Elizabeth Mulvahill

We all want our students to have a lifelong love of reading and a passion for exploration through books. The big question is, how do we motivate them? As Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) kicks off its new six-month reading initiative, Rally to Read 100, RIF and WeAreTeachers have gathered helpful tips for you and your students to reach the initiative’s bold goal of classrooms across the country reading 100 books together.

From video read-alouds with notable authors and illustrators to taking the Rally to Read pledge, this list of unique ideas from WeAreTeachers and RIF will help your students read more than ever this year.

1. Set a goal to read 100 books together.

Setting a class goal or individual student goals is a simple way to encourage kids to read. Kick it up a notch by taking RIF’s Rally to Read 100 pledge. It’s a fun way to motivate your class to read 100 books by Read Across America Day in March. Take the pledge together with your students to encourage collective reading.

Elementary students working with teacher in library reading books

2. Highlight a special reading theme each month.

Choose a monthly reading theme for your classroom to make connections through different titles and topics. Tackle themes that kids care about and connect with, like community, diversity, compassion, adventure, and nature. Need ideas? Check out Rally to Read’s six months of themes to get started now.

3. Let students choose titles from curated book lists.

Making sure students have the tools they need to get excited about reading is so important. Choose books with topics that your students love from your classroom library or the school’s library to keep them engaged. Choose from Rally to Read’s curated, themed book lists to help students further explore their favorite themes and continue their discovery about each topic in school and at home.

Recommended book lists from Rally to Read

4. Treat your students to video read-alouds from their favorite authors.

Kids adore read-alouds, and seeing videos featuring their favorite authors creates a deeper connection with the books. Hear from authors such as actor LaVar Burton and environmentalist Phillipe Cousteau to get some inside scoop about their books.

5. Introduce pre- and post-reading activities.

Keep reading lessons engaging with pre-activities, including learning about the author’s background, discussing the book’s topic, or brainstorming what the reading could be about based on the title. Finish your book lesson with post-activities such as summarizing the story, completing a craft relating to the book, or discussing character traits. Use these Rally to Read pre-and post-reading activities which complement their video read alouds to help you support their learning.

6. Track progress with reading logs.

Students can keep track of their reading progress towards 100 books and hold themselves accountable by keeping a reading book log, like this one from the Rally to Read all year round resources. Plus, this is a great way for you to check in on them!

7. Present special certificates for meeting reading goals.

Students love to be recognized for their hard work. Pick a reader of the week or award students as they meet their goals. Be sure to celebrate your students’ reading success as they rally to read with year round resources like this free printable certificate.

8. Fill your classroom with motivating messages about reading.

Encourage students to reach their reading goal by posting visual cues everywhere they look. Make a class reading slogan or use RIF’s Rally to Read classroom initiative kit, which will hook you up with posters, bookmarks, and more to celebrate reading, while supplies last.

9. Include a variety of diverse books in your classroom library.

The world is a diverse place, and it’s so important for children to read books that reflect their lives, families, communities, and cultures. Choose titles from RIF’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Collection , which celebrates diversity and individuality and helps teach children how to embrace and accept what makes us different.

10. Provide students with fresh book choices on a regular basis.

Students love new books! As an educator, you can apply for grant money or take out books from your school library to create a variety of book choices for your students. Another great opportunity is to enter the RIF Rally to Read 100 Sweepstakes for your chance to win a big new collection of books for your school. One hundred schools will each win 100 specially-curated, diverse books to add to their library.

Child girls in library choosing a book

11. Book review forms make choosing the right book easier.

Have students fill out book review forms where they can reflect on their favorite parts and what they learned. Sharing student reviews will help classmates choose their next book. Plus, it’s a great reading review strategy!

12. Make literacy come alive daily.

Use interactive literacy calendars and Daily Book Bites to highlight special days in history. Educate your class on events involving Albert Einstein, Amelia Earhart, and more. Plus, get book recommendations and activities that correspond with an interesting historical event that happened each day of the year.

13. Work on wordsmithing.

Create custom word games for your students to reinforce word recognition and build vocabulary. Use the Rally to Read theme-based monthly activity packets with word searches, criss-cross puzzles, and coloring sheets to dig deeper into each month’s theme.

Reading activity sheets from Rally to Read

14. Give students tips and tricks to help them find books they’ll love.

Provide intentional instruction about book selection in addition to student reading time. Teach students how to select appropriate titles, encourage pre- and post-reading activities, and have the class practice giving and listening to book talks. Start to plan these activities with some of these resources from Rally to Read.

15. Let students learn directly from authors through video interviews.

Every author has a story to tell, and it isn’t just found in their books. Not surprisingly, you’ll find that the passion for writing often started as a passion for reading. Have your students hear from the authors themselves with these author interviews and maybe you’ll inspire a future author.

16. Get your readers up and moving!

Reading doesn’t only have to be a solitary, sit-at-your-desk activity. Try guided reading beach ball toss, sight word hopscotch, running dictation relay race, and more. Your students will love these kinesthetic reading activities.

A multi-ethnic group of preschool students is sitting with their legs crossed on the floor in their classroom. The mixed-race female teacher is sitting on the floor facing the children. The happy kids are smiling and following the teacher's instructions. They have their arms raised in the air.

17. Have fun while boosting word skills.

Help your readers read more fluently and accurately with these easy to prep, multi-sensory, and fun sight word activities. Start a sight word band, build a rock word wall or feed the word monster.

18. Teach close reading to help students to get more out of books.

In between reading sessions, teach close reading skills. Try innovative and engaging ideas like author studies or song lyric activities that help students build skills that will lead to greater understanding and make reading more enjoyable.

19. Build fluency in a fun way.

Reading fluency involves speed, accuracy, and prosody (reading with expression) and leads to greater comprehension. Try fantastic fluency activities like putting together poetry, answering the fluency phone, and scooping phrases.

20. Acknowledge success with a celebration.

After reaching a class reading goal, have a celebration! Letting students know there will be a reward, such as an ice cream party, for their hard work will keep them motivated. Make Read Across America Day on March 2, 2022, the culmination of your classroom reading success with Rally to Read’s Celebratory Online Event. Sign up for email updates to be the first to know about the event and featured guests.

Ready to inspire your students to read more?

Take RIF’s Rally to Read 100 pledge and request a classroom kit with posters, bookmarks, and more (while supplies last) to celebrate reading with your students. Stay in the loop about Rally to Read monthly read-alouds and corresponding classroom activities, and enter to win a collection of 100 new books!

Explore Rally to Read





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