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Home » Blog » Literacy » Camp Read-a-Lot
Written by: Angie Olson
Transform your classroom with a sheet, some flashlights, and a fake fire from YouTube. Watch your students get excited about a day of reading!
Our classroom was transformed into Camp Read-a-Lot today and although I’m tired, I just have to share with you what we did today. I have done Camp Read-a-Lot on Read Across America Day, at the end of a grading period, and at the end of the school year. 
 
If you are thinking, “This seems like a lot of work”…let me show you how you can do this on a low budget and a little bit of creativity!
 
 

Starting the Day

Camp Read-a-Lot poster that greets the students at the door in the morning.
To get started, I put this sign on our classroom door to greet the students.  I did lock my door so that I didn’t have kiddos trying to peek in…and to create some hype and excitement.  I will admit it was fun to listen to my students read the poster aloud and squeal with excitement as they started to guess what our room was going to look like!
 

Camping Warm Ups

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Camping-in-the-Classroom-Pack-1140478

When my kids walked into the classroom, they came to the rug and worked with their turn and teach partner to complete the camping warm up page.  I told them this was something that would get their brains warmed up and ready to work!  In actuality, I needed to buy some time to take attendance, read parent notes, stamp BEE binders, check for reading homework minutes, etc.  You know, the regular morning routine that teachers have to go through to get the day rolling.  That being said, this was the perfect starter to our day and it served as a great review of some of the math concepts we have learned thus far.

Rules and Guidelines

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Camping-in-the-Classroom-Pack-1140478

After we went through the Camping Warm Ups, I went through the Rules and Guidelines of Camp Read-a-Lot.  They took this very seriously!  Side note-I did have a few desks and chairs that weren’t set up in a camp site and told the kids that if anybody couldn’t follow these rules, they would have to sit at these spots.  I am happy to say, nobody went there today.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Camping-in-the-Classroom-Pack-1140478

Camp Set Up

I want to include these pictures of my classroom, not because they are anything great but more because I want you to see how simple your “campsites” can be.  I purchased some inexpensive sheets to hang across counter spaces, over desks, over tables, etc.  I also had one tent and some rugs laying around the room.  In total, I had seven different campsites.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Camping-in-the-Classroom-Pack-1140478
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Camping-in-the-Classroom-Pack-1140478
I am a firm believer that the more organized and structured you can be up front, the more smoothly your day will run.  Besides posting and going through the guidelines and rules for the day, we also have a book sign up list on the board.  Our school uses Accelerated Reader but this wouldn’t be necessary.  We set a goal of reading 100 books by the end of the day.  Once a student finished a book and took an AR quiz, they would write their name on the board.  Each student was given a goal of reading at least 4 books by the end of the day.  This was an important accountability piece for my students and kept them all focused and reading whenever they had the chance!
 
We use a Camp Read-a-Lot book sign up list to keep the kids accountable and on task throughout the day.

Camp Schedule

Let me try to briefly explain how this all played out.  3 students in each campsite, 7 campsites, 15 minutes at each, each campsite had a task to complete. 

  • 3 of the campsites required read to self time with the option to do an AR quiz on an iPad
  • 1 campsite had QR code camping stories
  • 2 campsites had some camping task cards to complete
  • 1 campsite had reading bookmarks. 

The way that I told my students to rotate would have them in a campsite that required reading and then switching to a task card or bookmark campsite.  I told them when to transition and to where.  I did mini lessons between some of the transitions.  We also used Go Noodle to help with “the wiggles”.  We did this off and on throughout the day because we had a schedule to work around that included math and reading intervention groups, lunch/recess, and gym/music. 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Camping-in-the-Classroom-Pack-1140478
 

I also want to mention that all of my students’ work and papers were kept on a clipboard that they were given at the start of the day when they did their Camping Warm Ups.  A Campsite Checklist was also kept on the clipboard as a way for the students to visually see how many more campsites they had left to complete…kind of like a visual schedule if you will.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Camping-in-the-Classroom-Pack-1140478

I did assign each person to a group to be in for the day.  It ended up working out that there were 3 people in each group.  I placed them in each campsite for about 15 minutes at a time.  Scroll through the following photos to see some of the activities my students completed.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Camping-in-the-Classroom-Pack-1140478
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Camping-in-the-Classroom-Pack-1140478
 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Camping-in-the-Classroom-Pack-1140478
 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Camping-in-the-Classroom-Pack-1140478

Another way to make the day feel different and special is by adding a little sound and ambiance.  The kids love this.  If you have a smart board or projector, play one of the videos below for a nice bonfire or summer evening feel.  Best of all, no prep or cost!

 

 
A fun element that we add to the day are flashlights.  I do send a letter home to the parents requesting that their child bring something to drink as well as a flashlight if they have one.  I also order finger lights off Amazon for our big day.  Like I said, we do Camp Read-a-Lot several times throughout the year and this pack of 40 finger lights last us the entire year.  That being said, I did have some problems with some of the finger lights not working but with the size of the pack, we were able to get by all year and they were very affordable.  Here is my affiliate link if you’re interested in purchasing them for your classroom.
 
 

Camp Snack

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Camping-in-the-Classroom-Pack-1140478

We took a few minutes to stop for a snack break today as well and my students LOVED making the mini s’mores…they were definitely a hit! Download my snack note free right HERE.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Camping-in-the-Classroom-Pack-1140478

Ending the Day

At the end of the day my students each received a certificate of completion along with a brag tag to add to their necklace collection.  They earned it!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Camping-in-the-Classroom-Pack-1140478
 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Camping-in-the-Classroom-Pack-1140478

I have included all of the activities that you’ve seen in this post into one product that I have titled Camping in the Classroom.

BONUS DOWNLOAD: Use these QR Code Camping Stories as another Camp Read A Lot Activity! Each camping story is linked to the You Tube video which is shared through Safe Share TV.  Please check with your IT department to ensure that Safeshare is not blocked or the QR codes will not work.  You can download this file for free here!  Enjoy!

Feel free to use the image below to pin this post to your Pinterest board for future planning or click here to take you directly to the pin on Pinterest.
 

Camp Read A Lot Image Gallery

Camp Read A Lot is growing like wildfire in 2nd grade classrooms across the world! Since publishing this post, teachers have shared so many pictures and ideas for how they are bring camping in the classroom to their students! Take a look at a few photos below, and consider joining our Facebook group for more ideas!

 
Hours of reading, camping themed stations, camping snack, and tons of fun! The kids LOVE Camp Read-a-Lot. We try to do this at the end of every grading period. The students are engaged in camping themed literacy activities all day!

28 Comments

  1. kacie

    This really and truly looks absolutely amazing!! It is a true inspiration to me!! I just put it in my cart to purchase tomorrow morning!! Thank you for taking the time to give such a detailed description of your awesome day and ideas!! Your kiddos are very lucky to have you as a teacher!! I cannot wait to put this together and implement in my classroom at the end of this marking period!!! Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Angie Olson

      Thanks for your feedback Kacie! It really is such a fun day to host! I'm glad you got some ideas from my post and I look forward to you doing this at the end of the grading period! I hope your kids love it!

      Reply
      • Leslie

        Oh my gosh, how fun! Thank you for sharing, and so many great ideas.
        Thank you,
        Leslie

        Reply
  2. Miss Trayers

    What a memorable day for the kiddos! It looked like they really had fun and probably didn't even realize they were still learning! 🙂

    Not Just Child's Play

    Reply
    • Angie Olson

      Awesome to hear, Miss Trayers! Thank you for that feedback!

      Reply
  3. Sunny Brown

    This is so well thought out and fun! I am so impressed with all of the activities and all of the colorful ways you have developed the camp sites! I can tell that all of your campers had a wonderful time at camp! What Fun!

    Reply
  4. afirstforeverything

    This is just absolutely adorable! I love it! I just bought it! Great work, Angie!

    Reply
  5. Sarah Young

    This is so fabulous! I think this would be great to do right before testing as a calm way to review with students! LOVE this idea. You are amazing! I am going to have to snag this packet and start brainstorming ways to turn my classroom into a campsite!

    -Sarah
    A Rocky Top Teacher

    Reply
  6. Becky L

    I just purchased this pack on TPT and am so very excited to get set up for Read Across America! Thank you for all the fantastic products!

    Reply
  7. Karen F

    Looks like so much fun!! Thank you for sharing… My class this year dislikes reading a lot sooo maybe next year 🙂
    Karen

    Reply
  8. Kelli Thompson

    Our 2nd grade team is doing this! (5 classrooms)THANK YOU SO MUCH! We live in a small, rural, farming community and so this outdoor theme is PERFECT!

    Reply
  9. Pam Bohuslav

    I am so excited!!! I have been planning since last week after getting your packet and seeing your layout. It’s going to be such a fun and learning filled day that they and I will always remember. Thank you for sharing your gifts of wonderful creative teaching ideas!! Can’t wait until Thursday!!!! Campout fun!

    Reply
  10. Nova

    Bought this and tried it out last Friday! They loved it!! I didn’t really have the space for stations, so I adapted the day for our class. Everyone thought I was a super teacher, but I told them you deserve all the credit! The only thing I deserve praise for is actually following through! haha! THANK YOU, Angie!!

    Reply
  11. curlyjen

    Looking to use some of your resources for our camp write a long and I saw the QR code camping read alouds. Is that still available somewhere? I couldn’t find it in the freebies resources. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Angie Olson

      Hi Jen!

      I do have a camp read a lot set available for purchase in my shop, I have placed the link below for you if that is something you are interested in! Thank you!
      http://bit.ly/2O73TBv

      Angie Olson
      Lucky Little Learners

      Reply
  12. deback88

    Hello!

    I know this post was from 2015, but I was wondering if you’d still be able to share the camp read aloud QR code with me? Didn’t see it in the freebies.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Angie Olson

      Hi there!

      The QR code for the camp read aloud is not available right now. However I do send out freebies quite frequently so I would advise signing up for my emails through my website luckylittlelearners.com. I also have a camp package available for purchase through TpT and have placed the link below in case that is something that interests you! Thanks for reaching out and have a great week!

      http://bit.ly/2O73TBv

      Angie Olson
      Lucky Little Learners

      Reply
  13. edivaput

    Am I missing where the QR code freebie is? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Angie Olson

      Hey there! You can email me at angie@luckylittlelearners.com to receive the freebie.

      Angie Olson
      Lucky Little Learners

      Reply
  14. JoAnne McCarty

    I love this idea. I am purchasing the resource now and going to figure out how & when I can implement in into my 1st grade classroom.

    I know my kids will love this. I also just purchased some books for “tow voices”. Going to see if I can fit in a partner read camp center if there isn’t already one.

    Reply
  15. Suzanne

    My students absolutely loved this! Thanks for the wonderful kit and all the pictures!

    Reply
  16. Angela Leslie

    I just bought the Camp Read A Lot pack from TPT.

    Could you send the template for the individual student names to place on the tents?

    I did not see it in the bundle.

    Reply
    • Bailey Jordan

      Hi Angela!
      The name signs were actually something that, that teacher had added on her own. I think they would be fairly easy to make if you just put a “campy” font on a woodgrain background. 🙂 I hope this helps!

      Bailey J.
      Lucky Little Learners

      Reply
  17. Heidi Decker

    The original post for camp read a lot was years ago, but I am just finding it and am so excited. I’m a mom of six kids and no I don’t home school but I’m always looking for ways to keep summer fun. I am looking forward to tweaking this for a fun family read-a-thon! Thanks for all the inspiration!

    Reply
    • Jess Dalrymple

      Heidi, thank you for sharing this! What a great idea!

      Reply
  18. Angie

    Hi Angie,

    I am a first year teacher and LOVE this idea!! Do you think I could easily adapt for 1st grade?

    Reply
    • Jess Dalrymple

      Hello Angie, Thank you for your message! We have lots of 1st grade teachers tell us they set up Camp Read a Lot in their classrooms with success! Your students will love it!

      Reply

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  1. Camp Reads-A-Lot – Iwanicki Mom & Daughter Adventures in Teaching - […] gotten periodic emails about things she does in her classroom, and when I got the email blast about Camp…

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Welcome, I’m Angie!

Hello there! I’m Angie Olson- a teacher, curriculum developer, educational blogger and owner of Lucky Little Learners.

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