It's working! The Super Reader cards are starting to come in. Students are having conversations with their teachers and with me about the books they are reading.
I am enjoying these conversations. There have only been a couple of students who needed to go back and re-read because they could not have a conversation about one of their books. After discussing the book in general and delving into deeper questions, it is quickly obvious if we have a faker. At that point in the conversation, usually the student is quick to fess up that they did not read or did not "finish" the book they were talking about. Because of the nature of these conversations it has not been awkward to have to tell a student to go back and read and try again. I usually ask them if they didn't finish the book and tell them to, "Go finish that book and come back to talk to me."
The students took me by surprise and I had to put a rush order in for the level two cards. I did not think they would be ready for them so quickly. I think I like the level two cards even better than the level one cards. I love seeing all the writing on the cards that have been submitted, the combination of two or three people's writing, page counts and so on. It feels good to see something I made being used and enjoyed.
This is definitely getting a better response than the reading log based programs I have done in the past. I am looking into doing a book fair sneak peak as our first reward for those who have already finished the first level. Here's what I think is making a difference aside from the cool factor of the cards.
- The program keeps moving, the students can turn in a level one card and move on to level two at anytime during the year. Rewards are scheduled, but also unannounced or random. For example, I am sending pencils, erasers and grippers to all the students who have already turned in a card. Anytime a student turns in a card they will get a "treat" sent to them in homeroom. They will also qualify for other rewards. The new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book coming out in November? What a great way to draw for a copy of the book or first check out rights!
- Book length. There was some debate over whether we should use 250 pages or 200 pages to count for a book. We decided on 200 pages and I think that is helping. Students have to read six books or a total of 1,200 pages. This is an obtainable goal.
- Portability. Many students carry their card in their plastic lanyard along with their school id.