Give Students Choice
Unless you are specifically studying a text, I would not tell a student to read a book that you think they should read. A student who is not invested in reading will no suddenly care about a book that you recommend. To truly get students involved in reading, they need to read something that engages their interest.
For example, when talking to a student about their reading habits, ask them what they enjoying doing. For example, a sport. From there you have a baseline for the types of books you might like to suggest and provide as a choice to your student. Give student numerous options to choose. Students do not need to be reading narratives all the time. They can read nonfiction books about a subject, which might ignite an interest in other books. The goal, here, is to ignite curiosity and wonder. Reading should be about exploring for oneself. Once they have found an enjoyment for reading, you can start guiding them to more complex narratives. In the meantime, stick to the notion that any reading is better than no reading.
Begin a Reading challenge at school
- Provide students with a list of possible books they can read. For example, there are a number of free classic books through Project Gutenberg.
- Ask students to choose one of the books. Students will then record their name on a chart along with the book that they will read.
- Provide students with a timeline for reading the book. Perhaps it is a month, or an entire term depending on your class.
- Provide students with an overall goal and reward. For example, “if the class can read 50 books in a month than we will…”
- Have a backpack up activity to ensure that students have actually read the book rather than just saying they have.
Begin a reading challenge at home
Reading should always be enjoyed in the household. If children are surrounded by readers they will be more likely to pick up the importance of reading.To embed this love, create a reading challenge between the members of the house.
- Place a bar graph on the whiteboard of your fridge.
- The goal is to track how many books are read in, say, a month.
- Much like the classroom, there can be a reward for the most books read.
- Parents could also have their own reading circle. It does not need to be formal, but just a check in to learn about the different books being read.
For more information on how parents can promote literacy in the home, jump over to my other page.