As a first grade teacher, I know from personal experience how frustrating it can be to get students to read. Between after school activities, television, video games and tablets, kids are constantly being bombarded with distractions. In this day and age, reading has all but lost its appeal to younger generations.
But I still believe that there’s something reading does that no other activity can do: let kids use their imagination. When kids read a book, they’re transported to new and exciting worlds. They learn new things and they get to know lots of fun and interesting characters. They get exposed to different ideas and learn important lessons. Sadly, many kids still believe that reading is “boring”.
As teachers, we have plenty of tools are our disposal to help kids learn and grow. And one of my most valuable tools is the Reading Rewards program. Why? Because it’s actually got my students excited about reading. Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you. But I want to share my story and experience with you, so you can see just how effective this program can be.
What the Reading Rewards Program for Kids is All About
The Reading Rewards program makes it easy for teachers, students and parents to work together to encourage reading and monitor student progress.
The concept is simple: students read, and they get rewarded for it. Rewards are set up by teachers and can be redeemed by students through the RR Store. Badges are also earned by reaching certain milestones.
Thus far, Reading Rewards has helped me:
- Get my students excited about reading
- Keep parents in the loop about their child’s reading progress
- Assign reading and suggest books
- Reward students for reaching milestones
How The Reading Rewards System Works In The Real World
1. Create a Reading Group
The first step is to create a reading group, and you can do this as soon as you get your Reading Rewards login. Teachers share administrative duties of groups with other teachers or librarians. It was so easy for me to create a group for my class. In less than ten minutes, we were up and running.
2. Create Reader Accounts
Once we created our group, we then created reward accounts for each student and added them to the group. Reading Rewards allows you to add one student at a time, or you can upload a spreadsheet to add multiple students at once.
Because I was adding my entire class, I chose to upload the spreadsheet. It was simple and straightforward. Even if you’re not tech-savvy, you shouldn’t have a problem adding students.
3. Assign Reading
At this point, we can start using Reading Rewards and recommending books to read. Whenever I create a new reading assignment, I have the ability to set timelines, monitor student progress and even send personal messages of encouragement. I really loved that I could send students messages. I truly believe that this is one of the key aspects of getting kids excited about reading.
4. Encourage Reading
Reading Rewards comes with tools to encourage and monitor student progress. Badges are earned when milestones are reached. Teachers can also create customized badges (with premium accounts) that kids will earn when they meet the teacher’s targets.
Badges are awarded for books read, reviews written or time spent reading. Discretionary badges can also be given to recognize students who reach certain achievements. I really enjoy the badge system, and this really helped my students stay focused on finishing reading a book. They knew that once that milestone was reached, they would be rewarded for it.
5. Assess Comprehension
One thing that’s special about this program is that it allows you to assess comprehension. In other words, you can see just how well you students are understanding what they’re reading.
Reading Rewards incorporates an easy user interface that makes it easy for me to create quizzes from scratch, or from a template. There are five types of questions, including multiple choice and open-ended.
Once I create a quiz, I can then distribute it electronically, grade them, and send out reports on the results.
This is an invaluable tool because I don’t have to use a separate program or system to create my quizzes. Everything I need is right there in the Reading Rewards interface.
6. Provide Feedback and Reports
The Reading Rewards intervention program also offers other tools that make it easy to give feedback and reports to both students and their parents. Teachers can leave comments to students about their reviews or log entries. Progress reports can be given to parents.
These simple tools ensure that everyone is on the same page, so students are better able to maintain their progress or make improvements when necessary.
Why I Use Reading Rewards
It Makes Reading Fun
In my experience, the Reading Rewards program is one of the best programs out there as far as reading interventions go. Short of hiring a reading specialist, this is really one of the most effective ways for teachers to help students who may be struggling with reading or comprehension.
In all my years of teaching, I’ve tried so many things to make reading fun. I tried all the literacy activities in the book. But most of them did very little to encourage reading.
Reading Rewards, on the other hand, is one of those fun reading programs that kids really enjoy being a part of. And part of the reason why is because it helps give kids some independence and it rewards them for taking part in it. They get their own accounts, and they get reward points that they can spend on whatever they choose. The reward system is already in place, so there’s very little to set up.
The Rewards Can Be Meaningful
And as a teacher, I like the fact that I can create the rewards. Not all of them are material items either. Yet, kids still love earning them – and spending them. Parents are also rewarded by being better tuned into their child’s progress.
I Have More Tools
I, as a teacher, have more avenues to encourage, monitor, report and give feedback to students and parents. It makes my job less stressful, and the kids like being a part of it.
I Save Time
With Reading Rewards, I don’t have to spend half the night ploughing through a pile of paper. All of my reading logs are online. Plus, I can create quizzes, send out reports and even send little messages of encouragement with just a few clicks. I now have more time to devote to my lesson plans – and my family.
I can’t recommend Reading Rewards more. It’s a great program that not only rewards students, but teachers and parents as well by allowing us to better monitor student progress. But most importantly, it gets kids excited about reading. It encourages them to read more and to reach those important milestones. These are skills that students will take with them later in life both in college and in the workplace. Children who develop an appreciation for reading are far more likely to enjoy learning new things and absorbing as much knowledge as they can all throughout life.