Reading Contest Ideas for the Classroom

  • Kids love a challenge, so why not combine that passion with your classroom lesson plans? When you read in a competition, children who otherwise might not want to read will be excited to read as much as they can. Find ways to incorporate the ideas from the book competition into your classroom, and you will find a new group of book lovers among you.

    Summary of this practical sheet

    1 Fundraising
    2 Challenge of personal goals
    3 major milestones and awards
    4 Around town

    Fund raising
    Turn a book contest into a way to raise money for your classroom or school. Give students a reading goal sheet and ask them to collect donations from family, friends and neighbors. Adults can commit to paying a certain monetary amount per book read or a lump sum for the entire competition. As students read, they can record their progress on a journal or board and use it to collect donations after the reading contest is over. The money can be used to buy new books for the classroom or school to renew children's interest in reading.

    Personal Goals Challenge
    Sometimes in a single classroom, students read voraciously while others have difficulty reading, even at an elementary level. To standardize this playing field, have students work with the teacher to establish individual reading challenges. A strong reader might challenge themselves to read 10 books in two weeks, while a slower or reluctant reader might try to read a new book at a higher reading level than what they have read before. When students complete their own challenges, they earn points in the competition, so no one has to compete at the exact same level as someone else.

    Milestones and major awards
    One way to encourage students to read more is to reward them as they go. Give small prizes, such as stickers or bookmarks, for each book a student reads. When he hits a bigger milestone, like finishing five books or 100 pages, give him a bigger reward, like a free homework pass or a visit to the classroom prize box. Sometimes you can even ask local businesses to donate prizes, like coupons for free restaurant meals or video rentals. These types of incentives will keep children engaged in a reading challenge throughout the year. Track student progress and, at the end of the year,

    Around the city
    Bring reading into the community by challenging your students to read creatively. Give students a scavenger hunt to complete, such as reading a book in public, reading a book to younger students, and reading to residents of a nursing home. Challenge students to read as many pages as they can in a weekend, or get their own library cards and bring them to you to show to win a prize. These types of activities are aimed at students of all reading levels, so no one has to feel left out of the competition. Plus, they remind students that reading isn't just for the classroom, it's for anytime, anywhere.