The Independent Reading Challenge
It can be challenging to keep your students engaged with reading and writing for longer periods of time. A great incentive is to introduce reading and writing workshop buddies. During independent reading and writing time, I like to give incentives to my students that are using the strategies taught in my mini-lesson.
How the Reading & Writing Incentives Work
As my students are working, I walk around and observe/conference with them. I pick out four students who are working hard on the skills that were taught and place one of the “buddies” on their desk. Other times I’ll hold the buddy up to my ear and pretend that they are talking to me.. It might sound like this…
“Oh yes, Tommy is doing a great job on (character traits). Would you like to hang out with him for the rest of the day?”
Then I pretend that the buddy says “yes” and I give the buddy to Tommy. The kids LOVE getting a buddy. They work so hard which makes reading/writing buddies a great workshop incentive! Since I want my students to get the most out of their workshop time, I find this stops a lot of potential playing and goofing around.
Rules for Reading and Writing Incentive Buddies
Also, I have a rule… If students asked to get a drink or go to the restroom during their independent reading or writing time, they can’t earn a Buddy (unless it’s an emergency, of course). They must be working the entire time. You could also make and display a set of rules for your students so they will know what the expectations are to earn one of your Reading or Writing Buddies. These little guys have helped so much with my students’ stamina and focus.
At the end of the day when they are packing up to go home, students place the buddies back in the basket.
I have two baskets. One for reading and one for writing.
Grab a Basket Label below.
Grab these Reading and Writing Buddies Basket Labels here.
Staple, Glue or Tape them onto your basket and let the fun begin!
End of Year Incentives
As an extra incentive at the end of the year, I start choosing students to give the buddies to (2 or 3 weeks before school is out). This is the time of year that I feel we always need an extra incentive to follow the school rules. Once I announce that I will be giving them away, I start watching and using the giveaway as a reminder to follow the rules. For example,
“Wow, Gina is being so quiet in line, she must really want to take one of the buddies home with her!”
I also let the parents know so they can also remind their children to follow the rules at school.
New Year, New Buddies
I start fresh with new buddies every year because these little guys are well loved by the end of the year. It’s so fun to have something new. And finding new buddies is fun for me. Over the summer, I keep an eye out for cute stuffed animals for the baskets.
Need more Reading and Writing Incentives? Check these out here.
Don’t forget to save the image below to your Teaching Resources board on Pinterest for future use.
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