Spark Student Motivation- FUN Reading Challenge FREEBIE!

Happy Saturday! I hope you are enjoying your weekend! Yesterday I spent the day coaching girls' basketball with my husband, "Big Mike", and I'm super-proud to report that we won our tournament!! The girls played with a lot of heart and skill- it was awesome! I'm thinking this win will motivate them to keep working hard as we press on through our season, but what about the classroom? How do you motivate your students and keep them engaged?

Today I'm linking up with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching for her weekly Spark Student Motivation Saturdays linky party. I'm sharing a fun reading challenge that I do with my class over the winter break to keep their noses between the pages of a book!

I teach at an international school and our winter break is longer than the norm- 3 whole weeks! It's great for R&R, but it can get kids out of the reading habit! I decided last year to have a "Cookies & Cocoa Party" to reward students for reading over the holidays.

I explained to students that they could earn marshmallows for their cocoa, and a cookie (for dunking, of course!) depending on how many books they read. (I know some people don't believe in food related rewards, but I think a once-a-year reward is okay!)

Here's a peak at the form I handed out. I asked my students to have their parents initial the paper to encourage accountability.

Click on the picture to get your FREE copy!
Since I teach first grade, I set the criteria based on the number of books they read, but for older grades, you could ask students to record the number of pages read. I've included two book logs in the freebie! The more books/pages, the more marshmallows! Never underestimate the power of a marshmallow!

Instant cocoa is not always available here in Bangladesh, so I made some from scratch.

Since my son doesn't like chocolate, I was pretty sympathetic to all my non-chocolate lovers and made some "hot vanilla" as well! With some cinnamon sticks in it, it was DEE-LISH!

Needless to say, the Cookies & Cocoa Party was a huge hit! Students came in after the break talking about how many marshmallows they would get! A picture's worth a thousand words....

My BTF (Best Teacher Friend), Mary, and one of my HAPPY readers!!!
Need I say more, people? With December right around the corner, you could keep your students motivated with this reading challenge right when visions of Christmas presents and days off from school start "dancing through their heads", and celebrate before the break--- or do it my way to encourage reading over the break!

How do you keep your students motivated? Be sure to head on over to Joanne's blog to see how other teachers are sparking student motivation!

I'll leave you with a team picture- my Lady Tigers!!

Thanks for stopping by!
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  1. I love this idea and am going to use it this year. Thank you for sharing the freebie with us. My kiddos have two weeks off this year and I'd hate to have some of them not read at all over break. Love this!

  2. Thanks, Bethany! I'm sure your kids will be motivated to keep reading!

  3. I love this idea - I am pinning it now!! I usually serve hot chocolate on our Polar Express day and have a toppings bar open for them - this is a great twist I can add this year. I bring in my crock pot to keep the hot chocolate warm - but not burn your tongue hot! Thanks for sharing this idea - marshmallows are huge motivators!!

  4. Awesome idea Karli and I'm so glad you linked up! :) I totally believe you when you say marshmallows have power! LOL! Such a great incentive-totally using this! Love it!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  5. I LOVE this idea! I have one question. I am trying to do this for 3rd-6th graders, and I need to know how many pages to set for their challenge?


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