Reading Workshop Celebration and Launch Ideas

One way to celebrate the end of a unit of study is to do some reflecting on favorite read-alouds and favorite books. Kids can also have conversations or do some writing about their growth as readers.

One way to celebrate the end of a unit of study is to do some reflecting on favorite read-alouds and favorite books. Kids can also have conversations or do some writing about their growth as readers.

Interactive Book Recommendation Chart or Blog

Each child draws the cover of a favorite recommended book from the unit on an index card or small sheet of paper to display on a chart, with a bit of writing explaining why they recommend that book. Book clubs could work together to post their favorite book of the unit of study on the class blog or on an interactive chart in the hall. Others can respond via post-its or responses on the blog with their own ratings and comments.

Celebration Read Alouds

You, a guest, or students read aloud favorite scenes, or excerpts involving a favorite character, to small groups or whole class. Groups of students or book clubs could divide up an excerpt and rehearse it as a performance piece with each student reading particular lines, or incorporating props.

Readers Theatre

Clubs or partners choose a scene and to rehearse and perform the scene using their voices and gestures to bring the characters, plot, and themes of the book to life. Rehearsal and revision are crucial for enhanced comprehension.

Video

Record dramatizations of favorite scenes, or “interviews” with favorite characters, or reviews, reflections, or responses to books. Then pop in the video and watch it together as a class for the celebration.

Skype or FaceTime With A Grandparent or Special Friend

Schools set up computer labs with Skype or FaceTime so each student can read to a grandparent, sibling, or family friend far away (or not so far away). You could partner your classroom with another classroom across the city, state, or even across the world – like pen pals, but much cooler. You might decide to do this several times across the year, so that the friends who are read to see the student’s growth over time.  It's like "give the gift of reading," all year long.

Guests (‘Real’ People, and People in Costume)

Invite a local author (or not-so-local perhaps) to come and talk about their books with your class as a special wrap up, or launch, to a unit. It’s always an option to ask a colleague or friend to dress up and pretend to be a famous author, or character. For example - To launch or celebrate a biography unit, “famous people” might come around to visit each of the classrooms to talk about their lives, read aloud a biography, or even sing a song or storytell. To launch a fairytale unit, what could be better than a visit from Cinderella and the evil stepsisters themselves?

School-Wide Mystery

To launch or celebrate a mystery unit, teachers “plant” a mystery for students to solve. Perhaps the box tops go missing from the main office, or the librarian discovers that suddenly none of the Junie B Jones books are anywhere to be found. Teachers then drop clues around the school where children will find them. As kids find clues they can post their notes and evidence to a bulletin board where other kids can look over the body of evidence to try to solve the mystery. The unit can end with the solution being revealed at an assembly or other special event to culminate the work.

Launch with a Movie or a Show

A carefully selected movie or television program can be like a giant book-introduction to a genre. For example, have the kids watch all or part of Nancy Drew and take notes in a little notepad, just like she does. Or watch two episodes of Arthur to understand how a series works. Or watch part of How to Train Your Dragon or Shrek to look for characteristics of fantasy or fairytales, or to compare and contrast the movie to familiar read-alouds from the unit and chart them. There should be a clear purpose to the chosen film, and lots of effort put into making it engaging and not just passive watching.

Non-fiction Topic Teaching

Kids teach all about a topic they’ve learned about in their reading on video or to small groups of younger students, or adult visitors. Could include PowerPoint slides or other visuals, and could take the form of a Science Fair or “TED” talks for kids.

Book Club Talks on Video

This could be shown to the class as part of a celebration, or broadcast online on class or school blog, or on a school-based television loop.

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Book Wanted Posters

Each child creates a poster for an imagined book that he or she would like to read, based on the unit of study. (Ex. “Wanted: A mystery with dogs as the main characters.”)

Trip to the Library, Senior Center, or Community Center

A special trip to the school or community library with a guest reader can wrap up any unit of study nicely. Senior centers, preschools, and community centers are also a wonderful place for your students to read to others.

Dress As Your Favorite Character

Coming to school in costume is always an engaging way to foster a love of books.

Praise Persistence!

Kids can introduce their reading partners by talking about a reading goal s/he is working really hard at.

Read-A-Thon

Celebrate stamina by inviting families in for a read-a-thon!  We get to read for a loooong time together!

Book Swap!

Like readers book shop together at the end of the unit, recommending the books from their baggies to others.

Clubs Create Tableaux

Each club member takes a different role and then creates the visual representation of the pivotal moment from a scene. Consider: tone, facial expressions, gesture and action as the moment is frozen in time. They create a quick tableaux. Then, (sticking with the same pivotal scene) clubs choose another character, maybe a person that is very different from their first character, and take on this new role in a physical way. They create a second tableaux. This allows participants to visualize two different characters, each with its own perspective.

Reading Response Collage

Create a new text about book club books by cutting and pasting reading response entries in order to demonstrate your thinking about the text and the collaboration within the club.

I Love to Read and Write Week

A whole school, end of the year celebration of reading and writing with special reading and writing events each day. Dress as your favorite character day (parade), a special lunch menu designed around books (Pizza for Pete’s A Pizza,”  Spaghetti for Strega Nona), guest readers, read-a-thon, book fair, you name it.

Book Trailers

Use technology to create a “trailer” for your book – just like a movie trailer. iMovie is a program that comes with most Mac computers that kids can learn to use easily.