Of course, we all want our students to become readers – we want them to read way beyond the classroom, not just when they have to but also because they want to. In many ways, that is becoming more and more difficult. While the emphasis the Common Core puts on informational text will likely benefit our kids in many ways, in many classrooms it is at the expense of fiction. Large amounts of standardized testing only adds to the problem. What can we do to instill a love of reading in our students? Here are 10 suggestions.
Make your classroom a reading Mecca.
Your classroom library should be well organized, inviting, and constantly evolving. Rotate in seasonal books. Stock books that are popular with your students; grab new and interesting titles. Make book check out easy. Decorate your classroom with motivational sayings/posters about reading. Get kids excited about book orders with a scavenger hunt or other activity.
Don’t lose read aloud time, even in the upper grades.
It is really quite lovely to be read aloud to. Personally, I think my love of reading probably stems from my fourth grade teacher, Mr. Watson, who found the best books to read out loud. Two great strategies he had: He almost always picked a book in the middle of a series to read. Instead of reading us The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, he read The Voyage of the Dawn Treader to us. Of course, I had to read the rest of the series. If he wasn’t reading a book from a series, then he selected an author with many other books in print. Again, I had to have more. The other thing he did was to stop reading at a cliffhanger. We could not wait for the next day to find out what happened.
Don’t lose silent reading time.
Allow your students (especially reluctant readers) to read whatever they want, as long as it is school appropriate.
Make reading at home easy.
Don’t make reading for pleasure into extra work.
Take advantage of movies that were books first.
Use audio books to motivate reluctant readers.
Avoid competitions and rewards.
Find ways for kids to share.