Traci, for coming by to read this about celebrating reading!! I was relieved when we finally decided to do this. :)

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  10. Thank you Brandi! I appreciate you coming by to read about it!

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  11. Andrea, your thoughts are some of the very reasons I wanted to stop using AR! You need a team of teachers that feel the same way you do to go to your media specialist to try to get things changed. Good luck!

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  12. Yes, Anonymous, some schools are not allowed to decorate like this. Thankfully, they have not stopped that at our school. Our halls looked fabulous!

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  13. Barbara, that is funny that you mentioned the pajama idea! That idea is being considered for part of our theme for next quarter. I love it-thanks!

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