Get Students Excited about Reading Again! Life After Accelerated Reader

I have some super exciting news! Our SIT (School Improvement Team) met last week, and they decided that teachers can decide whether to participate in AR {Accelerated Reader} by grade level! I have been on cloud 9 ever since!

I feel like by the time students are in second grade, they are pretty wishy washy about having to do AR and get points. They love it for the first semester. They are totally into it and track each little half point they earn. Toward the second semester, I stop getting questions about what point club they are in or how many points until they get to the next one.
Here is why I am so excited about the change:
With AR: Students only like to read AR books. They only want to read to "get it over with" or to get those stinking points. They ignore all of the amazing National Geographic books with the awesome pictures I have in my room. They ignore all the fun books that may actually interest them. Instead, they choose the shortest, lamest book...just. for. the. points.

Without AR: There is no pressure to read as many books as the can, no pressure to be in the top point club, no pressure to read those lame books that "I have to read because it's in my dot level!" There is NO PRESSURE! Reading can be fun again!! They can look at books that catch their interest without worrying about the dot, the test, and the points.
Now the big question:

How do I motivate students to read for meaning without AR?
I wanted some awesome, do-able options before I went to my teaching parter {Cassondra} and said I for sure wanted to quit AR. The program is really a great way to get/make students to read, but I want them to enjoy reading, not just do it because they HAVE to. I searched and searched and searched...Here is what we came up with!
AR Alternatives
-Book BINGO: Students get a BINGO card on Monday and have to get a BINGO by Friday. They will be reading at home, have a choice in their books, and have to take ownership in their reading.
The cards can be by character, genre, fiction/nonfiction, pretty much whatever! Friday they will choose their favorite book for the week and do a book talk about it in small groups.
- Book Blogs: Students can blog about their books they read the previous night for morning work.
-Read and Retell page
-PowerPoint/Prezi: Students will create a presentation over a book/author they enjoyed reading.
-Commercial: Students will use the iPads to create a commercial for a book they really enjoyed.
-Author Study
-Student lead quizzes: Partner students up, each student reads a book and creates their own quiz for their partner. They swap books and take the quiz.
-Read-A-Thon: Half day of nothing but reading (but how to track this in an educational way?)
-Exit/Entrance Tickets: Students answer a comprehension question about their book upon entering the classroom.
Book Chain: For each book they read and do a read and retell page they can put a link on a paper chain. When it reaches the floor, we could have a half day book party/read a thon.
We are going to attempt some of this for the rest of this year. If it doesn't work the way we want, I guess we can always join the AR game next year since K-1 have decided to continue with the program. 
I love using my {Read with a Purpose pack} to help students organize their thoughts and ideas before they generate their final product. These have been an awesome addition to my classroom.

Now for my next venture:
How to organize my books?!?


First Month of School=Busy! (Five for Friday: September 4)

Wow! What a super busy month I have had! I hope you have had a great start to your school year! I can't wait to tell you all about what we have been up to! I'm linking up with {Doodle Bugs Teaching} to give you my Five for Friday!
Here we go!
Our school was able to finally get a subscription to {IXL}! In my room, I use IXL for RTI small groups. My students are able to review skills we have recently covered. They have a math and language arts program! The kids seem to really enjoy it so far. The only issue I have with IXL is the program doesn't have the option for students to have problems read to them. The beginning of second grade is a little rough with the reading everything on their own. With this being RTI time, I am also meeting with my group and just cannot read all the questions to the kiddos. 
I am not ashamed to admit I let a former second grader, current third grader, grade our math morning work for me! Luckily, he just had to make sure the work was completed! Morning work always includes a math review page from the lesson the previous day. Students take turns going to the board to work the problems after work time is over. As long as students follow along and fix their mistakes, they get full credit.

We have went noun crazy! One of my favorite beginning noun activities is to label the nouns around the classroom! I hand out 5-6 Post-Its and set the timer! They scramble around the room, covering it in Post-Its! It is so fun!
All the nouns in my room stood out, bright and orange! Even if mouse was spelled moose! Close enough!
Last year, I had a little bit of a {rough crew}. I was totally exhausted each day, many margaritas and bottles of wine were consumed, and boy was I grouchy! They were totally wild! This year, my kids are ANGELS, almost all 17 of them! My groups are so peaceful and switching gears goes so smooth! They listen to what I say, at least by the second time I say it! I just LOVE it! Look at these kiddos in the picture: ACTUAL BUDDY READING HAPPENING HERE! This was the view of my room all over!! All the kids were EEKK, taking turns, and reading (not all that quietly, but they were reading!)!! This year is going to be amazing, I know already!
Confession: I have owned one pair of tennis shoes since...senior year of high school...they were cheer shoes. My friends make fun of my shoes anytime I workout(which is not often) and beg me to buy new ones( Megan, you are welcome!). Well, I finally (after 10 years) got some new kicks! I love them so far! WAYYY less embarrassing than the cheer shoes! I still only wear them at home when I run, and never in public( I have an issue with my feet and tennis shoes), but I have new ones!
Head over to {Doodle Bugs Teaching} to check out what else is happening in classrooms all around!