“Harness Up!” Reading Stamina: August Lesson Plan

When was the last time you got completely lost in a book? I confess—for me that was yesterday. I love to read! I recharge by being alone and quiet, so I grew up filling my quiet time with amazing texts describing travel, adventure, and wonderful characters.

As we enter the fall training period for young sled dogs, mushers start training their new pups. Jeff and KattiJo Deeter recently posted a cute video of taking very young sled dog puppies out on a training walk—check it out here! In the first few weeks, mushers train their puppies to follow and enjoy social time, but in the coming months they are intentionally training the puppies for focus and endurance.

Puppies out for a training walk. Photo: Terrie Hanke

Education emphasizes literacy and comprehension as important components of reading, both critical to a student’s success. Research points out that another vital component of literacy is often overlooked: stamina. Teachers can train students for reading stamina just like mushers train their sled dogs—start with short intervals, then build up to longer and longer amounts of time. 

After all, you don’t complete a 1,000-mile race, or a three-hundred-page novel, without stamina.

Iditarod Education has a wonderful list of sled dog books for you to get started with. I’ve included a list of my personal favorites in the lesson plan, too, which you will be hearing more about in future posts. I also created printable resources for you to use with students in whatever way best fits your curriculum. I included anchor chart examples of what readers with stamina look like, so your students know what they are training for. 

Buddy reading is a great way to build stamina together. Photo: K. Newmyer

This lesson underscores the importance of having a purpose for reading, just as the nearly 1,000-mile Iditarod race is the important end goal for sled dog puppy training. 

Teachers at all levels and content areas will be able to use this lesson. For the full lesson plan, click this link: Lesson Plan TOTT August.

As always, if you have suggestions or want to share your favorite success stories, please email me at emailtheteacher@iditarod.com