The Reading Olympics --- The Basics

First off, let me begin this post by saying I am so sorry it took so long to write.  I have been promising and promising and I finally am here with it.  So please forgive me.

Secondly, this idea is not originally mine.  I got it from another gifted teacher named Terri (who, to my knowledge does not have a blog....though if she ever gets one, you will be the first to know about it!)  She so kindly shared this idea two years ago and I ran with it in my classroom.  I have tweeked it to fit my needs, and I anticipate you will do the same for your own classroom.

So without further ado....The Reading Olympics.

The basic idea behind this is simple.   The students read 20 books at their independent reading level and complete 20 different projects for the books.  1 book = 1 response project  The students work at the reading/response projects at their own pace, completing as many as they can before the end of the year.

To organize the projects (and keep with the Olympic theme) there are 4 levels.  The first is Olympian, followed by Bronze, Silver, and finally Gold.  At each level, there are 5 different projects representing 5 different books.  So there are 5 projects for the Olympian level.  5 NEW projects for the Bronze.  5 NEW projects for the Silver level.  5 NEW projects for the Gold level.  20 projects in all.  In order to advance to the new level, all projects in the previous level must be completed.  (I make sure that they are quality projects, so the kids must earn a standards based score of 3 in order to move on)  Here is the first post I made about this topic with some pictures of the kids actual projects. 

To start the students off, they each received a record keeping card (that I made on Vista Print last year, but am just going to run off on the copier this year).  As the students turned in a project, they recorded it on their record keeping form.  I then went back later and input the grade for them.  Here is the form for you.





I also sent a letter home to the parents explaining the Reading Olympics, along with the Olympian level of projects.  I did also explain this at Back to School Night.  The above mentioned Terri wrote this letter, but again, I adapted it to fit my needs (which, again, I expect you will too :) )

So now you are probably wondering about the projects themselves.  I thought about what I wanted the students to accomplish, and created projects that would meet those objectives.  I didn't want to make the projects so difficult and involved that it would turn off the students, but I also didn't want to make them so easy that the kids could just read the back of the book and get it done.  I think the projects I created managed to accomplish this.  They worked for my students at my school in my grade level.  I realize that this may not work for you and your students, so definitely create projects that work for you!

OK...so here is where it gets a little tricky for what I am going to have you download.  You see, I made all of my leveled projects directly on Vista Print.  Since I did, there is no way that I can create a doc for you to use BUT I took a screen shot of the brochure for the Olympian and Bronze levels. I have uploaded those for you so that at least you can read how I worded things and go from there.  I know there are people who want to start this off from Day 1 in their rooms, so I am going to get this out to you soon.  I do not have the Silver or Gold levels available for you to see.  They are not scanned onto my computer and, honestly, I just don't think I will have time to put them on.  If I ever do, I will create a new post about it.

I also am in the process of creating a "suggested" calendar for my students.  I noticed last year that some kids just weren't motivated enough by the prospect of earning medals as they moved through the levels.  They needed me to help them organize their project due dates for them.  So about midway through the year, I put together some dates for the kids to aim for...and it really helped to get more projects in!  When I have mine done, I will post for you so you can see what I did.

So there you have it.  The basic idea of the Reading Olympics.  What questions do you have for me?

26 comments

  1. Love this idea! What an awesome way to get students reading. Thanks for sharing!

    Lyndsey


    A Year of Many Firsts

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  2. This is such a great idea. Love it. I can't wait for the word documents. Will you be sharing them?

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  3. Love this idea! Thanks for sharing! I think my 3rd graders are up for the reading challenge!
    Erin

    http://adventuresinthirdgrade-brown.blogspot.com/

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  4. This is great! Thank you for sharing! How did you handle the challenge of students who did not complete the projects at all?

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  5. Super idea!! Thank you so much for sharing your great resources. Now to try to make my brochures for the Gold & Silver levels.

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  7. Thank you so much for sharing this idea. With the Olympics beginning this week, and my school beginning on August 7, this will tie in nicely.

    The parent letter link is not there. Is there a way I can get this? I had my 6th graders trying the 40 book challenge last year, but only two (a brother and a sister) completed it. However,

    I did have students who read from several genres out of their comfort zone, because the challenge (from Donalyn Miller) was in place. Thanks! ~Mo

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  8. This is such an amazing idea!!!! Thanks for sharing!

    ☼ Kate
    To The Square Inch

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  9. Oh my gosh I LOVE this idea! I will be teaching 5th grade for the first time this coming school year after teaching 2nd for the past 4 years. I am very interested in doing this with my students this year - we start back Sept. 4 so hopefully you'll have everything posted by then :) Looking forward to getting more info!

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  10. This is a really great post/idea, Stephanie! :)
    Ann Marie Smith @ Innovative Connections

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  11. I love this idea! This year I am a superhero/superhuman theme. I love how the Olympic challenge would work. I would love to know when you have the other documents ready as the school year starts in a few weeks.

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  12. Hey there!

    I hope you can join me in my "Preparing for School" linky party @ {6th Grade} All-Stars

    Thanks
    Mrs. Crouse :)

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  13. Wow!!! Stephanie, you have read my mind. I had an idea about doing this in my class, but I couldn't get my mind around how to organize it. Thank you! Thank you! I will also make sure that my students read at least from each of a list of genres. I am so excited now. My school doesn't start until after Labour Day (you can tell by the u that I am from Ontario,lol), so I will be able to adjust. Thank you again...my brain just exploded.

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  14. I'd like to know more about the "medals" students earn. Do you make them? Purchase them somewhere? This sounds like fun!

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  15. Great Idea!! Could you possibly upload a picture of your other two levels? I am a first year teacher and think this would be a great way to get my students excited about reading.

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  16. Fabulous! I love how you have organized this. The activities you are requiring are general enough to apply to a variety of books, yet specific and targeted enough to really work on much needed comprehension skills. I also like that for some projects students seem to have free reign in their book choices while other projects require they read within a specific genre.

    My questions are regarding assessment. Is this something that students are graded on...part of their report card language arts grade? If so, how does that work with everyone completing different amounts? Are students required to complete at least a minimum amount? Do they recieve poor grades if the quality is not up to par? Zeros if they don't do anything at all? If it's not a part of their language arts grade, is the idea of winning a medal really enough incentive to motivate students to do all this "extra" work for something that doesn't go towards a grade?

    My brain is already whirling with thoughts on how I can incorporate this into my classroom this year. Although it's a little hard to come up with much of a plan just yet since I never know from year to year what grade level I'll actually be teaching until about a week before school starts. Oh, the joys of special ed. :) Thank you so much for sharing all your wonderful ideas.

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  17. Thank you so very much for sharing! I LOVE this idea! :) My question is in regards to grading. Does this grade count as extra credit? Do you require the kids to at least attempt some of the levels? I am thinking about making this a quarterly assignment somehow. THANKS! :)

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  18. Is there any way that you can post the fluency video again. A while ago I pinned it before I knew that I had a job for this year and would love to be able to share it with my students. I tried to open it on my pinterest and it said that it had been removed by the user.

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  19. Love this idea! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

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  20. silver and gold levels? please!

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  21. Thank you so much for this! Love it! Please, please share the calendar and gold/silver brochures when you get time. My gifted students will love this. :)

    jojomarsh11@yahoo.com

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  22. This is awesome! I would love to get a complete copy of this activity! It is awesome and I am hoping to incorporate this in my 5th grade classroom this year! jbrookeward77@gmail.com

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  23. thank you for sharing.... i would love to get this started in my room and would pay for the silver and gold levels. aslafci@gmail.com

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  24. Any updates on the silver and gold brochures?

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  25. Is there any way to get an actual brochure sheets for all the levels? I'd be willing to pay for a copy of each since you do not have them scanned. I can then scan them for you and send them your way.
    I am teaching the lower level readers in 8th grade. I am hoping by creating this reading incentive, they will buy in.

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