The Can You Read the Rainbow? Reading Challenge will get your students excited about reading all genres of books. Keep reading to find out how to start the challenge in your classroom.
Do you wish your students would read a wider variety of books? I’ve found that once students find an author or series they like, they don’t want to read anything else.
Don’t get me wrong. . .I’m thrilled that they are excited about reading!
However, 15 conferences with one student about Geronimo Stilton books gets to be a little much. Plus, they’re not exposing themselves to different genres.
The Can You Read the Rainbow? Reading Challenge
That’s why I created the Can You Read the Rainbow? Reading Challenge.
Each color of the rainbow represents a different genre of book. To “read the rainbow”, students need to read seven different types of books.
#1 – Create a hallway display.
I wanted my students to get excited about the challenge as soon as they entered the building on the first day of school. When they walked down the hallway, they saw the rainbow display and started asking why it was there.
Here are the steps to creating this rainbow display:
- Tape a sheet of blue bulletin board paper on the wall.
- Cut paper strips in the seven different colors of the rainbow.
- Fold the paper strips over and tape them in the correct order – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.
- Tape grass along the bottom of your display.
- Put “Can You Read the Whole Rainbow?” in clouds above your rainbow.
- Create a pot of gold at the end of your rainbow and fill it with the “treasures” your students will earn by reading more books – better fluency, improved comprehension, and a love of reading.
#2 – Organize your classroom library by genre.
For this reading challenge to work, students need to know what genre of book they are reading. I organized my library into sections for seven different genres
- Realistic Fiction
- Historical Fiction
- Other (Magazines, Graphic Novels)
I made rainbow labels for my library, so the students could easily identify the type of book they were choosing.
Read more about how I organize the books in my classroom library.
#3 – Hold the students accountable for their reading.
I needed a way to keep track of which genres each student read. I also wanted to make sure they were really reading the books.
However, I didn’t want them to have to write a whole report for each book. That would have discouraged some of my students from participating in the challenge.
I created a response sheet where students had to answer two questions about the book. These became part of my hallway display. As students completed a book, they went to the hallway and selected a paper from the correct genre folder. When they turned it in, I recorded the genres they read.
#4 – Celebrate accomplishments!
After a student reads the whole rainbow, give him a special certificate. I also had a Wall of Fame where students could write their name after completing the challenge. Then, they started over again. I had several students read the rainbow three times.
In addition to individual rewards, we also celebrated whole class accomplishments. We created a paper chain to show how many books the whole class read.
Each time a student filled out a response sheet, we added a link to the paper chain. When it stretched across one side of the classroom, we had a reading celebration. The students brought stuffed animals and pillows to read with, and I supplied some snacks.
Benefits of the Reading Challenge
The Can You Read the Rainbow Reading Challenge was a huge success in my classroom last year! Here are just a few of the benefits I noticed:
- Students read a lot more books than previous years. They used every free minute to read and took their books home to finish them.
- Students discovered that they loved genres they never read before. I had one student who thought he only liked fantasy books. When he started reading historical fiction, he realized he loved it. He read every book in the I Survived series.
- Students who didn’t like reading at all found books they enjoyed. The second grade teachers told me that two of my students used every avoidance strategy possible during reading workshop. They never finished a book and didn’t enjoy reading at all. Once they started reading the rainbow, they had to finish the books to fill out a response sheet, and they each found a genre they really enjoyed. I never had trouble with them wasting time during reading workshop.
- Students encouraged each other to read more. My whole class couldn’t wait to earn the reading celebration. Each time someone earned a link for our paper chain, the whole class congratulated her. This motivated my struggling readers to keep working hard. They didn’t have to read the whole rainbow to feel like they accomplished something.
Do you want to try the Can You Read the Rainbow Reading Challenge in your classroom?
Download the resources in the Teach Without Tears TPT Store. The product includes:
- The cloud and coin decorations for your hallway display
- Rainbow Genre Posters
- Rainbow Labels for your Classroom Library
- Reading Response Tickets for each genre
- A checklist to keep track of what genres students read
Sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of this post, and get a free download of the certificate for students who read the rainbow.
What Do You Think?
How do you get students to try different genres of books?
Let me know in the comments below.