Sometimes we get so caught up in getting students over hurdles to reading that the joy of reading goes out the window. And yet, the joy of reading is so important to get and keep kids reading. If you’ve ever had a reluctant or struggling reader say, “Can I read more?” you know the power of hooking a kid with the joy of reading.
How to encourage the joy of reading
I share a lot of tips for teaching phonics and those things are important. But what if your goal is to get kids excited about reading so that they want to gain those skills and read on their own? Try these three things:
Choose appealing books
One of the most important things is to choose books that appeal to the student. This can be challenging for older, struggling readers who may find easier books too babyish. Fortunately, with the right reading books, you can get readers from reluctant to ready for more.
I like using PhonicBooks. They have books for beginning readers and some great catch up reading series that have gotten some of my struggling readers eager for the next one.
Yes, you’ll need to choose books at the right level and that target the necessary skills, but also look for intriguing titles, enticing covers, and interesting plots or topics.
Read to kids
Sometimes even when kids are interested in a book, lack of confidence can keep them from wanting to try. Try reading aloud to kids. Reading aloud allows kids to simply enjoy a story. You can read to kids sometimes and just let them listen. Other times you can have them follow along as you read.
Then try reading part of a story to students and then having them read part. One great way to get kids trying is to read until a cliffhanger . . . and then ask kids to read to see what happened next. You can also decide how much each of you will read ahead of time. As student confidence grows, have them read a large portion.
Make reading special
Think about where and when you read for pleasure. I’m guessing it’s not at your desk. Maybe you like lying in a hammock with a good book or curling up on your sofa. You might even have a snack or favorite beverage while you do it. What can you do to make the reading experience feel like something your students want to do?
Maybe you set up a cozy reading corner with a beanbag chair or kids sized comfy chair. Or holding the reading group in a small circle away from the usual desks. Keep it stocked with interesting books and help students find books that they are likely to have success with.
When you read to kids, let them find a comfortable spot to listen or have Friday reading parties with a special treat while kids read and a literacy game at the end.
The goal of all these tips is to get students excited about reading and build confidence. When enjoyment and skills go together, reading takes off.
As you develop a love of reading in your students, you may enjoy sharing great reasons to read with them. Get your colorful, free 17 Reasons to Read poster to hang in the classroom.
FREE reasons to read poster
Tell me where you want me to send your free Reasons to Read Poster: