Reading is wonderful. It underpins everything we do in school, and yet is becoming a rarer hobby each year. Fewer and fewer students get truly excited by books, and the necessary measures taken to ensure they are reading and making progress dampen that enthusiasm even more.
I am met with eye rolls, huffing, puffing and disgruntled muttering when I ask students to pick up a book. Some are keen and still have that joy of literature alive in them, but many put up the mental brick wall when discussing what book they could try (and like), with the age-old excuse of, “It’s boring. I just hate reading”.
I have battled for a long time with this until a game of dodgeball earlier this year. You see, I have a KS3 form class who are a little unruly. Loveable, but unruly. They are a class you would expect to eye roll at the mention or sight of a book, and generally don’t enjoy a sense of discipline. And then dodgeball came along. Never have I seen my form class become more disciplined and honed as a team to compete against their peers in other form groups for the title of Tutor Sport Champion. The transformation was stark. And it gave me an idea.
Spurred on by the current trend of Fortnite, I introduced the Tutor Sport concept to reading in the form of Reading Royale. Students read a book and complete a short Google form, detailing the book and any extra work they put into the entry (reviews, booktube vlogs, AR quizzes etc.). This then counted towards points for their form. The forms then have a leaderboard where the scores are updated each week. So, each week I count up the scores and update the totals. The winners each half term get a big trophy full of goodies (and in some cases a trip or other prize). There is also the opportunity for individuals to get a certificate and little prize for outstanding contributions to their form.
Following the success of this, we have also introduced reading events after school. It’s a pretty simple concept: students turn up with a book and a blanket, have some cake and read for an hour with some calming music in the background. We have run two so far with real success.
It’s certainly not perfect, and needs some refining, but the Reading Royale has been a success in motivating students to read (and having some fun at the same time!). What do you do to motivate readers in your department? Have you tried something similar to this? Let me know, and thanks for stopping by!