Sunday, September 21, 2014

Spark Student Motivation: Book "Previews"
For the second week in a row, I'm late to the party, but I'm here nonetheless! I'm once again linking up with the fabulous Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching for her Spark Student Motivation Saturday! This week, I'm sharing how we get our students excited about reading in our Character Book Clubs.

A little book club background:

Our book clubs are essentially students reading books by level independently and then getting together on Fridays to discuss them like a real "book club." This offers our students some choice in reading but also allows the teacher to keep track of only 10 - 12 different novels. We are currently starting our character unit. Our class mentor text is Rules. Each day we read aloud part of Rules and model a reading lesson or strategy. Students then have time to read their book club novel and perform the same task with their novels. For our faster readers, once they read two novels they can read their own books or they can continue going through our book club list. This is an additional motivator for students wanting complete freedom in independent reading.

To get our students excited before reading, we start with book previews! Who doesn't love watching the previews before a movie? It's normal to love the previews! To get my students excited, I go online and try to find book trailers or mini-movies from You Tube or Scholastic about the books. We then take the time to go over each book choice. We read the level, blurb, and then watch the trailer. Students then rank each book as a book they'd want to read or a book they'd pass on. My teaching partner and I have found that this method of showing the "previews" really gets our students excited about books and reading!

Here's a few previews from our character unit:


Here's the letter & book "blurbs" we send home with students and parents:

You can get a PDF version here or an editable Word version here.
This is only the first page, book choices go through the letter W.

We passed our book club novels last week and I'm sure come Monday, I'll already have students finished. I've found it's worth the time to "show" students "good books" and authors. This helps motivate even some of our non-readers. Students are also allowed to count all book club novels for their 40 Book Challenge {We are using The Brown Bag Teacher's Reading Log for our challenge} since they are read independently. For many students, this is an additional motivating factor in reading through the list or reading at least two novels.

How do you motivate students to read in your classroom?


  1. This is awesome! I know you kind of briefly explained all of this to me on IG, but I love the handouts and all of your ideas that you and your partner use.

    I am totally going to do this for my next set of novels. What units do you guys do during the year? I'd love to hear more!!

    Ahh so pumped! Student choice!!

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