Saturday, September 8, 2012

Celebrate Reading with Class Book Awards

How is the school year going for everyone?  Hopefully, you're in the full swing of things and enjoying the new semester.  I know I am.

I came across this awesome idea on Scholastic, courtesy of the always helpful Beth Newingham.  She came up with a fun way for students to get into reading and recommend books not only to their classmates, but students who will be in the class many years later.  Get students involved in reading, rating, voting and selecting their favorite books year after year in a Class Book Awards ceremony.

Inspired by awards bestowed on notable books (like Newbery, Caldecott, etc), she had her class come up with their own categories and vote on books to give awards each month.  The categories can be changed from month to month.  October?  How about Book with the Best Villain or Spookiest Story?  Let students' imaginations run wild with categories; Most Likely to Be An Awesome Movie, Best Laugh-Out Loud Funny, and Book with the Character You Most Want to Be Your Friend could be some ideas to suggest.

Check out the sample ballot she used for her class' "Newiberry Awards."  As you can see, the categories the class generated are a bit more flexible and interesting than what you see in most awards.  Students can make their choice from among books they've read for school or recreational reading.  She even set up a special podium and special "awards ceremony" envelopes to pull out the winning books for each monthly occasion, giving the whole activity an air of authenticity.  She also recommends designing a special medal (cool art contest for the class?) just for the class award.  Once the ceremony is complete, a copy of the award-winning covers are displayed on a big bulletin board, and a special "medal" is placed on the cover of the books in the classroom library.  She includes the year on the medal that allows students to see recommended books from years past, voted and awarded by students who were once in their shoes.

How cool is that?  I love the idea and Beth Newingham's post walks you through the whole process of how she does it.  The activity is divided into two posts on her Scholastic blog, found here and here.

It would be great to start off the school year with this fun activity that really promotes reading and sharing amongst your students.  Check out her blog and start your own Book Awards!

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