Read Across America Classroom Activity

What a great week it was! My school celebrated Dr. S's birthday a week after the rest of the country, but I started my Read Across America competition with my students in the middle of last week.  I used this pack, which I am going to reference throughout as Read Across the USA, because that's what it's called on TPT (copyright rules!).

I started by creating my bulletin board, which is how the game is played.  I let my students help create the sign, and I turned it into a cooperative learning activity (completely a teachable moment- this was not in my lesson plan!).  P.S. I have a sign on my desk that says "Keep Calm and Pretend This Was On the Lesson Plan."

Here's how I made the bulletin board: I projected a map of the USA onto my whiteboard and traced it onto white butcher paper.  Then, I stapled that on my bulletin board and added ribbons for "time zones."  I didn't add enough time zones to start, and this week, I added more to the West Coast to slow my kids down!  

They kept track of their reading by using a book log that came in the Read Across the USA pack.  I decided to have them read for 40 minutes at home.  Some students really took advantage of it, and would read for 80 minutes a night!
On Thursday, I had three of my girls tie for first place! They each won a gift card to Walmart, and they were all over the moon excited about it- I held a little awards ceremony today in class and handed out their gift cards with some snacks.  

 Included in the Read Across the USA pack were bookmarks featuring American song lyrics, which I laminated and gave out to my students.  They were familiar with some of the songs, but didn't know all of them, and liked reading the lyrics over and over again.

As a culminating activity today, we played a game similar to 4 Corners, but with the song lyrics.  I put up posters with the same lyrics from their bookmarks around the room, and gathered them in the middle of the room, where I had pushed the tables together.  I created a playlist on Youtube so I could click through the songs quickly, and had the kids listen for the lyric, then walk to the lyric they heard.  If the music stopped before they got there, they had to sit "on the island," and if they went to the wrong lyric, they had to sit "on the island." It was a great listening exercise, and a really fun way to teach them some American melodies they didn't know from music class.

We had a great time Reading Across the USA, and some of my kids have asked me if we can do it again! I think it would be a great activity for Memorial Day, or the 4th of July, if you are teaching summer school.  My students were so funny today- some of them said, "Can we keep reading even though it's over?"

I think I might have keep this guy up for the rest of the year.



  1. That is amazing that you got your kids so motivated to read. Great work. I really love your Lorax, by the way. He is definitely my favorite Seuss character. My favorite book of all time would have to be The Great Gatsby. I just love everything about how it is written. You have no idea how excited I am about the movie coming out this summer!

    Eclectic Educating

  2. Aw I love your Lorax. He definitely deserves to stay up all year! My favorite book is The Giver. It's so good!

    Love the 4 corners game with music! I will have to give that a try.

    Brie Joy
    Breezy Pink Daisies
    Breezy Special Ed


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