|Party for the Purple People with storyteller Margaret Clauder, Grades K-1 (May 2007)–2 different t-shirt designs!|
Before I landed my middle school library position, I was an elementary librarian for five years in Keller ISD in Fort Worth, TX. Our school didn’t have AR or Reading Counts or any of the other “reading incentive” programs available. We were a brand-new school, so we had no established reading program. It was my first year as a librarian, and I was excited to create a new one!
How it started
Some of the librarians in Keller ISD at that time used something called Reading Olympics, which I think was either created or adapted by another elementary librarian in KISD. The basic premise was that students read certain types of books in order to earn medals. For example, to get a bronze medal, a student might have to read a Caldecott winner, a Newbery winner, a book by one of a list of authors, etc. They would have to read maybe 7 books on the bronze list in order to get that medal.
I liked the idea of Reading Olympics and the way there were “types” of books rather than a specific title list, giving students more choice in what they read for the program. When I originally set out to create Reading Bingo, I wanted to base it on Reading Olympics but add a visual element to it, rather than recording titles read on reading logs. As a former 7th grade English teacher, I came to hate reading logs, and my students hated them, too. Boxes on Bingo cards would work perfectly, and Reading Bingo was born!
Sharing the love
Since I created this program in 2005 and have shared it all over the place, I’m sure it is already out there, and I have seen lots of other Reading Bingo cards on Teachers Pay Teachers and other websites. Librarians interested in using these might want to download them and update some of the authors and books listed since I last used these in 2008. All my RB materials below are 100% free to use, modify, and share as you need.
|Party for the Purple People, Grades 3-4 (May 2007)–same storyteller, different program from K-2 programs|
Helping your overzealous students and parents
Students and their parents at my school got very excited about Reading Bingo, and that is a great thing! However, some got so gung-ho about it, they started turning in cards a day or two after starting them. While it may be possible to read 25 elementary-level books in 2 days, I really don’t recommend that. I want students to savor their reading, to think and talk about it, not just read as fast as possible to get the prize.
My solution was to stamp the current due date (2 weeks into the future) in the corner of each new card I gave out. The student could not turn in his/her card until after that date. So even if little Mary finished her card in one day, she had to wait until that date to turn it in and get the prize. This gave the students (and in some cases, their parents) some time to slow down and enjoy their reading, rather than be so focused on just finishing. The card was not DUE on that date; that date was the first day they could turn it in and get a new card. I did not give out the new cards until they turned in their finished one, so they could not start a new card until that day, either. Students had all year to work on their cards, and I also allowed them to start them over the summer for the next school year.
This program allows for differentiation by design. Students select their own books, and there is an unlimited number of reading choices for many of the squares. For example, on the 3rd grade orange card, one space is “a book with a Y in the title.” How many books have a Y somewhere in the title? It could be fiction, nonfiction, biography, a graphic novel, etc., as long as there is a Y in the title.
For special education students or those who struggle with reading, librarians can work with teachers to modify the card by allowing a student to do a card from a younger grade level or allowing the student to read 15 squares instead of the 20 on the card.
GT students might be allowed to read from higher grade-level cards, or they could simply select higher reading levels within that category. Librarians could allow substitute categories for certain squares to increase or decrease difficulty.
- one “Bingo” row:
- extra book checkout coupon
- can earn/redeem up to 2 per day–this will help keep you sane
- completed card:
- choice of enamel charm to put on keyring
- charms and key chain clips available at Oriental Trading–really inexpensive with tons of designs! I offered about 36 different charms each year and changed them from year to year. I also had “special edition” charms for holidays–they were only available for students to win for a limited time–this was extra encouragement because once they were gone, they were gone! “Special edition” charms were also from Oriental Trading. Enter “enamel charm” into search box on their site for a full list.
- you will need split-ring pliers, keychain clips, and lots of extra split rings (these links are from Oriental Trading)
- You also need something to organize your charms. There are lots of jewelry organizers available from craft stores, but we found that empty egg cartons worked great. We assigned each charm design a number, which we wrote in Sharpie inside the top part of each egg hole in the carton. We also made cards for students to use when selecting their charms. We used library tape to tape each charm design to cardstock paper and included the number. Students just asked for the number. These cards were on display in the library so the kids could “browse” the charms as often and for as long as they wanted.
- completed all 6 cards
- “Party for the Purple People” at end of school year–hire a storyteller or magician; ask PTA to donate snacks such as popcorn and juice or a sundae bar, AND
- All Purple party participants also got a free t-shirt–a local t-shirt company (Groggy Dog Sportswear in Denton, TX) designed our t-shirt each year. I used their online Contact Form to request a design. I described what I wanted, and they emailed me a design prototype for free within a few days. We had a different design each year since many students participated year after year. I gave any t-shirts left over at the end of the year as a thank you to those teachers who really helped promote Reading Bingo or offered them for sale to teachers/faculty members only at cost (about $6.50 per shirt).
Where to begin
Thinking about Reading Bingo for your school? I recommend you open a card (below) and read the directions first so this post makes more sense. There are six cards for each grade level from grades K-4. My students completed the cards in rainbow order (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple), and each card was printed on corresponding colored paper. One side of the paper was the Bingo card; the other side was the rules. The parent or teacher only had to sign the card once at the bottom, not after every book. The rules state that only parents can sign for a student, but I did allow teachers to sign for those students who needed someone else to sign it for whatever reason. The teachers know the students’ situations better than I do.
Everything you need to get started:
First Grade Cards
Second Grade Cards
Third Grade Cards
Fourth Grade Cards
Blank Card Template (fill in your own boxes! Email me if you want an digital copy–this is a PDF)
If you have questions about how I implemented Reading Bingo at my (former) elementary school, please post in the comments or email me! I’d love to help!!!!