‘It’s not enough to simply teach the children to read; we have to give them something worth reading. Something that will stretch their imaginations, something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward people whose lives are quite different from their own.’ – Katherine Patterson, children’s author.
Reading is a pleasure but it also enhances communication skills, sharpens the brain, promotes self-awareness and reduces stress. As educators, our responsibility is to motivate students to read. But how do you do that? Many children would rather play than read a book!
Here are ten ways teachers can encourage a love of reading in their students:
- Importance of reading. Show your students why it’s important to read. Reading makes anyone see the world differently and open their eyes to more realities. This encourages them to choose their own book and begin reading
- Invite an author. Try connecting with a local author and invite him or her to one of your classes. They can discuss their book and inspire students to read more or even to become authors one day
- Book club. Children feel a need to belong. By creating a book club or group, you can encourage your students to socialise and, at the same time, discuss books. A group reading activity is more enjoyable and interactive than individual reading. Let your students shine and share their thoughts about the book they’re reading
- Read the whole book before discussion. Allot some time for students to read the whole book before you discuss it. Do not take the fun out of the story by talking about the genre or plot at the beginning. After students finish reading it through, you can then go through it chapter by chapter
- Reading techniques. Reading can be hard for some students given the sheer volume of pages some books have. But it doesn’t have to be difficult. You can teach some reading techniques to help them read more effectively
- You are reading too. Lead the way by showing your students that you read for pleasure. Discuss the current book you’re reading with them and tell them how much it excited you. Students see you as a role model – by showing them enthusiasm, they are more likely to follow you
- Book series. From fantasy to adventure novels, children love a book series. Find out what your students like and ask them to read it. The good thing about a book series is that students will want to find out what happens next in the story. This should get them to read a lot more
- Choose their own books. Children are more likely to enjoy reading if you let them choose their own books. You can have a little classroom library set up so students can just pick whatever they like. Try to include a variety of genres and themes to accommodate each interest your students might have
- Disliking books. Ask your students which books they like but also, which ones they don’t. Learn why they dislike them and acknowledge their opinion. You can use this as a guide in choosing future books
- Create an e-book. Technology is a part of children’s lives nowadays, but it’s not all bad! It can be used as a tool to encourage learning. Download an app like Book Creator or eBook Magic where students can create their own books. Encourage them to submit stories to iBooks as well
How do you encourage your students to read? Share some of your tips with our readers in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.