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Maintaining Momentum After Your Read

No small amount of energy goes into your One School, One Book reading event. Between a kick-off assembly, distributing books among students and staff, and all the classroom fun that comes with reading a book together, there’s truly a multitude of moving parts. That’s why, when a school-wide read comes to an end, it can often be easy to fall back into a pre-read, “standard” operating procedure. We want a love of reading to stick around well beyond the length of your program, ensuring that the benefits of the event continue to have an impact on students, their families, and your school community. 

We have compiled a number of strategies to keep the momentum going after your read. Let’s dive in: 

A classroom of students poses in front of a decorative display

Next Book Connections – We provide One School, One Book participants a resource called Next Book Connections. (For participating schools, this document lives in the After Your Read section on your Book Resource Page.) This document invites you to explore other books by the same author, or diving into books with the same themes. For instance, after reading Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, you could pick up The Trumpet of the Swan to share with your class – or if you’d prefer to branch out to a story with the same themes, you could try reading The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

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Keep Sequels on Hand – One surefire way to keep the momentum going is to select a school-wide read title that has a sequel – or more than one sequel. It can be incredibly fulfilling for kids to invest time with the same cast of characters. If your book lands on a cliffhanger (such as Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott) or has a rich world kids want to keep exploring (like Malamander by Thomas Taylor), try investing in classroom copies of the sequels. See if sequels can be added to the school library, as well – but be prepared for kids who want to be first in line to check them out! 

Incorporate Reading Aloud into Your Classroom Routine – During your reading event, you likely set aside some classroom time to do activities. We encourage you to use this same period to share a book with your students. This can help reinforce the importance of reading and make it a standard part of the school day. Try using our Browse Titles page to select a handful of books and have students vote on the title they’d like to read together. For older students, you could set aside time for independent reading – though children are never too old to be read aloud to! 

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Encourage Variety – Even when a school reads a book together, reluctant readers may still resist picking up a book. Encourage students– reluctant readers or otherwise– to try a variety of different books, such as: graphic novels, comics, or books in verse. You can also gently encourage students to seek out stories with topics that interest them: a child who loves all things Marvel, for instance, would have a blast with Marion Jensen’s Almost Super and a child who loves basketball but maybe shies away from a lengthy book might be interested in the graphic novel adaptation of Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover.

Celebrate Reading Achievements – As you keep reading, it is important to recognize and celebrate students who reach reading milestones… big or small! This can include reading a certain number of pages or even reading 5, 10, or more books. Encouragement can go a long way in terms of keeping students motivated; you’d be surprised by how meaningful it is for students to carry a sense of accomplishment for their literary efforts. 

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Keep Families Involved – Don’t forget to keep the momentum going at home, as well! You might consider hosting a quarterly family reading night or sending home reading challenges for students to complete with their families. For inspiration, you could take a look at the Bingo Card in the Family Fun Pack. (Most of the bingo cards are book specific, but generalizing the activities is doable.) The more support and encouragement students have from home, the more likely they are to continue reading and learning outside of the classroom.

What other ways have you kept momentum going after finishing your One School, One Book program? Let us know in the comments below!  

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