Reading Bingo

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I’ve been letting Josh and Megan pick out books from their collections for our reading practice time. This is going well and they read those book so much better than reading random phrases or nonsensical sentences from Phonics Pathways. We’re still doing Phonics Pathways, but I’m more or less using it to go over different blends and digraphs with the kids on the whiteboard and, then, letting them put into practice what they’ve learned by reading the books they select.

The only problem with letting them select their own books is that they keep selecting the same ones over and over. Last week, I remembered a resource that I’ve saved for a few years that I thought might help with this: a reading bingo card!

Once I pulled out the card, I realized that it wasn’t going to work, as it was, for my purposes. No big surprise there since I rarely use our materials the way they’re intended. However, it did give me a push in the right direction.

I have a blank bingo card that I made using the table feature of Microsoft Word. I adapted it to create a new reading bingo card by filling in each of the twenty-five squares with different types of books for the kids to read: a book about a boy, a book about a girl, a book about a dog, a book written by a woman, a book chosen by Mom, your favorite book, etc.

Printable Reading Bingo Card

Click the image above to download.

Then, I explained to the kids how it was going to work. I could see their expressions: Ugh! Twenty-five books?!?

However, I made it clear that they didn’t have to sit down and read twenty-five books all at once, but that they could use the bingo cards in helping them to select a book. I explained that they can put a sticker over each square as they fulfill that requirement and that, once the cards were full, they could turn them in. 

Yeah, for a dollar? they interrupted with disgust.

No, for either five dollars (you should have seen the faces light up) or for a date night with Mom or Dad. Can I just say that my heart was completely warmed by the fact that they got more excited about the possibility of a date night than they did the five dollars?

This idea can be easily adapted for older kids by filling the squares of a blank bingo card with things like: read a biography, read a non-fiction book, etc. The original card even included extension activities such as make a collage about a book you read or draw a comic strip, so you could get very creative with the ideas. And since the reading material will be longer and more challenging for older students, you could let them turn the card in when they have an actual five-in-a-row bingo or make the rewards higher.

I’ve included a blank bingo card that you can fill in with your own ideas or use for other types of games and review, just click the image to download.

Printable Bingo Card

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  1. This is a great idea. Our library’s summer reading program had a similar format called “Read Around The Stacks” (RATS). It was on a tic-tac-toe type board and it definitely helped my son read something besides sports’ books.

    The one funny thing, I was amazed how many sports books he could fit into different categories – biography, various time periods, historical fiction, non-fiction, mystery, etc. Eighty percent of his books still centered around sports, but they didn’t all come from the same aisle of the library at least. πŸ™‚


  2. First, I want to say how much I enjoy your blog! I use a somewhat similar idea with my children which was inspired by the reading club at our local library. My daughter made lists for each three month period of the year on PrintMaster. Each list has spaces for 50 books. After the entire list is filled with books, the children can choose a prize (usually a Webkinz). For my 6th grader, 50 pages count as one book. For my 4th grader who struggles a bit with reading comprehension, 25 pages count as one book. My 2nd grader is still reading readers from the library. The list has been motivating to them. I really like your idea so that different types of books are read!

  3. I *love* this idea! I’m really working on getting my son to choose a variety of books from the library (he seems to get stuck on books that he’s already read). This will be great incentive for him and a good way of keeping track. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. I love the ideas of “RATS” and the “X number of pages = a book”! I’m definitely going to incorporate those into the next set of bingo cards.

  5. I’ve also used a similar thing with spelling and vocabulary activities. It is a great way to add a bit of choice and control from the kid’s point of view

  6. This is a neat idea. I love it when we can find ways to exercise a little “parental control” yet still give the kids some choices, and disguise it all as FUN!

    My older daughter goes to high school (and has done quite well after 9 yrs of homeschooling, thankyouverymuch!), and one of her teachers actually made a tic-tac-toe grid for a project assignment. He listed 9 choices in the grid, one in each square, and the students had to choose any 3 in a row to do. Looking at it, I could see that he was fairly deliberate about the placement so that the kids couldn’t pick all easy or all difficult projects and so they were doing at least one writing project.

    More ideas to add to the overstuffed “idea closet” in my brain…

  7. This is a great idea Kris – I love incentives when something is hard for the kids. Thanks for sharing, I forward your link to my homeschool group I liked it so much. πŸ™‚
    Have a great day,

  8. Love this idea! I have 2 older children. My 15 yo loves to read, but my 11 yo does not. I really would love to incorporate this into their reading especially for my 11 y.o. πŸ˜€

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