Reading in the Classroom
Most students can recall a time when
they truly enjoyed reading. For some, this was bedtime as a child,
when a parent would read them a story. For others it was when they
first learned to read and devoured books about a big red dog or by Dr.
Seuss. Others may remember a time in the not so distant past, or even
the present, but regardless of that time, we can (for the most part) be sure
that this was not when a teacher handed them a book. Sadly, English
teachers are the main cause of "turning kids off" of reading. How can
we avoid this without completely disregarding our schools' curriculums or
neglecting our desire to inspire? Below are a few tips to bring a love
of literature back into your classroom without giving up your instructional
Silva explains that in encouraging students to read it is necessary to erase
the boundaries of "teacher" and "student" or "average" and "gifted"--we are
all readers and we should be able to share that as a classroom community.
(Follow the link to learn more about these)
Literature Circles (Follow the link
to learn more about these)
Survey your kids in the
beginning of the year--find out if, what, how, and where they like to read
and you'll be a step closer to helping them love to do it.
CLASSROOM LIBRARY! This
cannot be stressed enough. As is frequently repeated, students become
better readers through reading! Do your best to keep a diverse,
ever-growing collection of books in your classroom. Encourage kids to
bring their own to share, or ask for donations from libraries, publishing
companies, or your students' families. Cheap and free books are
everywhere if you know where to look! Display your library proudly and
encourage your students to borrow books from it whenever they are looking
for something new to read. This allows students to become acquainted with a
variety of books and choose what fits them best. Also fun is to have a
separate shelf with students' favorites so students can share good books and
show off what they like.
Quiet time to read in class. This
does not have to be a daily occurrence, but be sure to give your students
time with you to read. Not every student has time or the proper
environment at home to do independent reading. Also, by providing them
time to read, you are showing them that independent reading is important
enough to "take time out" for. If possible, create a comfortable place
for your students to read (bean bag or rocking chairs, mats, pillows, etc.).
here's a way to actually encourage students to pass notes! Have
students write literary letters, either to classmates or you the teacher,
explaining something they have just read or are currently reading.
This is a way to foster intelligent discussion about literature, and have
students share great (or not so great) books with each other. Students
can write their opinions on the form, plot, or themes of the book, and hear
back from their classmate or teacher.
students to keep reading journals for the independent reading; ask them to
reflect on their thoughts about the book, author, characters, etc. Here is
where they can rate books, write about what they would like to read, or ask
questions about their reading. They can turn this in to you whenever
you require, or whenever they need something answered.
remember that reading should not be extrinsically rewarded... "The passions
aroused by stories and characters are the prize" (Atwell 17). If we
want our students to be successful independent readers, we need to make them
understand that they will not get a sticker or candy when they finish each
book, but rather the knowledge and experience that the reading will
"There isn't a
worksheet, vocabulary building exercise, discussion group, bulletin board
display, or metacognitive strategy session in sight. But there are
booktalks, read-alouds, conversations, time, silence, comfort, simple
systems of record keeping, and a classroom library that gets bigger and
bigger every year, because teachers understand that volume of reading and
enthusiasm for reading are keys, and everything else is...frill." ~Nancie