4 Back to School Activities to Kickoff Reading

back to school reading kick off lessons

I love kicking off reading in my classroom with activities that hook students right from the first day of school! I love using fresh ideas to help students think about reading and books in new ways.

By the time my students have come to me in the upper grades, they have already had several back-to-school reading lessons under their belts. That is why I like to engage students in back-to-school reading lessons that are different than anything they have completed before!

While these lessons focus on very important beginning of the year reading skills and topics that must be taught, you will find that these activities offer students fresh and engaging activities that will hook them into reading and start them on their path of becoming lifelong readers!

Make a Classroom Library Map

Classroom library map activity

Creating a map of our classroom library is always a class favorite! Students always remember this activity and it helps them learn the ins and outs of the classroom library to make finding a just right book simple! 

Here is how to use this classroom library map activity:

Go over how your classroom library is organized with your students. Your students should know if your library is organized by level or genre, or a mix of both. when students understand how their classroom library works they can shop for books in a small amount of time.

I use a full reading mini-lesson on how the library is organized. Students explore the baskets, genres, posters, and learn the ins and outs of each shelf. Then students create a map of our library.  I also challenge students to make a map key to help them identify different parts of the library. Once students complete their classroom library maps they keep them in their reading binders.

Not only is this helpful activity for students to familiarize themselves with their new classroom but it also gets them excited about new genres and talking about books! Since our library is not big enough for all students to create their maps at the same time students rotate through. If they are not working on the classroom map, they are independently reading.

Just Right Book Challenge

just right book challenge

This Just Right Book Challenge is my favorite back-to-school reading activity! Who doesn't love a good challenge?

Each group of students will get a bucket of books at their table filled with a mix of challenging, just right, and easy books. Each student will take a turn with a book to "test it" out to see if it is just right for them. Each student completes the reflection page independently with information to support if the book is too challenging, too easy, or just right. Students work privately even though they are sharing a bucket of books.

This focused task truly helps students compare books in one sitting allowing them to recognize which is too challenging, too easy, or just right! This is a must add to your back-to-school reading lesson plans!

Bust out the Stopwatches: Building Stamina Countdown

building stamina lesson for first 20 days of reading

Grab your stopwatches and get ready to track your class' stamina!

My students always love this tracking system to help us slowly build our reading stamina. I take this page and place it in a thick page protector that I can write and erase on. We start with a class goal of sitting and reading for 20 minutes without interruptions. As the days pass we add more time to our goal, eventually sitting for 45-60 minutes of focused reading time. The students are highly motivated by this and enjoy trying to beat their time every day. Rotate students to be in charge of the stopwatch for a little extra motivation! 

Real VS Fake Reading Anchor Chart

real vs fake reading anchor chart for first 20 days of reading

Talking about real and fake reading is an important back-to-school reading lesson. It is a meaningful way to have students reflect on their own personal reading habits. You can create an anchor chart before your lesson with ideas like these to kick off the discussion or leave your TCHART anchor chart blank so that students can fill it in. 

By discussing what real, meaningful reading is at the start of the year, you will be helping students self-monitor and check-in with themselves as readers all year long!

When it comes to getting your students excited about reading this year, these fresh new ideas will do the trick! These activities are highly engaging and motivating for ALL students regardless of reading levels. Start the school year and your reading block with these must-try lessons and activities! 

Have a great year teacher friends!

Get started celebrating reading in your classroom this back-to-school season with this easy to implement FREE resource.

first 20 days of reading free lessons and scope and sequence

You might be interested in reading:

Check out my favorite reading kick-off activities HERE

Like this writing about reading resource! 

first 20 days of reading lesson writing about reading

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4 FRESH Activities to Kickoff Reading

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