An independent reading program by miranda cryns jolene stensland ian ogden alyssa tormala
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Literacy Pursuit. An Independent Reading Program By Miranda Cryns , Jolene Stensland , Ian Ogden, Alyssa Tormala. Overview. We have developed seven categories in literature that we want students to become familiar with. Each category

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An independent reading program by miranda cryns jolene stensland ian ogden alyssa tormala

Literacy Pursuit

An Independent Reading Program


Miranda Cryns, Jolene Stensland, Ian Ogden,

Alyssa Tormala


We have developed seven categories in literature that

we want students to become familiar with. Each category

correlates to a different word-based board game. Students

may read books of their choice, but in order to win the game

they must complete six of the seven pieces.






Apples to Apples=Series

Cranium=Wild card

Set-up and Play!

  • Around the room the various Game Boards will mark the category’s recommendation lists. In the beginning of the year, a few book recommendations from the teacher will be listed for the students to choose from.

  • As the year goes on, students choose their own books from home or the library, which may or may not get added to the list.

  • The two ways a student can earn their game piece for that category are 1) to read one of the listed, approved texts from that game or 2) to read a book of choice and complete a one page write-up about why the book falls nicely into a certain category.

  • If the write-up is approved, the game piece is earned, and the book is added to the category as a possible book others can now read in order to get the piece.

To compete, or not to compete…

Elements of Competition

Elements of Cooperation

  • Students will have a game piece that is mimicked after the Trivial Pursuit game piece. Students will be able to see how many pie-pieces their peers have completed, but they will not know which books they read.

  • In this way students are challenged to complete more pieces, but are not discouraged by page number expectations

  • Incentives can include a Game Day, where games can be played if you have achieved a certain number of books.

  • Students may be competing for completion, but they will be cooperating in other ways. By having students do write-ups for their books of choice, they are recommending books to their peers.

  • In addition, students can encourage one another to read so that they can hang out on game day together.

Some Fun Details…

This foundational model lends itself to a lot of development and creativity on the part of the educator. Some fun ideas to up the ante:

1- Turn a wall in the room into a board where student pieces are being moved around. They may not have a die that determines their movements, but they could have a visual representation of their progress.

2- “Chance” cards could be an option. Each chance card could require a mini-challenge. Examples: player must read one poem and identify which category it would fall under or player must bring in the title of another book by the author they last read

3- As mentioned before, an incentive game-day could replace one of the in-class reading times, goals may be set by the teacher or the student, but either way, students will see it as a chance to play.

Winning the game…

It’s the game where everyone’s the winner!

The primary concept behind Independent Reading Programs is getting kids motivated to read, and allowing them the space and time to do it. This game makes reading fun and allots time to do it, but the extra element of analysis makes the game especially educational.

Students are encouraged to learn to read with a critical eye. Students who are naturally aesthetic readers may find a challenge in adopting a lens through which to read. This level of sophistication in reading is expected at the secondary level.

Whether the game is introducing these ideas to Middle School students or reiterating them to High School seniors, the skill of writing about a book from a particular perspective is necessary and important.

This game takes the risk and rigor and makes it fun, cooperative and visual.

Pictionary =

Imagery-rich texts

Scarlet Letter by Nathanial HawthorneTheir Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale HurstonThe Giver by Lois LowryA Wrinkle in Time by Margaret L'Engle

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie

Night by Elie Wiesel

Recommended Titles—Book Lists

Boggle =


Freakanomics by Steven LevittBird by Bird by Anne LamottNickel and Dimed by Barbara EhrenreichI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

In to the Wild by Jon Krakauer

A Lust for Life by Irving Stone

The Color of Water by James McBride

Recommended Titles—Book Lists

Apples to Apples =


Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls WilderSong of the Lioness series by Tamora PiercePercy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick RiordanThe Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff KinneyCirque du Freak by Darren ShanThe Ugliesby Scott WesterfeldCity of Ember by Jeanne DuPrauShadow Children by Margaret Peterson HaddixArtemis Fowl by EoinColferDark Tower series by Stephen KingRedwall by Brian Jacques

  • The Chronicles of Narnia By C.S. Lewis

  • The Indian in the Cupboard series by Lynne Reid Banks

Balderdash =

Diction-rich texts- green

The Color Purple by Alice WalkerMuch Ado About Nothing by William ShakespeareGood Night, Mr. Tom by Michelle MagorianThe Outsiders by S.E. HintonElijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul CurtisA Clockwork Orange by Anthony BurgessNo Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Recommended Titles—Book Lists

Taboo =

Theme-concentrated texts

Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye GibbonsThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldThe Joy Luck Club by Amy TanA Thousand Acres by Jane SmileyCrash by Jerry SpinelliAmazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay by Michael ChabonFrankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Scrabble =

collections/ anthologies

Remix: Conversations with Immigrant Teenagers by Mariana BudhosThe Surrender Tree by Margarita EngleOur Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azerrad

The Nick Adams Stories by Earnest Hemingway

African-American Poetry: An Anthology, 1773-1927 Ed. by Joan R. Sherman.

Cranium= Wild card

Students may get this piece for identifying a different element of literature their book falls under that is not mentioned