This blog was originally published on May 25th, 2016. It has been updated with new content and links.
May is Get Caught Reading Month according to the National Day Calendar Website. Get Caught Reading Month can be summed up in one sentence. “All month long, wherever you go, the campaign challenges every one of all ages to get caught reading!” Even though the month-long event is over this year, we wanted to provide strategies you can use to encourage kids to read and maybe even “get caught” reading all year long.
5 Ways to Encourage Kids to Read:
- Read yourself! It sounds simple, and it is simple. If we are going to encourage kids to read, then we need to do it too. Read for pleasure, information, instruction, connection, for any reason really. Just read. And read a little more than you’ve been reading lately.
- Fill your space with books. Kids who grow up with books all around them learn to think of books as friends and allies in their pursuit of adventure and learning. Provide a variety of reading materials (magazines, manuals, books, graphic novels, etc.) on many topics and offer texts of different genres, too. Curate a library that includes books with a diversity of race, gender, socioeconomic status, disability, culture, and family composition. It’s important that each student sees reflections of themselves in the curriculum and reading materials.
- Be a good reading “role model” for your students. Let them see you reading and tell them how much you enjoy reading. Share your reading experiences with colleagues, friends, and students. Talk about what you’ve read, what you’ve gained or learned, and what you recommend. Consider personalizing a book recommendation for each child taking into account their interests, reading level, and preferences, or gifting students at the end of the year with a book you think they’d like.
- Encourage your students to find new books on their own to read. While showing your students books is a good way to build their interest, a child who finds new books on their own can benefit from an increased sense of independence. Children are more likely to read when their interests are accounted for and they have control of how and what to read so give students a choice in what they read. For example, if you plan to use a novel for a unit, choose 4 or 5 books students can choose from to meet the requirements.
- Invite students to socialize around reading. Set up opportunities for students to talk about what they are reading. Consider book clubs, reading groups, literature circles, social media opportunities, etc. They can be formal or informal in nature; reading can be fun. Many students need to interact with each other around reading material to deepen their comprehension and make connections to the content. Learning is social and socializing around reading makes literacy in the classroom much more enjoyable.
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