What is The Biggest Reader?

On the television show The Biggest Loser, teams of obese contestants compete to lose weight and improve their quality of life.

The goal of The Biggest Reader is to motivate students to read...and improve their quality of life.

The hope is that during the challenge some students will find a joy in reading they have never had before and keep going. One kid loving reading = winning!

Although The Biggest Reader is a competition I always keep it friendly. Everyone is winning, even though one team and one person will be crowned the biggest reader.


How do I run it?

The class is broken into teams, personally I like to have 4-6 in each team.

The team's mixed not by reading level, but by their relationship with reading. From “I would read every second of the day if I could” to “I would chew off my own hands not to read a paragraph”. Therefore it's best to start the biggest reader once you know your students attitudes reading.

Then each student records how LONG they read each night in a diary. The focus is on time, not pages because I don't want students to be punished if they are a slow reader.

At the end of the week tally scores (some GREAT maths in this!). You can crown a weekly biggest reader and biggest reader group.

Click here to subscribe to our weekly newsletter and you will be sent the Excel Spreadsheet I use to keep score.

With student recording their reading time you can go down two paths:
1. Honesty policy
2. Parents verify reading time
Personally I'm all for honesty, I love trusting my students.

Students can read ANYTHING. Remember the objective is to spark a love of reading.

Wild Card Reader

To add some spice, each week one member from each group is allocated the “Wild Card Reader”.

For that week their score is doubled (tripled, whatever!). It's amazing how much this motivates kids to read. A reminder though to keep it light and fun, last thing you want is a kid freaking out because he hasn't read enough for his team!

Keep the program going add long as it works for you and the kids. Sometimes it’s one Wild Card Reader for each student, other times we do a few "rounds".

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