Thursday, 21 November 2013

Read a Rainbow

I had a brainwave this week while chatting on Facebook to a teacher friend of mine about reading - and how to get my kiddies more motivated about finishing books. As we discussed incentives for reading and chatted about AR (accelerated reader) and how we are using it in the classrooms this Read a Rainbow scheme evolved.

My kids are loving it - and are super motivated by it. Remember that I have a class of girls so multicolored ribbons are very appealing. :)

First we hung up "book ribbons". (I saw this idea ages ago somewhere and for the life of me can't remember where so I can't give anyone credit - if anyone knows please tell me!!)

I chose the colors to make sure that they would be soothing and pretty. (It's all about soothing this year in my classroom. :) )

The way it works is: when a child finishes a "just right" book she does a final reading response on it and then does an AR quiz. My kids have to do three reading responses per book - one predictive response at the beginning, one half way through and one at the end. They also have a log to fill out and a genre graph that we fill in each month. (That way I can keep track of which children need to branch out a little - read a historical fiction instead of only fantasy and so on.)

Once the child passes the quiz with our approved percentage (and so far, most are succeeding beautifully!) she gets to write the name of the book on a small colored book. (Gorgeous clipart from Creative Clips - you can find them here!) and we staple that to the ribbon above my desk. Each child has her own ribbon.

Then each child also has a Read a Rainbow bookmark and a Read a Rainbow card on the bulletin board. (The card is my back-up plan in case the bookmark gets lost!)

These have color coded punch holes that get punched when a certain number of books have been read. We thread the corresponding colored ribbons through the holes and my kiddies can keep track of how many books they have read.

Two books = a red ribbon; 4 books = an orange ribbon; 6 books = a yellow ribbon; 10 = green;15 = blue; 20 = indigo and 25 = purple.

When a child has read 25 books, she'll have 25 books on her ribbon above my desk, a rainbow of ribbons on her bookmark and card and will be able to a) put her name on the Read a Rainbow bookshelf of fame and b) get a special reading prize. :)

Seriously, these kids are READING!! I've never seen them so enthusiastic about getting their reading logs filled out, their responses written, their genre graphs colored.... it's awesome. Today six of them were rushing to the library first thing in the morning to change their books and I keep finding little people at my desk, clutching their reading binders and asking whether they can write a reading response. It's pretty cool!

To make sure everyone is getting just right books we use ZPD cards in library. Every child has her reading range (based on the STAR tests) on a pink card and she uses that to help her select books in her reading range - and, of course, reads a little bit to see if the book is interesting, reads the blurb etc. etc. I encourage my kiddies to read toward the top of their range - and even go a little beyond it if appropriate.

And our final "get everyone enthusiastic about reading" incentive is Book Trailers! These are super popular! When someone finishes their book they get to do a Book Trailer - sort of like a movie trailer. The idea is to try to make everyone in the class really, really want to read your book! It's great fun listening to my kids do this. :) And it's another way to help me see how well they've understood their book. :)

I love my little Rainbow Readers :)


  1. I really like this idea to help motivate readers. My class this year is about half and half: half enjoy reading and assessing and the other half could care less about reading a book or even finishing it! Is there any way we could communicate to share more details on how you monitor and what your reading response is like. I need it to be quicker than quick for me and my class.

  2. Love this idea. I'm going to 'borrow' it, but will need to modify it a bit for my class. I have a classroom of boys who just want to read non-fiction hunting and army books. I can't get them to write about books, even with easy reading responses. Do you have an example of the ones you use? If so, can you email it to me? I love the rainbow idea, and everything else! Thanks for the idea.

  3. I do an easier version w/ my first graders! They each get a chart w/ 4 to 5 rows of 5 blank squares across. The kids read their book twice at least, depending on the length (hence first grade) and then write in their journal about it and finally take their quiz. For each quiz the kids pass, they earn a sticker. When they pass 5 quizzes, they get to go to the treasure box. When they fill the entire chart, they get to decorate it on construction paper and display it outside AND they get a happy meal from McDonalds. (Only on Tues & Thurs when they are $2). I've had one child get two happy meals already and two other earned their first this week. AND some of my struggling readers have REALLY gotten on board! It's amazing when Ronald visits the classroom! lol

  4. I love these ideas! I can't get my students to write reading responses. Do you have a form you could share? If so, please email me at I need something to help me out.

  5. Hi Lynn,
    Are you selling this set? I noticed the clip art is only the small books. I'd love to use the bulletin board and bookmarks.

    1. Send me your email address and I'll send the template to you :)

  6. Love it! On TPT the clip art was just the small colorful books. Are you selling this as a set? I would love to use the bookmarks and bulletin board.