Best Practice – BIS Summer Reading Challenge
Numerous studies globally have indicated that the reading level of students tends to drop over the vacations. Hence, last year we decided to initiate an optional Summer Reading Challenge for the students of Grades 1-5 to motivate them to read over the summer vacation. A Book List containing a healthy mix of various genres was shared with those who signed up for the Challenge. While the students were encouraged to visit the library over the vacations and borrow books, the carefully curated list ensured that this was not a compulsion in order to complete the Challenge. This enabled students who were travelling over the vacations to participate as well.
The books were divided into two broad reading levels (Grades 1-2 and Grades 3-5).
Criteria to complete the Challenge were:
- Any one book recommended by family/friends (not necessary from the Book List shared)
- At least one book over 50 years old (classics) (not restricted to the books available in the Library)
- At least one Hindi or Marathi language book (any book of their choice)
- At least one book by an Indian author– in the English Language (from the curated list)
- Any number of books from the curated list. The more the better.
In short, the students should have read a minimum of 5 books to qualify for the Challenge – one from each of the above categories. Students were also given a fun Activity Sheet to fill up for each book they read. This included simple questions such as what they liked about the book, two new words they learnt and drawing their creative book covers. As it was the first attempt for us, students were also asked to document the number of pages read and the time is taken to read a book to gauge their reading levels.
Once school reopened, certificates were issued during a school assembly to all those who fulfilled the reading criteria and submitted their activity sheets. As a surprise, the awardees were taken to Trilogy Bookstore and were given coupons to select books for themselves, as well as the opportunity to curate books for the school library.
To motivate the students further, custom-made stickers and labels were affixed on the books curated for the library mentioning the name of the recommender. The labels on the books not only serve as a proud reminder of their accomplishments but continues to be an excellent source for peer recommendations of these books.
This program generated a buzz around reading and was well received by students and parents. The incentives have enthused more students to take up the challenge this year, and the specially curated Book List also proved to be a great way to get students to read and enjoy books that they might not have selected themselves otherwise.
– Ms. Rashna Patel