As teachers, we know that 'being a reader' has lifelong benefits, but sometimes getting students to love to read is not as easy at it sounds.
Some students have a hard time finding books or authors that peek their interest. Exposing them to different books is key in helping them find authors, series, or genres they like. It's also just as important to provide windows of time where they actually have time to read for pleasure.
This may sound like a time consuming task, but it doesn't have to be. Here are a few ideas that you can implement in your classroom to help promote the love of reading in your classroom starting this week.
First Chapter Friday is a quick and easy way to get students excited about a variety of books. (Although this catchy title suggests it be done on a Friday, any day of the week works just as well.)
First Chapter Friday is a way to give students a sneak peek at a chapter book in hopes to entice them to want to continue reading it on their own.
You start off by finding a selection of books with captivating first chapters and read one aloud to the class each First Chapter Friday.
After reading the first chapter, allow the students to check out the book. It is helpful to have more than one copy of the book, but if you don't, you can raffle off the "first read" to one student. Then, just set up a signup sheet for the rest of the interested readers. Display this sheet in the classroom to keep the title in the forefront of students' minds.
Book Ideas for First Chapter Fridays:
- Newly released books or books recently added to the classroom
- The first book in a series
- Student recommendations
Some Suggested Titles to Start With:
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
- Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
- Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
This is definitely one of my go to activities because it literally takes no planning at all. All you do is have students take out their current read, or give them a few minutes at the classroom library to grab a book to read, and you're set. Set the class timer to about 20 minutes, and let the students read.
Some activities you can incorporate during D.E.A.R. time are:
- Flashlight Friday: Close the window blinds, and turn of the lights. Give each student a flashlight, and you're ready. (You can purchase or have donated a set of flashlights like the ones found here.)
- Fireplace Reading: Go on to YouTube and find a crackling fireplace to display on the board while the students read.
- Outdoor Reading: Have students grab their current read and take it outside. Late Spring and early Fall are a great time for this activity depending where you live. If you plan ahead and want the students to have some anticipation, ask them to bring towels or blankets to school on a certain day.
Hosting a book tasting in your classroom is another engaging way to expose your students to a variety of genres. Although they take a little more planning, they are a fun and powerful way to introduce students to new books and authors that they may not otherwise have exposure to on their own.
To read more how I set book bites in my classroom, click here.
Nothing beats the book recommendation of a peer. In our classroom, we have ongoing 'book logs' on a bulletin board where students keep their current read and their book recommendations.
When students aren't sure what they'd like to read next, they head on over to the board and glance at the different suggestions. Occasionally, I have students come up to the board and discuss their "4 Star Book Recommendation" in order to give other readers ideas of books they might find interesting.
Buddy reading is a research-based fluency strategy that has additional benefits. Buddy reading is another way to get students motivated about reading. Whether it's looking for a book a younger reader might like and practicing how to use it as a read aloud with them, or finding a peer to read the same book with, they each give students a fun purpose for reading.
Last, but definitely not least, are book trailers. Book trailers are usually just a few minutes long, and just like a movie trailer, they add suspense and intrigue which motivate students to possibly want to read the book.
Many book trailers are created by students, so I encourage you to first watch them before showing them. However, here I am highlighting some of the official book trailers I found online that you may want to share with your students.
Each book trailer was found on YouTube, but I am also linking them through SafeYouTube.net in order to avoid any inappropriate suggestions from popping up on the screen while you show the book trailers to your students.
Official Book Trailer Suggestions:
- Crenshaw by K. A. Applegate
- The School for Good and Evil by Woman Chainani
- Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
- The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
- The One and Only Ivan by K. A. Applegate
- WishTree by Katherine Applegate
- Guts by Raina Telgemeier
Besides the ideas listed above, allowing your students to go to the media center, allowing them to see you reading as well, and initiating conversations with them about books you have read while you are walking to lunch or recess are also great ways to get them motivated to read. Find out their interests, and help guide them toward books they might like.