If we want our students to love reading, we must ensure it is not seen as a chore, In other words, keep it light and fun. Books should make you laugh and smile, transport you to faraway lands, and transform you into mystery solving wizards, making you feel all the feelings along the way. If we treat books like they’re magical, kids will grow up believing that too.
Here are our top tips to get your pupils on the path to becoming a book lover…
Play an audiobook to the class.
Yes, audiobooks count as reading—and they can help children do it better. Hearing someone reading a book confidently is a great way to experience fluency, which is the ability to read a text accurately, quickly, and with good expression. Borrow them at your local library, or try a free listening app such as audible.com.
Create a reading nook.
A quiet, cosy, nook, full-of-books can transport a child to wherever they want to be and bring out their creative side, more so than sitting at their desks. Making it an area where they want to hang out makes reading time even more appealing.
Read the book, then watch the movie.
Pick a classic that’s been turned into a movie – Charlotte’s Web
by E. B. White, Matilda or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, both by Roald Dahl, Gangsta Granny by David Walliams – are all great choices. Read a few chapters at a time. When you’re finished, host a movie afternoon to watch the film version. It’s a great way to motivate reluctant readers.
Read aloud, even when they don’t need it.
Children learn to read best and learn to love it most when they hear countless stories over many years in a meaningful context. Listening also gives tired readers a break.
This enhances comprehension and enjoyment. Reading is no fun if they don’t get what’s going on in the story. It’s not about quizzing, it’s about checking in. Ask which characters they like best, what they think will happen next, what they would do in that situation. If you over-focus on letters and sounds at the expense of the story, children aren’t as likely to become good readers.
Magazines are as good as books.
Magazines help teach kids that current information is valuable, they give us the opportunity to become interested in things we didn’t know we cared about. Finding a new subject is exciting, and having information in small easy to digest chunks encourages the child to read more.
Finally, we must encourage kids to share. Sharing is fundamental to the reading experience, to which any adult reader can attest. What’s the first thing you want to do when you finish a great book? Talk with someone about it! Seize onto that instinct, and show kids that what they think and that what their classmates think has real value. You can do that by taking time for students to share their questions and their opinions, too. For many children, seeing you write their question or opinion down on the board is an a-ha moment – “what I say in this classroom matters”.