Kids Reading Ideas

Basketful of Books | Classroom Reading Activities

By: Yael Calhoun, co-author of School Volunteer Handbook: A Simple Guide for K-6 Teachers and Parents

Here’s a quick way to share reading with any grade, K-6. 

You can share both picture (K-3) and chapter books (4-6) and use it to introduce a specific theme (examples: multicultural, animals, or seasons).

It only takes 30 minutes.

Here are the easy steps:

1.  Prepare the basket of books

Younger grades: Collect books on a theme: examples include moose,         seasons, other cultures, and animals that do funny things.  Choose books that are interactive and have opportunities for students to respond, make animal sounds, repeat phrases, and make hand and body movements.  Read the books aloud at home.  Then choose two picture books to read aloud.  Mark two pages from the others that you also will read aloud.

Older grades: Collect about eight books from different genres: nonfiction  animal, mystery, sports, fantasy, science fiction, multicultural stories, and   historical fiction are examples.  Read a chapter from each so you have the  flavor of the book.  Then identify (or ask a librarian to) a page or two from each book to serve as hooks for reading aloud. Include one book you have read.

2. Prepare the book lists

Create a list of the books with the titles and authors for each student. This simple list is a big help to parents who want to build on, “Oh, I liked this book I heard about today,” but the student can’t remember the title or author.  It also lets the students know you value sharing books with them.

3. Do the activity

The hook.  “If you like to read, raise your pinkie finger up high.  And if you don’t like to read, it may just be that you haven’t found the kind of book that’s right for you yet.  Raise your other pinkie if you are open to the possibility of finding a book you would like to read.”

Basket of books.  Have the books nicely presented, and in a manner that allows most to remain hidden so it piques student interest.

Book list.  Hand out the book list so students can mark the titles of interest, perhaps later finding them at a library.

Read the books.  Remind them to mark their book lists as you go.

Younger grades: Read the students a book.  Keep itinteractive.  Read selected pages from the other story books.  Remind the students to mark their book lists.     Finish by reading another entire book aloud.

Older grades: Describe the plot of one book and read a paragraph or page from that book.  Continue the process for each book you have chosen.  Have students mark the book lists.

Involve the students.  As a way to generate a discussion of future good reads, close the activity by asking the students which books they have marked on their lists.  If time allows, ask the students why they made these choices.

Keep It Going!

Contests.  Look on-line for writing contests for students.                                  http://www.scholastic.com/bookfairs/contest/kaa_about.asp is a fun site with book fair and other “Kids are Authors” contests.

Sharing the books.  If it is difficult for some students to go to a library, perhaps the teacher has books in the classroom you could use or loan yours to the class for two weeks.  Buying books from school book clubs, library used book sales, yard sales, or on-line bookstores can be inexpensive ways to stock your basket of books.

Self-publish.  Work in small groups to help students write, illustrate, and bind their books.  Check the library for ideas on how to make student books or search “student book binding” and “student self-publish” for more ideas.



Adapted from: School Volunteer Handbook: A Simple Guide for K-6 Teachers and Parents by Yael Calhoun and Elizabeth Finlinson.  http://lilapress.com/NewReleases/


About the Authors:

Yael Calhoun, MA, MS, RYT, is an author and educator with over 30 years of experience. Currently, she is a cofounder and the Executive Director of GreenTREE Yoga (www.greentreeyoga.org), a 501c3 nonprofit committed to bringing the benefits of yoga to diverse populations and to those who work with these populations.

Elizabeth Q. Finlinson, LCSW, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has worked as a school therapist, volunteer coordinator, and as a private practitioner specializing in children and families.



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