Isn’t it funny how different our groups of students can be from year to year? It always amazes me how some years my kiddos will be so into specific parts of our day and the next year it is entirely different. Last year, my kindies loved independent reading. They had great stamina from the start, they would find a quiet place to read, and they even asked for more independent reading time. This year is an entirely different story.
My kiddos last maybe 3-5 minutes independently reading. They are constantly bothering one another and some just sit there with no desire to even open the book. Of course this makes my book obsessed teacher heart start to panic! I was wracking my brain to try to find more things to foster a love of reading with my class when I realized my mistake. Because of the lack of interest and discipline with my students I had been holding back parts of independent reading that I usually introduce after I feel like the kids have the basics down. This class needed those bells and whistles right away. Cue the “Book Boats and Buddies”!
After scrolling through too many Instagram feeds this summer, I had seen adorable pictures of teachers putting laundry baskets in their reading corners. When Target was having a sale one day, I decided to pick up and few to give it a try. When I introduced these laundry baskets to my class I called them our “Book Boats”. I made a huge deal about floating away in our imagination while reading in a “Book Boat”. We talked about finding a quiet place where our “boat” wouldn’t bump into any other “boats”. I might have even thrown in a little of… “keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times” ;0) Amazingly enough, it worked! My little captains have been independently reading in their “Book Boats” for 10-15 minutes and when I tell them time is up I get groans instead of relief! Yay!
The other little incentive is reading with a “Book Buddy”. My daughter was ready to donate some of her old Care Bears and I snagged them for my classroom. I introduced our “Buddies” and explained to my students how much they love to be read to. We talked about having our “buddy” sit in our lap as we read to them and how we have to find a quiet place so our “buddy” can hear us in our whispered voices. I can’t tell you how well this worked too! I love seeing my precious kindies with a Care Bear in their laps whispering stories in their ears.
Just adding these two little tricks has turned Independent Reading into a wonderful part of our daily routine. It was also a great reminder for me that sometimes it’s best to just drive right in, your kindies might just surprise you :0)
If you would like to download my freebie “Book Buddies” sign click on the picture below!