Spark Student Motivation - Building Incentives

Hi everyone! I just wanted to do a quick post and link up with my sweet friend Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching for her linky...

On Tuesday I posted about how I am trying home reading logs again this year (read about it here) and I know not everyone loves home reading logs but I think that it works for the parents and students that I teach. That being said, not all of the students are motivated to read at home so here are a few of the things that I am doing to try and build motivation into the program.

1. Providing my students with the best and biggest book collection I can get my hands on. I gave each student a large (1/2 page) bookmark to place in a bin or on our rolling shelf if they take a book for their home reading. I record the name of the book on the back, it stays where the book should be returned to and we cross the book off when it is returned. I also rotate books constantly through our library by taking out a gazillion books from the public library (only 68 right now but we are transitioning :)  )

2. Talking to the parents at open house. All of the parents that I talked to were on board and I found last year, some of these same parents were not able to or did not have their kids reading at home. Some parents appreciate that we are both insisting on reading at home, the program gives them that little extra support at home to get their kids reading.

3. I sent home the door hangers - after stealing the idea from Joanne before we even got started to try and spark some motivation for reading at home.

4. I made bookmarks for my students - this will be the prize for week 3. I personalized them with their names.

5. I have picked up a few prizes - my plan is to reward students every 3 weeks with a small prize.

6. After nine weeks of successful home reading students get to choose a book. I usually stock pile books through Scholastic in order to do this.

7. Certificates for completing so many weeks of home reading.

8. A sticker chart - which is still surprisingly motivating for students in grade 3/4 and this Superhero Reading Club sign. To make the sticker chart I just took my recording sheet, saved it as a PDF and printed it as a poster.

9. Negative consequences - students who are not reading at home will have an lunch reading club - time spent at their recess reading.

I hope that as the year progresses and the students are reading regularly I can move the program to focus more on book talks and book recommendations but for right now I just need them to be reading!

A sweet reader named Shauna left a comment on Tuesday's post about an online resource she is using for reading logs/reports/recommendations called Biblionasium. I checked it out, it looks great. I passed the info on to my friend who teaches 7/8 and she signed up today! I would love to get my students on to this site - but probably closer to the end of the year - not all of my kids have computer access and they have really poor keyboarding skills (painful - it takes us 5 minutes to type in a web address!!). But hopefully it is something we can use later on. Check it out - it just might motivate your students - the way only technology can for some :)

 Hope you are having a great weekend!!


  1. Great idea using the bookmarks as place markers. I enjoy checking out books from the Public Library too, but am the world's worst at returning them on time. I'm thankful our library has the option to check out books electronically to be added to the Kindle. That helps. Fabulous idea to have the lunch reading club. I am heading over to check out the website you suggested.
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  2. Love all the great incentives. It has been proven that increasing reading volume is the single most effective way to get students to become better readers. I hope your students get excited about all the wonderful resources and opportunities you are providing them!

    Eclectic Educating

  3. I recently found some plain bookmarks at Hobby Lobby and handed each student one to decorate for themselves. They loved them, but I love yours way more!

  4. I still use reading logs as well. I have revised them many times over the years, and I do think they work for accountability.

    I love all of your motivating ideas to keep kids reading.

    Fit to be Fourth
    Follow me on Bloglovin

  5. Sooo motivating AMC! If your kids don't read at home, I'm not sure what would motivate them! You've given them every incentive and opportunity to be successful! How cute are those glasses? Do you have Reading Counts or Accelerated Reader? Reading Counts is a HUGE motivator at my school! Thanks for sharing and linking up BBB!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  6. Maybe to solve your keyboarding skill (lack of!) dilemma you could make a sqworl for the students to use. (Sidenote, I have not done this as we are a one computer classroom (mine!) but I am a great bookmarker 'for someday'.) You can put all the links on it that you want your kids to access and they just have to click. www.sqworl

    I think I am lucky that reading is highly valued in my school, so the logs are never an issue, even when I taught sixth grade. You could even make the lunch recess reading more appealing (book club/snacks/you reading a really good book that hooks them) and try to get some good readers to attend.

    Love your bookmarks!

  7. Thanks for the Biblionasium idea. We've been using Reading Eggs and Reading Express with our school for some extra fun reading practice, which the kids love. This looks like it would be a great addition to that.

    Are We There Yet?

  8. I love your superhero bookmarks! All of your ideas are super motivating. :) I will check out Biblionasium because I know some of my students would just eat that up. I also like how you use the bookmark in the library because right now Classroom Booksource (the online library checkout system with my iPad) is driving me bonkers! About 80% of the books won't scan and have to be entered manually. It is taking WAY too long!
    Fourth Grade Flipper


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