Posted in Elementary Education Preparation

Reading Chain

The first day of practicum, I walked into my fifth grade classroom and immediately saw a colorful chain that went over halfway around the room. I thought maybe it was a chain of the number of days of school they’ve had, but it was too long for that. I thought perhaps it could be a decoration that was never taken down, but that didn’t seem right either. I couldn’t help my curiosity. I had to ask my mentor teacher what this chain was actually for!

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My mentor teacher explained that it was a reading chain. The three fifth-grade teachers came up with this idea to teach different book genres, as well as encourage students to read. Each genre is a different color. When students finish a book, they fill out a link with the title of their book and their name and add it to the chain. After every ten books a student reads, the student gets to add a silver link to the chain. As the students added links and the chain grew, they were always excited and felt a great sense of accomplishment as they watched their teacher pin the chain to the ceiling.

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The class is hoping to make the chain long enough to wrap around the entire room by the end of the school year. If they do this, they get a party of their choice. My mentor teacher’s class chose a chip party. They are now almost three-fourths of the way around the room with over 200 links on their chain. This is the work of 20 fifth-graders who have now grown to love reading and are on their way to earn their party at the end of the year. I love this idea because it is a such a fun way to learn about the different genres of books while also getting students excited to read!

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