Reading Rocks: Programming to Create Lifelong Readers

As students get busier, both in and out of school, how can we promote a lifelong love for reading? Here are a three program ideas to help promote literacy throughout your school. 

Get Caught Reading

Book covers on paper for voting

Reward students for using their free time during the school day to read. There are many ways you can make this program work for you.

I’ve made up Get Caught Reading tickets and enlisted teachers in helping me hand them out. When they find students reading on their own time, teachers give them a ticket. Students are responsible for bringing their tickets to the library, and every so often we’ll draw for a prize.

You could also have a Get Caught Reading hashtag on your social media accounts. Snap pictures of students who you see reading on their own time and feature them on your pages.

Book Bingo

Like regular Bingo, Book Bingo participants are trying to fill up a row or black out a Bingo card, but instead of numbers, each square has a different type of book. You could make a Bingo card highlighting different genres or different authors. Or, you could do a fun combination of physical features (book with a dog on the cover, book with more than 150 pages, etc.).

Don’t forget that the middle space is always a free one, and consider adding some non-reading squares that encourage students to branch out, like asking them to recommend a book to a classmate or send a letter to the author.

Do a Google search for Book Bingo, and you’ll find hundreds of pre-made examples. Have a special prize or party for students who reach your chosen goal.

Support teen and children’s choice awards

Students love when they have input on which books should win awards. There are tons of teen and children’s choice awards for books out there, from YALSA’s Teen Top 10 to many state awards, and a lot of them require that students read a minimum number of titles from the nominee list in order to vote.

A good way to engage students with one of these awards is to:

  • Pick a list
  • Highlight the nominees throughout the selection time period
  • Keep track of the students who have read enough titles
  • Have a voting party at the end of the year for those students who participated.

I’m currently highlighting the nominees for this year’s Volunteer State Book Awards. I’ve printed out the covers of each of the books to hang on the wall, and as students finish a book, they sign their name to that page, which helps me keep track of student participation.