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5 Teaching Strategies to Get Kids Hooked on Reading

Janelle Cox

As educators, we are always looking for teaching strategies to foster a love of reading in our students. We know that the benefits are amazing; however, the students may not feel the same way.

Once students get into the older elementary grades, many of them cringe at the notion that they have to read. This unenthusiastic response from children may be from all of the preparation of state assessments. As necessary as all of the preparation may be, it is understandable that many children steer away from reading at home for pleasure. If you have observed your students retreating from the idea that reading is anything but pleasant, you must try a few of the following teaching strategies.

  1. Teaching Strategies: Let Students Choose Their Own Books – Allow students to select the books that they enjoy. Make sure you have a variety of different genres and themes in your classroom library for students to choose from. This will help students feel in control of their own learning. Studies have shown that when students choose their own books, it will boost their reading ability. Set aside about 20 minutes of class time each day for independent reading. By preserving this time, it will allow students to take a break from the everyday classroom chaos and refocus their energy. This independent reading time will show your students how much you value reading.
  2. Create Peer Reading Days – Many teachers promote independent reading in their classrooms. As an end-of-the-week reward, try creating a peer reading day. Every Friday, instead of having the students read independently for 20 to 30 minutes, let students choose a classmate to read to instead. You can even buddy up with another classroom and have the older students read to the younger students. Buddy reading has been known to build student confidence and cognitive skills. It has also been said to help young students read and write better. Buddy reading makes learning more fun, and children look forward it.
  3. Invite an Author to School – A great way to promote a love of a reading is to invite an author to your classroom to discuss their book. This wonderful treat gives students an inside look into what it’s like to write a book and be an author. It also gives them a broader perspective of books beyond their textbooks. This may be just the thing to impact your students and inspire them to read or even be an author themselves someday.
  4. Utilize Technology - Children love technology, and there is nothing better than using technology to get students hooked on reading.  Download apps for your classroom iPad like the “Book Creator” or “eBook Magic” and have students create their own book. Students will love creating and sharing their books with their classmates. They can even submit their stories for to the iBooks app for public review. Technology makes everything more fun, especially for the students who struggle with reading for pleasure.
  5. Let Students See Your Love of Reading – If you are going to encourage your students to read, then it’s important that students see you read. Instead of grading papers when students are reading independently, read a book. Talk about the book that you are reading with them, and how you cannot wait to read before you go to bed. Tell them your experiences with books and why you love to read them. Discuss how books have a calming and revitalizing effect, and how they can help take all the stress away. You are a role model and your words and actions can have a huge impact on if a student will have a love for reading or not.

It’s important to help students understand the value in reading. Give them the solid facts of why it is important for them to read. Sometimes just knowing the facts can encourage a child to want to read more. Students need encouragement in order to develop the skills and habits to be an avid reader. By equipping them with these tools, they can and will find a love of reading.

Teachers, how do you get your students hooked on reading? Share with us in the comment section below. We would love to hear your thoughts.

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Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.