Schools often host a "Right to Read" annual event to support and encourage students of all ages to read. Themes should focus on the importance of reading and encourage students to read more. Teachers must select themes that are well-suited to their grade level. Some may choose to organize reading competitions to celebrate the week.
Opt for a "reading railroad" theme for kindergarten and early elementary students. Make a poster-board-sized paper train engine and write "Right to Read" on the side. Cut out 12-by-6-inch rectangular bricks -- to serve as rail cars -- and have students write their name, the author and the title of each book they read on individual cars. They can color or decorate their cars as part of the festivities. Post the train engine and finished rail cars on a long wall outside your classroom or around the interior of your classroom, suggests the Ohio Council of the International Reading Association.
Pirate Ship Reading Competition
Create a pirate ship reading competition for upper-elementary or middle-school students. Divide the students into groups of 25 and give each group a specific team color. Create a wall-sized paper pirate ship with the words "Right to Read" on a sail, and hang the poster on a wall in the lunchroom. Tape individual sheets of colored poster board -- that correspond with the team colors -- on the giant pirate ship. As students finish a book, they must write their name, the author and the title on their team's poster board. At the end of the week, the team with the most books gets to throw water balloons at the principal, suggests Tony Piquet, principal at Rubyville Elementary in Portsmouth, Ohio, according to the Portsmouth Daily Times. Teachers might set restrictions, such as the number of pages the book must contain, in order for it to count for the competition. The principal should wear a pirate costume for the water balloon finale.
Favorite Fictional Characters
Ask students in any age group to choose a book that contains their favorite fictional character. Have young students write a short paragraph about their character, participate in a show-and-tell about their book or give a brief oral book report. Older students might do character analyses, write an alternate ending to this story or design their own book cover. At the end of the week, invite students to dress up like their favorite character, suggests Traci Gardner, writing instructor at Virginia Tech, according to the International Reading Association's website ReadWriteThink.
Drop Everything and Read
Organize a school-wide event where every time a chime sounds over the intercom, students and teachers must stop whatever they're doing and read for a designated amount of time, such as 10 or 15 minutes. This might require students to carry a reading book with them to art, music or physical education classes. Teachers and administrators should avoid sounding the chime during lunchtime or recess. Before the week begins, teachers should allow students to get reading books from the library or bring favorite books from home to read. Teachers can determine if they want to allow students to read e-books.
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.