There is a myth that homeschooling parents and children are all supposed to be book worms. The basis of the myth is that reading is somehow ingrained in our children, enforced, or that we all live with our nose in our books. While I will fully admit that my children and I devour books of all sizes and sorts during our school and art lessons, when we leave the room after our lessons my children do not run to the book shelf in their free time to read for leisure. I firmly believe that a love for books needs to come from outside of the school lessons and not from required reading. Whether you are a homeschooling family or not, sometimes children need a loving push into the fun that reading can bring them outside of school.
I thought and thought and thought just like Winnie-the-Pooh (for a really, very long length of time) tossing one idea out after the other, knowing that if this concept did not have long term engagement and growth for the children, we would use it for a month or so and then stop using it. I had some awesomely creative ideas too, but unless a library or school was going to give me a massive amount of space and unlimited budget I had to reign in my creative mind and think a little smaller (but still have that visually BIG impact to the kids) as my space was limited; as was my budget for this project. Then, one afternoon this Reading Incentive Wall finally was mapped out, designed, and put into place in our home.
I was able to put together this Reading Incentive Wall for under $30 to help give my children reading goals, engage them in after school reading, and help with their reading/spelling/vocabulary skills all at the same time without them even realizing it! This system has made a world of difference and changed the way that my children spend their free time. Without asking they have opted to read books after school before turning on the video game system or television. Even though I will fully admit I love my television shows and movies (I know I am such a bad homeschooling Mom because I am breaking another myth that homeschooling families not own or want to watch television) to unwind and relax, but I also pick up a book throughout the day on my own to read.
Would you like to make your own Reading Incentive Wall to encourage your children or students to read more outside of school lessons? The supplies that you will need to make this reading incentive wall in your home or classroom are as follows:
- Literary Genres Bulletin Board Set
- Love to Read Chart
- Wall Border Pieces
- Large Unbreakable Craft Jar (1 per child or student)
- (1) Plastic Sheet Protector
- 12 inches of yarn (any color)
- (1) Dry erase marker (any color)
- (1) Manila large envelope
- Push pins
- Printable templates and charts (found in this blog post)
- Way to mount each Large Unbreakable Craft Jar (I used one screw each)
First, you will want to laminate your Love to Read Chart. I am going to let you all in a deep dark secret (ok, it really isn’t, but many seem to always be shocked when I say this), I don’t own a laminator. There I said it so everyone knows. I have a very tight schooling budget each year and when I weigh the cost of owning and maintaining a laminator versus going to my local teacher supply store to use their machine several times a year for pennies per sheet budgetary wise it just doesn’t add up for me to own a laminator (but I do love laminating materials for long term use by both of the children, especially when they were younger and harder on materials).
Now that you have all your supplies gathered and laminated, it is time to start making your Reading Incentive Wall. Start this part by selecting a location in your home, homeschooling area, or classroom that your children and students not only pass by a lot, but also have access to (meaning they can reach it easily). I placed mine just outside our school room, between it and our upstairs bathroom (devious placement right?). The area needs to be spacious enough to have all the components as well. Next, outline your Reading Incentive Wall with your Wall Border Pieces to establish its limits. Then, place the Literary Genres Bulletin Board Set so that it can be seen, read, and enjoyed by your children and students. Scatter the different reading genres around the area, but inside the border and making sure to leave enough room for your laminated Love to Read Chart, Large Unbreakable Craft Jar(s), Reading Bank Ticket Folder, and Rewards Menu.
Next, it is time to hang your Love to Read Chart, Large Unbreakable Craft Jar(s), and Rewards Menu. I would recommend that you hang your Love to Read Chart so that you children can mark their books read on it easily. Do not forget to also check out my themed book logs to help assist you if you need to turn in a list of books read to your school, educational counselor, etc. To help mark the books read, attached the yarn to the dry erase marker and attached the dry erase marker to the wall for your children or students to use, but not lose. To complete the Rewards Menu, write the number of tickets needed on the book next to the # and then write the desired reward out. Then place the rewards menu in the pocket plastic sheet protector and attached the sheet protector to the wall so that your children and students can see the rewards they are working towards. I will discuss tickets later, but for my children I placed everyday type of items on one side of the rewards menu with lower levels of tickets required. These types of rewards were in the 1-5 tickets range and were things that general did not cost any money like extra Kindle or video game time, or Mommy does your chores for the day, and rewards like that. On the other side I placed longer range goals that will cost money like a DVD or Toy or other type of privileges that will take a larger quantity of tickets to earn.
Once you have your Love to Read Chart and Rewards Menu hung up, it is time to assemble and hang your Large Unbreakable Craft Jar(s). Have your children or students decorate their own Reading Bank Name Plates so you can attach them to their own Large Unbreakable Craft Jar. Once this is done, attach them to your Reading Incentive Wall below or near your Love to Read Chart and Rewards Menu. For ease of use I also cut a slot in the top of the lid so that my children could drop their tickets into their jars.
Next, it is time to have some fun as the parent and teacher. Take a few minutes and decorate the included ‘Reading Bank Tickets – For Adults Only’ page however you would like. Then, cut it and all the tickets out. Attach the page to the manila envelope with glue and allow to dry. Once dry, place all the cut tickets in the manila folder and attach the decorated manila folder to the wall where you, the parent or teacher, can reach them. This way, once your children or students complete enough reading to earn a ticket you can hand them a ticket, have them answer the question about the book they just read, have them decorate the ticket, and then they can place it in their Reading Bank to save up for their desired item from the Rewards Menu. Print and cut as many sheets of tickets as you need.
With your Reading Incentive Wall completed, it is now time to start the free reading! Overall, I would hope that these step-by-step direction help walk you through making your very own Reading Incentive Wall for your home, homeschool, or classroom using the ideas I presented. The material in the PDF I am providing below coupled with an ounce or two of your own creativity and enthusiasm for reading will help to make your own Reading Incentive Wall a success.
To help make your Reading Incentive Wall, I invite you all to print out this FREE filled with the templates and charts that I created to use with this wall:
This printable, like most of my other printable creations, is available through my E.H.M. Member’s Only Website. What can I find at your members only website? You can expect printable curriculum, unit studies, activity packs, and more (there is a FREE catalog to flip through) for a $15.00 one-time lifetime fee! Perfect for teachers, homeschoolers, and parents looking for classroom and after school enrichment. Please click HERE to find out how you can join my Member’s Only Website!
Want to bring some fun activities, read a book review, look for art & crafts projects all centered around storybooks that your child will love? Make sure to check out the Poppins Book Nook where over 60+ bloggers help to bring a spoonful of reading fun your way each month.
Looking for another way to engage your preschool through 3rd Grade student in reading? Make sure to follow along with my monthly Belle’s Book Corner series where you will find themed book suggestions and a FREE interactive bookmark.
I hope that you enjoy creating and engaging your children and their new found love to read books outside of school. I would love to hear from all of you as to how you motivate your elementary aged children to read for leisure. Do you have any suggestions?
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