January is National Book Month, and I’ve been having a great time learning ways that teachers can celebrate it with their students. Beyond just encouraging kids to read this month, here are ten ways to get engaged during National Book Month.
- Host a “reading” in your class or school. Invite a local author to come read one of their stories or a selection from a novel. It’s also fun to reach out to local “celebrities,” such as a news anchor, college athlete, or even the mayor. Ask them to share their favorite age-appropriate book with your students.
- Re-read some of the books your class has particularly liked in the past. We’re often so interested in finding new stories that we forget how much kids like to hear things over and over.
- Do a costume day where kids can dress up as their favorite literary character. It’s fun to see how the costumes change depending on the age of the students. From The Paper Bag Princess to Harry Potter, kids and teachers alike can have fun with this one.
- Create a class book. With the help of a copier and stapler, students can work together to create an awesome class project that celebrates National Book Month. As a bonus, it can be a great handout at the next round of parent-teacher conferences.
- Write to an author. Have kids pick their favorite authors and write them a fan letter. They can share what they like best about that author’s books and thank them for the work. Most authors probably won’t write back, but you never know…
- Set up a book exchange at school. Students can bring in books they’ve already read and trade them for books brought in by other students and teachers.
- Have your students create a movie-style poster advertising their favorite book. They might include pictures of the characters, “quotes” from critics, and a tagline. They could also take on the role of book reviewer to share their opinions with the class.
- Find out what books are currently up for awards like the Newbery Medal and Caldecott Medal. Read them together and vote for which books your class thinks should win.
- Create a photo contest in which students take pictures of themselves reading in crazy places. The rule should be that they actually read the book and that the title has to be visible in the picture. You can then either vote or have a drawing to determine the winner.
- Read a book and then watch the movie version of the same story. This can lead to some great discussions about what differences there were and whether students liked the book or the movie better and why.
There are hundreds of ideas out there on activities for National Book Month. Check out these sites for some more. They’re not all geared specifically to National Book Month, but they all have great ideas for celebrating books in the classroom: