Do you find it difficult to motivate your students to read efficiently in class? I do. Often times, we will set out to read a non-fiction article and my kids are just not motivated, even though I feel as though I’ve done everything right. It’s relevant, at the right reading level, and timely.
When planning for our first few lessons after break, I knew I wanted my students to read, but I also wanted the lessons to be full of energy, collaboration, and excitement. I did some brainstorming and came up with a group competition that worked like a charm.
I called it a reading relay.
Here’s how it works:
- I found 3-5 articles that all had a similar underlying theme.
- I let the students choose their own groups (only since it was the first day back-I’ll be a bit more strategic in the future).
- Students received the first article and had to read, quickly annotate, and answer a few text-dependent questions.
- Every student wrote down their answers and turned them in.
- All answers had to be the same, which meant students had to come to a consensus via discussion. This naturally fostered academic communication (“Dude! The answer is totally B because right here in the text it says…).
- When the group finished, their answers were brought to me. I quickly scored them and added their points to the white board.
- Next, students grabbed the next article and started again.
- I gave extra points to the first group to get 100% on each article.
(Ignore the missing pennants. We are only allowed to use blue painter’s tape on the walls. When I returned from break, several had fallen).
Overall, this activity was a success. I was able to observe many of our reading strategies in action. Students discussed their answers, not because I was forcing them, but because it was necessary for them to come to a consensus. I have had several requests to do this again (You mean you want to read more informational text?).
Here are some of my favorite places to go to for non-fiction articles:
I hope this helps get your kids reading this semester!