Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Five Ways to Foster a Love of Reading in the Classroom

Creating a passion for reading in your students is tough.  Some children enter the classroom and you can see in their face that they love to read.  However, there are other students that reading seems to be almost a burden to them.  Well, you are not alone in wanting all of your students to love reading!  In this post, I explore five ways that teachers can foster a love of reading in their students.

1.  Read Aloud Often
Many children who come into our classrooms as readers were read aloud to frequently as children.  I always say that reading comprehension instruction starts on our mother's (or father's or grandmother's) lap.  That is where we learned to enjoy books.  It is where we learned to pay attention to the story line and developed a longer attention span.  Print awareness also started during this story time.  When students do not come from print-rich environments, then we must provide this for them. In Primary classrooms, read alouds should happen multiple times each day.  Even our upper elementary students need to be read to on a daily basis as it helps them to absorb complex concepts and vocabulary.

2.  Talk About Books
A classroom where books are freely discussed helps students have better comprehension and more engagement.  Conversations around books need to be both formal and informal between students.   The discussions you have during read alouds or guided reading groups are great.  Book talks by you and your students are another way to add excitement.  When students share what they have been reading in a book talk, it creates an excitement to the reading block.  Their book recommendations are taken very seriously by their peers.  Informal sharing can be a structured sharing time where students freely discuss what they are reading with peers.  This should be modeled for students so they learn how you talk to peers about books.  Also including sharing time into your partner reading time can also yield great benefits.  Create routines in your classroom where there is time to talk about books daily.

3.  Student Choice
A classroom where students get to read something they choose every day is essential to igniting a passion for reading.  This is not to say that this is the only reading that students do because as teachers we need to expose students to just right text and different genres.  Students do need instruction on choosing books that are a good fit for them.  Students need to pick books they want to read, can read the words, and understand the text.  These conditions are what makes reading enjoyable for kids.

4.  Access to Books
In order to learn to love reading, kids need access to books.  They need a large classroom library as well as time to check out books from the school library.  Many students do not have this type of access to books at home, so being able to easily pick a book off the shelf is essential.  My own children go back to read beloved books over and over again.  This can only happen with access to books.  Create classroom procedures so students know how to checkout books and what the expectations as to how they take care of them.  Students will be much more likely to interact with your classroom library if they know the routines. Follow this link for a great article about setting up a classroom library here.

5.  Share Your Enthusiasm about Reading
Your attitude about reading truly makes a difference for kids.  Sharing your love of books and how you read, it makes such a difference with your students.  If a student does not have a parent or family member who loves to read, they have no idea how to fit reading into their life.  So read in front of kids.  Talk about the reading you do and why you read.  Make connections between what you read and the world so students can see those connections.

I hope that my five ways to foster a love of reading in the classroom were helpful. Please share your tips for building a passion for reading in your classroom.

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