For 20 and 30-something adults in America, BOOK-IT! is synonymous with buttons and pizza. The program, which was started in 1984, used the lure of pizza to get kids reading. Throughout the 1980s and 90s, kids in classrooms all over the country were given 3-inch BOOK IT! buttons to use as a sort of reading log– for each book read, students got a star sticker to place on their button. Once all the stars were stickered, they could redeem the button for a pizza!
While BOOK-IT! is still around (and still giving out pizza), the buttons, unfortunately, are no longer part of the program. But using a button/sticker combo to motivate and track students’ reading progress is still as exciting as it was back in the 80s. To start a BOOK-IT-inspired reading project of your own, all you need are a few buttons, a few stickers, and a few eager readers! Read on for ideas on running a button reading log project of your own.
Since you’ll be using these buttons to track students’ program, make sure the design includes icons where students can place the stickers they earn. We recommend larger sizes– 2.25″ (as in the examples pictured) or 3″– to allow space for a design in the center of the button and stickers around the outer edge.
While the official BOOK-IT! buttons had only five stars, you can include as many as you’d like. Tailor the number of icons for what’s appropriate for the readers you’ll be working with– fewer for early readers, more for tweens and teens– and the length of your program. More star icons encourage more reading!
And your icons don’t even have to be stars— match the design to whatever stickers you’d like to use. We found these fun smiley face stickers, which would appeal to early elementary age readers. The design pictured below includes circle icons to match the round smileys.
You could get even more creative and match the design and stickers to your library’s summer reading theme. Space stickers, beach stickers, spy stickers, the possibilities are endless!
Using a button to log their reading achievement allows students to take ownership of their learning. For younger readers, wearing the button shows off pride in what they’ve accomplished, and makes achievement something students can support each other in. And for older students, the button still serves as motivation to finish the challenge. For any age group, using a button to track reading progress gives students a tangible reminder of what they’ve achieved.
While BOOK-IT used pizza to reward achievement, there are any number of ways you can reward students for a completed reading button. Maybe buttons only go home with students once they’ve been filled, so the stickered pinback itself becomes the reward. If your program has the budget for it, rewards could range from small toys or a gift certificate. Maybe even pizzza, if you have a local restaurant willing to partner in the program.
However you structure it, buttons are a great way to motivate students, and make reading achievement cool!