Every teacher knows that it’s important for our students to become good readers. We should all aim to get students to read for pleasure. Even if reading isn’t your favorite thing to teach, I’m sure you’ll agree that good reading habits are essential for academic success.
But our students don’t always see the importance of reading. Some even hate reading and refuse to do it unless they’re forced. This makes teaching reading even more challenging. That’s where your job as the teacher is important. You can help them see the value in reading and even show them how reading can be fun! If you can get your students to read for pleasure, you will see an increase in their reading skills.
Here’s some suggestions for you to get your students to read for pleasure!
Introduce them to a wide range off genres, authors, and topics.
Sometimes students don’t like reading because they’ve never read a book that peaks their interests. The only books they’ve read are the ones they are required to read in class. If they can find a book that speaks to their interests, they are more likely to read for pleasure. Here’s my suggestion, have more conversations with your students. Learn what they like, what they don’t like, what they care about, what they value, etc. Then use that to help them find books that might interest them. The library is your friend. So is Google. Use it.
Give them opportunities to read for pleasure instead of reading for a grade.
When students read only for a grade it becomes a task, rather than something they do for enjoyment. Sometimes it’s nice just to enjoy a good book and not have to worry about comprehension questions, vocabulary work, quizzes, or tests. Also, please refrain from using reading as a punishment.
Model reading for pleasure.
In my school there’s a sign outside of every staff members door stating what they’re reading. Regardless of what our job is, principal, counselor, teacher, or nurse, our students see us as readers. You can also refer to books you’ve read in your daily interactions with students.
Start a book club.
Allow students to choose what to read and take ownership in how the book club is ran. This is a great opportunity for students with like interests to come together and enjoy a book. They can decide how much they want to read each day, what the discussions should look like, and what role each person will play. After reading, they can work together on some type of project or presentation surrounding the book.
Allow more student choice and validate that choice.
Students’ interests won’t always match our interests, yet many teachers choose to teach with books they like. I know I’ve been guilty of this. We have to be careful not to just present them with the kind of books we love to read. Understand they have their own interests and that’s ok. If they love soccer, there’s plenty of fiction and nonfiction books about soccer.
Getting students to read inside and outside the classroom has many benefits. They become better readers, they learn more about a variety of topics, their vocabulary will increase, and they will learn how reading isn’t just for school. Reading will open doors for our students, we just need to have the tools to help them get to the door.