Our class has been working very hard at building stamina in Read to Self, Work on Writing, and Read to Someone since the first day of school.
My students actually cheer for Read to Self time! Our school district did not renew our AR subscription this school year. To me, this is a blessing in disguise. Instead of my students reading through books quickly in order to take a test to earn points. Now, my students are choosing books that interest them (I-PICK!) and we are creating a love of reading.
As for Word Work, it is not my favorite. Our grade level does not have a strict spelling curriculum. We study spelling patterns and our prefixes/suffixes. But we do have 10 vocabulary words each week. I would like to make Word Work fast (and maybe a little boring) so students move onto Read to Self or Work on Writing. My plan is to have a repetitious Word Work assignment: Students write the word (or maybe just 6 of the 10), draw a picture showing the definition, and students write a sentence using the word. This will reinforce their learning of each vocabulary word, but will get them back to reading and writing quickly.
This is how we practiced our vocabulary today: back-to-back with partners, one partner facing the words & definitions and the other partner facing our back wall. The partner facing the words chooses one word to give to their partner that they need to define. Then they switched places. It was a fun, quick way to study our words!