Extreme Reading is an increasingly popular technique, more of a gimmick really, for trying to encourage children to read in schools.


Our Year Four children took part in an extreme reading challenge at the beginning of the academic year. A school in our local area ran an extreme reading competition to celebrate world book day this year.

Extreme reading is not quite as exciting as it sounds, unless the children who you are asking to participate in it have particularly fertile imaginations and parents who are willing to allow them to flout health and safety regulations.

In a nutshell, you ask the children involved to bring photographs of themselves reading in an unusual situation. In year four, the teacher made a big collage of all the children’s photographs to decorate the book corner with. If you were running this as a competition however, you would award prizes to the most innovative and ‘extreme’ readers.

It can be quite fun to do this, and the children do seem to enjoy it. The year four children had this set as homework, but it was not a compulsory element. Despite this, all the children were happy to take part, which is a good indicator that the children were enthusiastic and motivated.

It would make a good ice breaker for a new class at the beginning of the academic year. It is not, however going to sustain their interest in reading, and it would be interesting to build on this and extend it as an activity throughout the year. You could think of different topics for them respond to, perhaps: things like ‘reading under the sea’, ‘the best library in the world,’ etc.

You could send home a book, like the early years children often get sent home with a soft toy. Usually the children are given two diary pages to fill in of things they did with the toy over the weekend they have been allowed to take it home. You could have a class book, get each child to take it home and diarise their experience of having the book over the time, but also get them to tell the story of the part of the book they have read to the other children when they get back on Monday. By the time the whole class has read the book they should have built the story between them.