Six Ways to Grow Your Readers
Did you know that all textbooks, are written with the assumption that you are already able to read? Creating starving, lifelong readers doesn’t just happen, it takes a schoolwide culture to help reach that goal.That might not sound like such a big deal, but it actually has far-reaching implications in terms of how teachers do their jobs and how they teach you the material they’re supposed to be teaching you. Teachers must strategize so that they teach varying levels of students rather than teaching to the middle, which is very common. Here are the six most effective ways to grow readers that love reading, improve their learning skills and creating lasting relationships!
1. Make it Enjoyable
When kids are forced to read for long periods of time, it can turn into a dreadful task. When kids enjoy what they’re reading, they tend to pick up new words more easily and remember more of what they read. As such, parents and teachers should encourage students to choose books that interest them. These are categorized as high interest books. One effective way is by allowing students to choose their own books from school libraries or bookstores. In fact, many schools have incorporated Book Character Day as an exciting way for kids get excited about reading. When students participate, they choose a character from any book they like. On these days, each student picks out a favorite character from a book and dresses up like that character. It’s fun for everyone involved! Also, when teachers take the time to read stories in the classroom that are engaging, student usually hear the modeling of expression during this time as well as have them engaged by asking questions to test their ability to listen as well as understand the story. No child is ever to old to hear story read to them! Whatever you do try to create a love for reading by making it exciting and engaging!
Other Ideas for Sparking the Enjoyment of Reading
- Invite parents as Mystery Readers
- Zoom with an Author
- Create a Book Challenge in your Classroom
- Encourage parents to include outings with the family that follow the theme of the books read in class or find a local place that reminds you of a setting in the book (museum, beach, movie theater etc.)
- Create a cozy space for reading
- Have students act out stories
2. Build Good Habits
It’s very important that students get into good reading habits as early as possible. When students develop a love for reading, they are better able to focus on their studies and excel in school. It’s best if they can read independently by fourth grade. Before then, it’s important that they spend ample time learning how to read with someone else (like their parent or teacher). That way, they can practice their skills and build confidence in what they know so far. It also helps them see that reading is something enjoyable. Establishing these skills needed for reading is vital for their future endeavors and everyday activities such as filling out forms and following written instructions.
Other Good Habits
- Have students read 15-20 a day outside of school
- Allow students to choose what media they want to read. It doesn’t matter what they read as much as it matters If they read!
- Ask parents to model reading at home by making it a habit to read different items while the student is present so that it becomes a ‘house norm.’
- When students are reading silently in class, the teacher must model how to do the same.
3. Encourage Nonfiction Reading
Many kids and adults enjoy reading, but a lot of people never branch out beyond fiction novels. And while fictional tales can definitely be entertaining, they’re also full of details that aren’t necessarily true or reflective of real life. Nonfiction books cover a much wider range of topics, giving readers a chance to learn about new things—this may make them more likely to read in the first place! If you’re working with kids, try asking them what kinds of nonfiction topics interest them. Then check out some book recommendations from your local library or bookstore. The best part? You don’t have to leave home to do it! You can browse online, request titles online or even download an app like Overdrive or SORA which allows you to download audiobooks straight onto your phone or tablet. Watch your students create more curiosity and become more voracious readers!
4. Read Alouds Work
There are many benefits to adults reading aloud to students. Here are a few of them:
Improving Cognitive Development
Reading to children has been proven to promote cognitive development. Cognitive development affects how children think, learn, and explore. Reading helps to stimulate brain function. Increased brain function is key for children to learn how to problem solve.
Reading can also improve memory function. Who wouldn’t want that? When you read a story, you can go back and discuss different events contained within the pages. Children love to re-read or hear their favorite stories. Repetition also helps them to improve expression and phrasing which also increases their Reading Comprehension skills.
Parent/Child and Teacher/Student Relationships Grow
Sharing a good story together is a wonderful way to increase the bond between parent and child just as it grows the bond with teacher and students. During read alouds, children become more engaged through the process of questioning. While in this process, the adult shares more intimate parts of themselves by using self to text responses mosti times. Also, by creating a calming nightly routine with a bedtime story, the parent sets the stage for a good night’s rest. Both relaxing and enjoyable, reading is a great way to end each day. While in the classroom, the same happens wit the teacher. In return, the student has a sense of safety that they may not have had before. Adults will find that read alouds help to grow a space for conversations that are more organic and allows the child to feel more comfortable with asking them questions in difficult situations.
Teaching the Toddler Language Skills
Reading with toddlers improves language skills. While you may not have thought you were teaching a course in Language Development, you are teaching foundations to Language Development when you read to a toddler. Listening to stories before bedtime helps toddlers and young children fall asleep with ease – which means the parents get more sleep too! That is a WIN-WIN!
MyAlbertaHealthCare suggests their are several ways language development benefits a toddler such as:
- Increasing their exposure to language. Stories that rhyme are very helpful for teaching speech and language skills and can help children discover a love of language.
- Engaging children’s imaginations, stimulating imaginative play (a primary way children learn about the world), and introducing children to things and places they may not have a chance to learn about otherwise, such as oceans or dinosaurs.
- Helping children work out their feelings about the world. Many children’s books are on topics that can open up valuable discussions between a parent and child, such as books about sibling rivalry, nightmares, or dealing with difficult emotions.
5. Planting the Seed for Rich Vocabulary
Words are the seeds and you are the sun and water for the plant when it comes to growing vocabulary. Reading helps to build a child’s vocabulary each time you introduce them to new words. Children become more familiar with words you use and gain an understanding of what they mean the more frequently they hear the word. Over time, they will not only increase their knowledge of language, but they will have better comprehension and understanding of written text. You may wonder why vocabulary is important.
Reasons Vocabulary is Important to a Child
- Vocabulary helps children to communicate their needs and feelings.
- Having stored vocabulary help students to connect to text easily
- If students don’t understand vocabulary, they will not understand what they are reading in the story
- Having vocabulary context increases fluency
Overall, Reading together has long-term effects : So start reading aloud to your student or child today! Your student or child will love it, you’ll enjoy it, and you’ll be able to strengthen your bond as well, not to mention they grow their Reading comprehension skills.
6. Student Choice, Variety and Student Engagement
It doesn’t matter how motivated your students are to read. If they aren’t interested in what they’re reading, they won’t be engaged in it. This is where providing a variety of books comes into play; allowing students to choose their own books and a variety of genres for greater student engagement. For example, if you have several fantasy novels on hand and students can only choose one to read, chances are none will get chosen because there isn’t something for everyone. Instead, by providing many options you give students control over what they read. You also show them that you trust them enough to allow them to select materials without parental permission and gauge its appropriateness themselves.
It doesn’t matter how motivated your students are to read. If they aren’t interested in what they’re reading, they won’t be engaged in it. This is where providing a variety of books comes into play; allowing students to choose their own books and a variety of genres for greater student engagement. For example, if you have several fantasy novels on hand and students can only choose one to read, chances are none will get chosen because there isn’t something for everyone. Instead, by providing many options you give students control over what they read. You also show them that you trust them enough to allow them to select materials without parental permission and gauge its appropriateness themselves. As an added bonus, providing more than one book per genre encourages collaboration among readers and promotes social skills like compromise and negotiation.
Author, Blogger, Presenter, Educator, Community Resilience Model Instructor, SEL Thought Leader, Mother, Wife & Calligraphist