Turn Your Students into Reading Stars! September 15 2009

Surprise! Kids don’t always come into your classroom loving to read, yet as teachers we want to foster appreciation for books of all kinds. How? Turn them into Reading Stars!

Using the five points of the star template is an easy reading activity to encourage kids to keep, and then hopefully love, reading. To find the Star Template, go to my colleague Carol’s post about her “Star Student” Bulletin Board (if you haven’t yet read Carol’s post, bookmark it! It’s a great read!). Click on “Star Template and Directions” for a free PDF to get “star”ted!

Reward Consistent Readers

Create a bulletin board with the title, “Our Reading Stars!” Copy enough star templates so that there’s one for each student and keep them in a file folder or manila envelope. During your silent reading time, use the Star Reading Weekly Page Record to help students keep track of how many pages (or books, if you have younger kids) they read each day.

As students finish a book, have them write the title and author in a point of the star. When all five points are filled, students can cut out and decorate their stars and then hang them on the “Our Reading Stars!” bulletin board.

Have a prize ready for each student once he/she is able to hang a star on the bulletin board. At the beginning of the year, it may be a good idea to offer a small prize for each completed book to encourage students to fill their stars. Another option is to make a class goal about how many books the whole group will read in a specific amount of time, say one month or one quarter. Then if they achieve that goal, more prizes!

Keep Track of Teacher Read Alouds

Enlarge the Star Template on a copy machine. Glue onto cardstock and laminate for a stronger star, and use dry- or wet-erase markers to make it reusable!

In the center of the star, write “Our Class Read Alouds,” then in each point of the star, write the name and author of each book you read out loud to the group. Create a classroom goal as a group to determine what you will do as a reward when you finish five read aloud books. As you finish each one, students can also use small star templates to complete the next activity regarding the story elements in each read aloud.  

Teach Story Elements

The five points of the star lend themselves to teaching Story Elements. Copy and enlarge the Star Template, gluing it onto cardstock and laminating – this is your prop. Photocopy the smaller stars, at least one for each student.

On the large, laminated Star Template, write the following:

Center of the Star - Title and Author

Point of the Star – Main Character

Point of the Star – Setting

Point of the Star – Climax –or- Problem

Point of the Star – Resolution – or – How Was the Problem Solved?

Point of the Star – Theme – or – A Lesson Learned By the Character

After each Teacher Read Aloud or Silent Reading Book, students can fill out a star regarding the story elements in each book to practice reading comprehension skills. It would be useful to do this activity with the whole class a few times using picture books, which will also help your class reach their first read aloud goal!

These reading activities help you keep tabs on what and how much kids are reading, and help kids consistently read each day while working toward a goal. And teaching reading is more fun when there is a program students can interact with and see their progression through the year. Pretty soon, you won't be able to stop them!