Are you teaching this summer? Sometimes it can be tricky trying to get students engaged in the classroom – or even staff in the office – when the sun is shining and the breezy trees are calling. It’s that “happy place” feeling I try to tap into whenever I teach or whenever I want to motivate my team. For me, the best way to do this is through reading…and I mean really reading, the kind of reading that takes you to a place of wonder, reflection, reaction. On the blog here we’ve had a few posts that have talked about using reading in various ways to engage the classroom – just click on “Reading” on the right-hand side bar to read posts from our incredible contributors! I have one more to add to the list: Summer Reading Bingo!
In June, a colleague and I created our own Summer Reading Bingo for our department, and it’s been awesome seeing how it’s created excitement among our team. As soon as I sent out the email, my inbox began to fill up with comments like “I’m going to win this!” and “I love this idea!” and even “So do children’s books count because that’s all I’ve been reading lately!” Even now, a month after its initiation, bingo has become great conversation pieces. I find myself getting new recommendations and even asking “so who’s an author that’s under 30?”
This summer, why not try a Summer Reading Bingo challenge with your classroom or your own team?
Here’s How To Do It
- Create a card that mimics the BINGO card.
5 columns, 5 rows – with a FREE in the middle
- Decide what each column’s “theme” will be.
We chose Author, Setting, Character, Plot, Genre.
- Fill in the squares to match that theme.
For example, under Author, write “Best-selling author”. Maybe you could add squares like “in a language other than English” or “a book you read with your family”.
- Review each row and diagonal to see how easy or difficult the challenge might be.
This is also a great way to adapt for different classroom levels or for timelines.
- Create rules.
We used standard BINGO rules, but we also included rules like a book can complete more than 1 square, and we didn’t have a limit. Next year, I think we’ll cap how many squares a book can use.
- Create a prize list.
Luckily, we have some creative people on our team, so we have prizes that range from handmade personalized bookmarks, to handmade notebooks, to something as happy as a really awesome high-five! This can be a chance to get your students involved if they want.
- Go for it! Start the challenge and make it a part of your daily conversations.
If this is in the classroom, set aside 10-15 minutes of class time to just talk Reading Bingo.
Why It’s a Great Summer Choice
Often, the best way to learn writing is to read writing, but many times students find that reading journal articles or documents can be overwhelming. Novel reading can let them explore storylines, logic, and even grammar. Have you ever read Michael Ondaatje? He loves to start sentences with ‘and’, and that would be such a great grammar conversation with students.
This activity also gives adult learners the freedom to choose how they engage. It’s individualized and can even provide learners with an opportunity to speak about a book that really moved them and be the knowledge sharer with their peers. One square we have on our list is an author from your birth province/state. This square would be an incredible opportunity for learners to share something they may feel proud to share. I had a really fun time looking up authors from my birth country – authors I might not have been exposed to in daily conversations here.
Oh, and, if you happen to want to delve into the world of stories, here’s our Summer Reading Bingo. Tip, I read Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto and decided that 8 of the squares could be marked off! Know what…it still didn’t give me a completed row. Next book on my list, Shadows Cast by Stars by Catherine Knutsson.
What’s on your Summer Reading Bingo list?