As teachers, we are always in search of ways to instill excitement in our students when it comes to reading. All a student needs is to find that one book that really speaks to them. That can be just what it takes to ignite a lifelong passion for reading.
How do they find that book? And all the others that will make reading a pleasure instead of a chore?
We have to be the the gatekeepers to these wonderful books and find ways to motivate our students to want to read. Here are some tips to make that happen.
Pitch the Books
Whenever you are introducing a book to be read in class, or options for reading projects, it’s important to really sell it to your students. There are many ways to create a stir of enthusiasm for books. Many books have trailers available online. Show these to your students. Show clips from movie adaptations or play exciting passages from the audio version. The key is displaying the value of the book before students even open to the first page.
Let Students Choose Their Books
Whenever possible, build in options to the book titles available. Even if this means students are not reading the same book as a class, the ability to choose the book that attracts them will engage them and make them want to read it. Students have their own set of tastes and interests; tap into those to help ignite their passion for reading.
Run Book Clubs
Outside your in-class reading assignments, engage students’ reading enthusiasm by setting up book clubs with other students in your various classes. Have a selection of books and encourage students to meet during lunch or after school to complete group discussion assignments. The purpose of using this method is to show students that reading can be a social activity, and a way to connect with other students. Books can be their own kind of social media.
Research Beyond the Books
Are your students reading a book that takes place during The Great Depression? How about the Roaring 20’s? Puritan times? The future? No matter what the novel is, be sure to present students with ancillary content that helps them learn the context of where and when the story takes place. Assign outside research projects to help students explore beyond the narrative and have a better overall understanding of the history and societal issues presented in the work. This kind of all-inclusive learning will help show students there is more to a book than just what’s written. Everything is connected.
Turn your classroom into a constant book commercial. Cover the walls in book posters. Have books on display with short student reviews written with them. Keep the passion for books alive at all times. The more students are exposed to books, the more likely they are to take notice and curiosity will be peaked.
This is the most important one of all! You want to be a role model when it comes to loving to read. Share with your students the books you are currently reading. Tell them about the books you’ve loved. Gush about them. Your enthusiasm will inspire your students and start them on the path to be life long book lovers.