Have A Reading Luau!

The Every year, many students come to my classroom with a negative attitude toward reading.  I am a reading LOVER, and I know the magic that lies in a good book. I also know the importance of creating a positive association with reading.  Sometimes kids may not like it, but they need to practice it to become better readers.  I truly want my students to love reading.  One of the ways that I create positive neuro-associations with reading is by having a "Reading Luau"!

What is a Reading Luau? 
Well.. quite simply, it's a creative way to motivate students to utilize the A.R. program by reading books and taking tests on the books.  I decorate the room with tons of luau decorations, and the students get to lie on the floor on their beach towels.  They read all morning, and they take tests on their books.  (I get thin books from the library - quick reads that are on their reading level.) Students keep a reading log for the day.  Each 100% earns a sticker.  When they earn 10 stickers, they get a prize. When they earn 5 more, they get another prize, and so on... 

Believe me when I say, THEY LOVE IT!! 

During the afternoon portion of the reading luau, we celebrate a job well done by having fruit, and by making smoothies.  I have also incorporated some geography lessons in my luaus by teaching lessons about the rain forest.  It's a great themed day, and there are tons of quality lessons free to print on the internet that align with the luau theme. 

How Can I Have A Reading Luau?
Easy! Here is what you need:

  • The Accelerated Reader Program to keep track of your tests;
  • Luau decorations;
  • Stickers / Stamps;
  • A reading log for each student;
  • Prizes (small trinkets, certificates, etc..);
  • Lots of thin, easy read books from the library;
  • Hawaiin treats like smoothies and fruit. (Optional) 
Steps To A Successful Reading Luau:

  • Decorate your room! - The Dollar Tree and Oriental Trading is your friend. :) I push my desks against the wall, and encourage students to bring beach towels, so they can read comfortably in the center of the room. 
  • Get your books. - I choose books from the library that are on the students' levels, but are thin and can be quickly read.  The goal is for the students to read and test on as many books as they can, but with accuracy. That is why they are rewarded for 100 percent scores.  I set these books up throughout the room, so they are easily accessed by the students. I also separate and label them by level, so the students know what area to choose from.
  • Set up the A.R. program - Make sure all your students are enrolled in the A.R. program, and make sure they know what level of books they are able to read. Each student's level may be different. You need computer access (I have six in my room) because the students will be taking a LOT of tests! I also keep the "Class Record Book" up on my computer because each time a student gets a 100%, I give him or her a sticker beside the test on their reading log (see photo below).  I use the record book feature to validate that they received a 100%. 
  • Get your prizes ready - You need to figure out how you want to reward your students for their 100% test scores.  I usually buy leis at the dollar tree (you get 3 for $1) and when they get 10 100% scores, they get a lei.  I then use other small toys. For example, 15 100 percents gets them a pencil. 20 100% scores gets them a small toy, etc.... You can set up your prizes and points based on your class.  At the end of the luau, I reward the top three students with larger prizes.  These aren't incredibly expensive, but something that rewards them for the effort. 
  • Make certificates - This is optional, but I always like to reward each student with a certificate at the end of the luau. 
  • Get parents involved - Parents are jewels! I have had tons of success with the parents because they truly want to help. They will donate most of the supplies you need. 
  • Prepare your snacks - If you want to make smoothies and have fruit, you will want to prepare for this. It is quite time consuming getting the correct recipes and measurements for the drinks.  
  • Take breaks - During the luau, I always stop every hour or so and do a restroom and drink break. The students work extremely hard trying to meet their goals they have set for themselves. Breaks help! 
  • Have Fun!! - Play Hawaiian music. Wear a grass skirt. Bring some big sunglasses! Get involved! The kids love it, and seeing you excited will only excite them as well.  This is a great way to motivate the young readers in your classroom.  
I treat my luau almost like a game room or carnival.  The students work toward earning stickers that can allow them to purchase different items.  I set the prizes up similar to how they do in carnivals and game rooms as well. They have a blast, and I do too! 

Take a look at some pictures from my classroom luau this year! 


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