Reading is extremely important as it allows individuals to escape into their imagination and tap into their creativity. Furthermore, taking a break to read can help with stress levels, build vocabulary, fluency, and increase knowledge.
According to the fifth edition of the Kids & Family Reading Report™ (a national survey of children ages 6–17 and their parents, released in January 2015) only half of all children (51%) ages 6–17 are currently reading a book for fun and only one in five (20%) have just finished one.
Following these statistics, it’s clear that multi-tasking, skim reading, and scouring the web for multiple bits of information has taken over the simple art of reading, so here are 10 ways you can encourage your students to start reading and fall back in love with books:
Partner with parents – Encourage parents to read and share their experiences and favourite books with their children. Support them by informing them of school and local library hours and the resources available at both.
Host a mystery book check out day – Wrap selected books in paper and encourage students to check out a mystery book. They can then unwrap to reveal their selection. This is a fun way to get students to venture out, try different genres and to make reading exciting.
Set aside time for independent reading – At the start of class or at the end, set aside a minimum of 10 minutes for students to read alone. This could be a subtle way to prompt a student to discover their love of reading.
Showcase of writing – Ask students to submit a piece of creative writing and showcase their work. It is a simple yet fun way to encourage reading and creativity and it will also give you an insight into your students interests, allowing you to relate to them more.
Donations from local book stores – Meet with local book sellers and ask whether they have any books they are willing to donate to the school.
Create attractive displays of books – Display books in the classroom and around the school in interesting and innovative ways. This book bunting for example or if you have time, a themed display. Each week students can be asked to recommend their favourite books and for the following week they can be displayed around school, offering pupils variety.
Host a read-in – This could include parents, students, and teachers. Set it up in the hall with pillows and snacks and tell students to dress comfortablly. They can read alone, or in big groups. Students can also pick one book and they could take turns reading aloud in the hall and then discussing afterwards.
Share reading experiences – Share your first experiences of books, for example, what book it was and how it made you feel. If you connect with a student on a more personal level it is more likely they will pick up a book and read.
A field trip – Take a trip to the local library. Show students how to fully utilise a library and explain why they can be fun places to visit. Tell them each to pick out a book they would be willing to read and then set homework around said book.