The best way for students to grow as readers is to spend more time reading and listening to reading. As teachers we know how important reading at home is. If our students read 20 minutes every evening, our classrooms would be SO different. Students need practice to become better readers and they need to hear fluent reading.
I ask that students that students read 7 nights a week, BUT I also know that this is not very likely. Therefore, I have set a goal for every student to read at least 4 nights a week...meaning if our class reads 100 nights (as a team) each week we will be well on our way to becoming better readers.
Therefore, each week we get a goal of earning 100 Reading Stars. 100 nights of becoming a better reader together each week! As students read their four nights each week, they record their reading on a log (which stays in their home folder).
For my friends who don't have the at-home support that means reading logs get completed, we have alternative plans. I have a wonderful parent volunteer who comes in 2 mornings each week and reads with 4 students one-on-one. After reading with Mrs. Amber these friends can have their reading log signed by her. I have another friend who logs his reading, talks to me about it in the morning, and I sign his log. Regardless, every student has a part to play in our 100 Stars, and we celebrate EVERY time someone decides to become a better reader. :)
Each Friday, as a part of our morning routine, students place their reading logs on our writing desk. After our 'Good Morning' song, we sit on the carpet and count our stars. As I call students up, they color a star on our SMART Board (I just inserted 100 stars onto a blank page, grouped them so they don't move, and saved the file.) Students who color 4 or more stars, receive a sticker and every students who helped us work toward our goal receives a cheer from the class. :)
After counting our stars, we graph our results. If we reached our goal, we talk about why we reached our goal and we have an in-class moment of celebration (i.e. a Go Noodle break). If we didn't reach our goal, it's a great chance to talk about the why. Sometimes friends forget their reading logs at home, they didn't read as much during the week (*gasp*), or sometimes they forget to have their families sign them. Regardless, we relate it right back to the 7 Habits: Habit 1 - Be Proactive. "I'm in charge of my life!"
After reaching our 100 Star Goal the 3rd week of school, we celebrated with a Stinky Feet day (i.e. no shoes in the classroom). :) This past Friday (our 7th week), we hit our goal again and we will be celebrating with lunch out on the patio on Monday. Woohoo!!!
How do you manage independent reading in your classroom? I would love to hear how at-home reading works for you and your friends. If you're interested in any of the resources I use, you may grab them from DropBox as a freebie!