Encouraging independent reading is one of the most important and most challenging tasks for elementary. One theme that can be fun is “book scouts.” Just like boy and girl scouts, students have a sash (made of paper) and can earn “badges” to put on it. Depending on the grade you teach, students may earn a badge for one book, or a set number of books.
The badges can be anything, such as stickers, but you can also print these badges. Choose between those with genre listed, or those without. You may want to print different genres on different colored paper.
How publicly the sashes should be displayed depends on your school culture and the personalities of your students.
Another way to keep track of and encourage independent reading, is to help children create portfolios for the books they read. Print this page to have students fill out each time they complete a book. They can enjoy watching their portfolio of completed books grow and also look back on past pages to remember how they liked previous reads.
Or, use these pages as part of a class book of everyone’s “book reviews.” Keep them all together in a binder in the class library.
Sometimes students can get stuck in a rut of always reading the same type of book. While it is fantastic to have favorites that get children yearning to pick up their books, it is also beneficial to sometimes take time to expand their horizons. One way to do this is with Book Meals. Have students complete this page, drawing pictures of their favorite food, a food they like, a food they think is okay, and one they haven’t tried yet. Then, have them choose their favorite genre, a genre they like, one they think is okay, and one they have not tried yet. The goal is to continue enjoying favorites, while also trying new things in between.
Keep older readers motivated with a yearly book list.