The only problem with Bingo is that it's a game of luck. And just as you can have days when your luck is really good, you can also have days when your luck is really BAD. So, winning is out of your hands.
But that's not the case with Reading Bingo! Your success is completely in your hands! You are in charge of your life as a reader, so it's all up to you!
As you've seen already, Reading Bingo is a little different from traditional Bingo, and many of you have questions about the "rules of the game". I'll do my best in this post to help clear up any confusion, but if you still have questions after reading this, please feel free to leave a comment. I'll reply to your comment here so that others can see the answer, too. (Usually when one person has a question, someone else is wondering the same thing and just hasn't asked yet!)
Is Reading Bingo required?
Yes. Reading at least six books per nine weeks is required for fourth graders. However, it is up to the reader if they want to try to achieve a Bingo by reading five books in a straight line or not. (Remember, the sixth book can be anywhere else on the card.) In order to receive the prize, you have to "read a Bingo" (complete a whole row, column, or diagonal).
Why do we have to read six books each nine weeks?
Each year, readers throughout Chets Creek are challenged to meet a reading volume goal. Because readers naturally read different types and difficulty of books as they grow and change, the goal changes based on their grade level. We call this reading incentive program at Chets Creek "Readers to Leaders". The fourth grade goal is to read 25 chapter books each year. In order to make the goal easier to manage and pace, we've divided that into six books per quarter. (We count all the miscellaneous magazines, articles, short stories, picture books, and more that we read in class all year as the 25th chapter book.) Meeting this quarterly goal is how readers earn their Readers to Leaders award.
How do I receive credit for reading a book?
After a reader completes a book, they should refer to the back side of their blue Reading Bingo instruction page. The back side lists MANY different choices for responding to a book. Choices range from sitting down one-on-one with me in class to have a conversation about the book, to writing a short summary, illustrating a new book jacket, acting out a scene from the book, recommending the book to their class with an informal book talk, or even to a variety of digital projects. Really, the possibilities are endless! Readers can select the "You're the Boss!" option and present any idea they're interested in pursuing to Mrs. Nash. If it's doable, we'll try it!
Do I have to respond to every book I read?
Readers must respond to any book they read in order to get credit on their Bingo cards for reading the book. Six books is the minimum requirement. Some readers are challenging themselves to reach a "Double Bingo" or even a Blackout! Other readers just want to meet the Bingo goal and then read for the love of reading without responding after their sixth book. These are all acceptable goals and choices.
Will this be graded?
Since independent reading is such a large part of our work in reading workshop, yes. Reading Bingo is graded. Students receive a grade based on the percent of the six book goal they complete. This is a small portion of their ELA grade.
When is Bingo due?
On the front of the blue instruction page, you will see a series of dates. These dates are pacing checks. With the exception of the final due date, these are not hard and fast deadlines. Since students are graded on percent completed of the six book goal, grades for Bingo are not entered into the gradebook until the final due date. (For this quarter, the final due date is October 24th.) The pacing checks leading up until that point are merely checkpoints intended to help readers stay on pace to meet the final goal. With that said, readers who fall significantly behind in their reading rarely catch up to meet the final goal, so please do monitor these dates.
How can I support my reader in this process?
You can support your reader at home in a variety of ways.
- Provide a good 30 minutes or so in their evenings (Monday through Friday) of uninterrupted, devoted reading time.
- Whenever life gets hectic (sports schedules, dance classes, special projects, family needs), be sure to encourage reading on Saturdays and Sundays to make up for the lack of time on other days. Reading can be a great downtime activity for everyone in the family!
- Make a habit of asking your child how they're doing on book completion. Some readers have bad habits of frequently abandoning books before completion. These readers have difficulty reaching the six book goal.
- Help them track the titles of the books they've completed on their blue Bingo sheet and their actual Bingo card. If I find that they've written a book's title in a square on their bingo card, it's much easier to help them correct their card if they also have them written on their blue pacing guide.
- Encourage your reader to choose good fit books for them. If your reader usually reads books that over 200 pages in length within a few days, and you find them returning to series books from years gone by so they can read more books faster, remind them that reading books that are TOO easy is not what reading is all about. (Remember what makes reading the best and the worst?) At the same time, if they're stuck in a book for days and days, are making very slow progress as they're reading, or appear to be reading the same page forever, perhaps this book is too challenging. Ask them to read a page out loud and do the "five finger check" to see if it is a good fit for them. Students should be able to read a whole page of text without missing more than 3 words on the page.
- If they've been itching to read the next book in a series they love, but that book is 400 pages long and you're worried they won't have time to finish it, be careful not to discourage them! Rather, remind them to request a conference with me (using our conference sign-up notebook in the classroom) so we can discuss making this work for them as a reader.
- Encourage your child to read one book at a time. They should be reading a chapter book that they bring to and from school each day, just like grown-up readers do. Once they finish reading for the night, be sure they put the book straight into their backpacks so they'll have it all day at school the next day.
This is a lot of information to soak in, but I'm sure many of you still have questions. Remember to leave your questions in a comment on this post so other families and students can learn from your wonderings, too.
Students, what questions do you still have? How are you doing in your personal game of Reading Bingo? Are you enjoying it so far?