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May 8, 2019

Read-a-Thon: Encourage Reading and Have Fun!

Read-a-Thon: Encourage Reading and Have Fun!

Years ago, I landed on a blog with the idea of holding an after school Read-a-hon for students. (If you are interested, it's from Head Over Heels Teaching.) I loved this idea and want to make it into an all day event for my students. This has now been a successful event for the past two (soon to be three) years! Below are some ideas to make your Read-a-Thon: Encourage Reading and Have Fun! the best one ever!

Guest Reader 

Choose staff members (or outside guests) to be guest readers for your students. In the past, I have had our social worker, principal, and other teachers. Think about the people in your building that students see on a regular basis. Your guest reader can be the school nurse, lunch staff, or school secretary. As for outside guests, your own parent (or one of your students' parents) or your significant other can be a fun guest. 

Hopefully your students are already used to you reading aloud. A guest reader shows students the importance of reading, breaks up your day, and gets students to see others in a different light.

Golden Tickets

I found this idea here. You put the Golden Tickets in some books and wait for a student to turn one in. This could be a special treat for your Read-a-thon, or it can be an ongoing treat for the entire school year. 

Read-a-Thon: Encourage Reading and Have Fun!

The real purpose in Golden Tickets are just a bonus in reading. They encourage students to read books that haven't been checked out frequently. I like them because they are fun and whimsical.

One caution, if you make too much of a big deal about them, students may search for tickets rather than reading books.

Power Hours

When I first came up with the idea of an all day Read-a-thon, my co-teacher suggested Power Hours. Genius!

Think about telethons that you may have seen growing up. They would have chunks of time in which they have companies willing to give huge chunks of money if certain goals were met.

In the classroom, it's fun to create your own Power Hours. I like to have one in the morning and one in the afternoon to break up the day.

Some Power Hour Suggestions:

  • Reading Goal - Have your students set a reading goal of a certain number of picture books to read for the hour. (We have used the goal of at least 3 books per student or more depending on the group and how motivated they were!) As students finish, they can add a tally mark to the board or add to a list of books. For a fun addition, let students ring a bell each time a book is finished!
  • AR Testing - We use AR in our school, so setting a class goal for a certain number of points is a fun goal. If you don't want to do points, you can do accuracy as well.
If goals are met, I like to reward my students! I made a little FREEBIE with some rewards for you. Click on the picture to get these QR Code Rewards.

Rewards with QR Codes

Bookmark Making

Cut strips of construction paper and put out some art supplies for students. Stickers are a must with this activity! This art supply helps break up the day but still relates back to reading.

Reading Freeze Tag

Do you know how to play a regular boring game of freeze tag? Basically, the students are chased by a child that is It. If the person that is It tags a student, that student is frozen until someone else un-tags them.

To make it Reading Freeze Tag, students carry around a book with them while they are running around. If they need a break, they can open their books and start reading really loud. If a child is reading, they cannot be tagged by the person that is It.

I love this game because it definitely gets students moving and grooving!

Book Worms

All these activities are exhausting. Sometimes a little treat is needed to get you through the day. Might I suggest Book Worms? All you need are gummy worms and a container to keep them in. These are perfect as rewards for Power Hours or just a treat while reading during the day.

Flashlight Reading

I keep a collection of flashlights on hand to use throughout the school year. I have gathered most of them from my dad. We have a Harbor Freight nearby. There are ALWAYS coupons for free ones in the ads with no purchase necessary. He would go until I had an entire set. I also got mini ones from a Donors Choose project. 

For Flashlight Reading, just turn the lights out and spread out. It's amazing how focused on reading students can be with just a flashlight!

Musical Books

Put out books or book bins. Turn on some music and have students walk around the classroom. When the music stops, students find a seat and start reading. This is a great way to introduce students to new genres or books. It whets the appetite of the students. It's amazing how many of these books are checked out later on!

Change Locations

Sometimes you just need to move around the school and find a new location to read. This can be the cafeteria, gym, outside, etc. Students can see that you really can read anywhere as long as you have a book on hand. Of these choices, I especially recommend reading outside. It's a nice change of pace and great to have fresh air!

So, have you ever thought about having a Read-a-Thon? I hope this encourages you to take a whole day, or at least a half-day to try because a Read-a-thon: Encourages Reading and Allows You to Have Fun!

The end of the school year is exhausting! Spice it up with a Read-a-thon! This activity encourages reading in your students! There are low prep/no prep suggestions of ways to get students reading throughout the day. There are many different fun games and other activities that will foster student engagement. There is also a FREEBIE included. #confessionsofafrazzledteacher #reading #readingteachers {Elementary Students, Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, and Fourth Grades}


  1. Thank you for sharing all of these wonderful ideas! Very useful!

  2. Very cool, Beth. I can't wait to try some of these ideas before my school year ends.