Friday, August 10, 2018

10 Ways to Get Kids Reading

Have you ever wondered how to keep kids interested in reading.  Here are a few ideas to help you make reading a wonderland in your classroom!

1. Comfortable Seating

Where is your favorite place to read at home? Chance are you aren't going to mention a hard metal chair...but that's what most of the seating is in a typical classroom.  But we want kids to WANT to read, right? So the first thing you need to do is offer some cushy, comfortable places for them to relax.  Maybe you have an old couch you could tuck in the corner of your classroom or a couple of bean bag chairs How about some big pillows.  Add a few simple places like this in your classroom so that kids can stretch out and really get comfy while reading their favorite book.

2. Interesting Books

How is the selection of books in your classroom library? Do you have enough books at many levels so that every child can pick something good to read?  If you want the students in your classroom to read, you need to have a great selection of books for them to choose from.  But what if your budget doesn't allow for that? Take a visit to your school or public library.  You can check out a huge box of books - for free - and let kids browse through those.  After a week or so, return them and get new books.

It's important to keep the books fresh and new.  Try having a box of books that's just for the holidays and change it out every month.  Offer some fun pop up books.  Kids LOVE those!

3. Cozy Nooks

Do you remember when you were a kid and your mom would make a fort out of blankets? I would crawl in there and read for hours! Kids in your classroom will do the same thing.  You can make fun little cozy areas in your classroom simply by throwing a sheet over a table or squeezing some pillows between a couple of filing cabinets.  Maybe you have a kids teepee or small tent you could put in a corner of your room? Head to your local appliance store and ask them to save you an old refrigerator box.  Cut a hole in the side and you have an instant fort that didn't cost you a dime.  I guarantee, the kids in your room will love it!

4. Flashlight Friday

One of my students favorite times to read is Flashlight Friday.  Pick up some cheap flashlights at your local department store (or have kids bring in their own), turn out all the lights and let your students read with a flashlight.  How fun is that? Guaranteed you won't hear a peep in the room....except pages turning.

5. Read With Technology

Although, in my opinion, there's no substitute for a real book, occasionally it's fun to let your students read books on tablets or computers.  Kids love any kind of technology.  Show them that they can read books on tablets too!

6. Fireside Reading

Ok, you're probably wondering what classroom has a fireplace? Well chances are, unless you are a student in the 1800's, no classrooms today have a fireplace.  But most of us have some kind of smart board or interactive board in our classrooms.  So how about a digital fireplace.  Head on over to  YouTube and you can find all kinds of tranquil scenes to project onto your board.  Your students will love the peaceful atmosphere of a crackling fireplace or a babbling brook.

7. Give Your Students Variety

Books are great, but if you really want your kids to be interested in all kinds of reading you need to offer them many types of things to read.  Have a basket of children's magazines like Ladybug or National Geographic Kids.  Kids love poetry too.  A basket of poems with cute pointers can make reading more fun.  Another great option are big books.  There's just something about putting a huge book on a chart stand and reading it with a pointer that makes it way more interesting.  Suddenly you have kids engaged in reading!

8. Get Out Of Your Classroom

If you want kids to really be engaged, get them out of your classroom once in a while.  Take them to your building library and let them sit among the stacks and read.  If it's a beautiful day, let them take a few books outside and lay in the grass and read.  Sometimes a change of scenery is all it takes to get kids excited about reading.

9. Buddy Reading

Enlist the help of some older students in your building or even high school kids.  Have them come and read with your class.  Students look up to those older kids and it gives the big kids a chance to shine.  Get together with another teacher of older students and arrange for a regular weekly or monthly buddy reading date. Your students will look forward to this special visit.

10. Celebrity Reader

Do you have a connection to any celebrities? Chances are the answer to that is no, but how about a local celebrity? Maybe you have a news anchor for your local news station that would be willing to come in and read to your students.  How about the mayor of your city? Or even your superintendent of schools? Reach out to people in your community or even bigger names and see if they might be willing to come in a read a story or two for your class. Having a celebrity reader is a great way to connect with kids and your students will be thrilled! 

I like to keep track of my students books with monthly reading logs. I send them home in their weekly homework folder and students write or color the books that they have read each week.  

This set includes 45 reading logs for each month and an all purpose log for any time.  There are three different versions.  
~ There is the simple style with space for only the title of the book.  This is perfect for kindergarten or beginning first grade students.  
~ There is also a log that includes space for the date, minutes read and the title of each book, which is great for elementary  students of all ages. 
~ There is also a coloring version where students color in a picture for each book read. Want to try it with your students? Grab the September logs here for free!