As the summer reading program at the library comes to a close this weekend we needed a Read-a-thon for a final push to get us to our goal. The “little guys” had a goal of 100 books and my eldest daughter needed 20. My goal was four books, because it was for the gas card; which we all made our goal.
For our read-a-thon the older girls (13-15 years) built a structure outside to house our reading event. It took them about 45 minutes to build the structure for all of them to fit (4 teenage girls, three younger siblings). We used four kits (Discovery Kids 72-piece build and play construction for set), sheets, laundry clips, pillows, and blankets. This made it very comfy.
I did not tell them how to put it together. I was having them explore how to put the fort together. My only requirement was it all needed to connect together (I only had a few sheets).
This was the outcome:
- They worked together and compromised
- They communicated
- They shared
- Problem solved when they ran out of pieces but still need the structure to stand
- Helped each other out
- Learned what worked and what didn’t (there were failures)
It is important in education to let students explore because, “One advantages of the exploration phase is that it provides students with a shared experience” (1). The girls learned how to build a fort using the materials and they were excited when they were done.
Afterwards, they read in the fort all morning long (2 hours). The benefits of having the girls spend a solid chunk of time reading were:
- Having time to dive into a book and have no to limited interruptions
- Getting to read whatever book you want
- Promoting reading at their own pace and their level
- Having natural discussions about their choice of books (not teacher directed)
Then of course there were the cookies and water that were provided. This is a must for keeping teenage girls going. There were also animals crackers involved.
After lunch (in the fort) the girls played Spot It and Go Fish. This was a fun way to finish up the afternoon before taking down the fort (15 minutes).
The girls really enjoyed the chance to build their fort and to read. They look forward to doing this again. Please enjoy our video.