I run a programme in my classroom called ‘Read Around New Zealand’, which my own teacher ran when I was a student.
The aim is to encourage children to read (and it even gets reluctant readers on board).
Every time a child completes a book, they bring it to me, and I check how many pages have been read. For every two pages, they earn 1 kilometre. These kilometres accumulate and enable them to ‘travel’ around the country.
For example, if a child reads 100 pages, they will travel 50 kilometres, and this continues until they reach a nearby town. Each time they pass a town, they are rewarded with incentives, e.g. sitting on a cushion for a day, 5 minutes of free time etc. I ensure the towns aren’t too far apart so they can be rewarded regularly.
It is very easy to adapt, e.g. change the country in the title; award kilometres (or miles) for more or less reading (i.e. 1 kilometre per page/chapter etc.); have them travel around the world.
(This idea was contributed by Trish)
During the past few years as a teacher, I reward my children with stamps for every book they read. After they read ten books, they get a sticker. When they finish one page of books, they are able to choose one book from the children’s library to keep. That way children are able to continue reading with their choice of book, and they are encouraged to read to parents at home and at school. Books can be second-hand or new that you keep in your personal library, but no matter what they choose, they enjoy. I also do this with my own children at home with a reward for a book or video. They strive to achieve.
Through school holidays, I also encourage writing and give each child a writing book in which they write what they experienced during the holidays. My year one child has just completed his first day of writing on his own and completed a page and a half of interesting writing (by himself). We have to, as teachers, believe children can do better and strive to risk take to get the better for them.