10 Ways to Inspire Students to Read, Read, Read Over the Break

Three weeks ago I wrote a blog post about my advent-inspired book talk countdown board. I created the board below in hopes of inspiring some great reading over the winter break. Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 6.18.09 PM

I encouraged my students to create a Wish List of books they might like to read over the winter break.  I also encouraged them to take home two to three books each from our classroom library. Now, I know that some of my books might never return. But my hope is that my students do some good reading over the break and come back to class in January ready to go!

Here is my board all filled up with book recs:

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 5.46.13 PM

This was one way I tried to inspire my students to do some good reading over the break.

Here are 10 other ways you might inspire your students to read over the break:

  1. Inspired by Penny Kittle’s Tweet- Create a classroom door display of photos of students reading their vacation picks. Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 5.57.36 PM.png
  2. Do a round of Speed Booking this week (Thank you, TCRWP, for this great idea!) Speed Booking is like speed dating, except students recommend book titles to each other in 1 minute or less.
  3. Give each student a new plastic Ziploc book baggie and have them “shop” for books for their vacation. Decorate the baggie with a festive holiday bow!
  4. Encourage students to take a “shelfie” over the vacation with a book they are reading. Have students bring the photo into school in the New Year (or email it to their teacher) when they return. You can use these images to create a display of students reading.
  5. Another great idea inspired by Penny Kittle- Have students write a sticky note or index card of a book they’d like to read over the vacation: Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 5.57.46 PM
  6. Have students create a special bookmark (index card or piece of heavy card stock) with their reading goals for the vacation.
  7. Inspired by my brilliant colleague, Maureen Corbo, a sixth grade teacher at my school, have students take a selfie of themselves in their favorite cozy reading place. In the New Year use these photos to talk about good reading habits and the joys of reading.
  8. Visit the school library and have students pick out some good books for the vacation.
  9. Have your students discuss their vacation reading plans with their reading buddies and how they are going to meet their reading goals.
  10. Show students which books you plan to read over the vacation and show lots of enthusiasm. I have a permanent display in my classroom of the books I am reading. Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 6.17.21 PM.png


Getting ready to do some good reading and writing over the holiday break, Dana Johansen spends her time teaching fifth grade in Connecticut, negotiating with her yellow lab about not chewing on the Christmas tree, and playing the app, Cookie Jam. She has taught elementary and middle school for fourteen years. Dana is a doctoral student at Teachers College, Columbia University where she studies blended learning in reading and writing workshop. She is the co-author of the books Teaching Interpretation and Flip Your Writing Workshop. 

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