I have waited roughly 25 years for this experience. The last 6 years of the wait have felt the longest. But I finally made it! Or I should say, Sammi finally made it. She’s now old enough and experienced enough to get to know the Kids of the Polk Street School. This was a series I read when I was in second or third grade and loved. It captures school life so well and I love the character development of Ms. Rooney’s second grade class over the course of the series. And now I get to share this with my oldest child! We are reading the very books I’ve had since my childhood. But that’s not the purpose of this post.
We are currently in the third book, The Candy Corn Contest, and we were inspired! When Sammi got home from school on Friday I had her own candy corn jar waiting for her. Our contest works the same way as Ms. Rooney’s. For every page she reads, she gets to write a guess down of how many candy corn are in the jar. After one week we’ll check her guesses and see if any are correct. If not, then we’ll go another week. In the second week I’ll give her more clues to help her guess correctly. In the four days we’ve done it she has earned 24 guesses!
We adapted this for Elli, too. She has her own (smaller) jar so they each get a chance to win. Since she’s a “pre-reader” she gets a guess for every short book I read to her and for every chapter of a chapter book I read to her. So far she has 12 guesses! Her first guess was seventy-fifty which Sammi helped her write down as 75. That’s only two away from the correct answer!
Both girls have been excited to earn guesses. They are already avid readers and consumers of books, but this has upped their enthusiasm. It has also helped Sammi challenge herself with some harder books that she’s capable of reading but that are a bit intimidating. She read two and a half pages out of a hard book. I’m amazed at how much her reading and desire to read have both improved.
The Candy Corn Reading Contest
For the reader:
- a guess for each short book she reads
- a guess for each page of a leveled reader she reads
- a guess for anything she reads to her brother
- she cannot get two guesses for reading the same short book twice on one day.
For the “pre-reader”:
- a guess for each book we read in one sitting
- a guess for each chapter in a chapter book we read
- a guess for any word she reads that’s not her own name (as she’s been able to do that for quite some time, but it may be great for other kids just learning to recognize their own name)
- We’ll collect guesses for a week. I’m not giving any indication if they have the correct answer or are close. I want they mystery to drive the reading enthusiasm.
- After one week if no guess is dead on then we’ll collect for another week. I’ll give more hints this week.
- By the end of the second week we will have correctly guessed the number of candy corn in their jars. We will then share the candy corn with the whole family since everyone is helping the girls to get their guesses!
This could be a great activity to encourage a reluctant reader or listener to get a little more excited about reading. I think next we’ll have a contest where writing is used to earn entries. Hmmm, the possibilities are endless!
How to you get your little one excited about reading?