For students who struggle with reading or don’t enjoy it, reading can be a chore. But we know that reading daily has lots of benefits: from improved sleep to increased vocabulary and reduced stress and greater empathy. And of course, reading helps students develop and build on their reading skills and learn other subjects.
So how do you motivate students to read daily? In your classroom create time and a positive experience around daily reading. And give students reasons to read. I’ve got 13 great reasons to read. (Plus keep reading and find out how to get a free poster with even more reasons to read for your classroom.)
13 Reasons to Read
1. It’s fun
Find the right book and your students will think it’s fun too. While children may need to read certain books for class, allow time to read anything that your kids enjoy.
2. It’s free
Visit your local library and borrow books for free. And librarians are often great at suggesting books for particular interests and reading levels.
3. You can learn new things
What topics is your child curious about? Reading is a great way to learn about any topic. When your child asks a question or gets fascinated by dinosaurs or weather or surfing, find a book. If they want to do new things like magic tricks or gardening, find a book. (And remember, there’s a lot to learn from fiction as well as nonfiction books.)
4. You can do it anywhere, at any time and in any weather
Curl up inside on a cold, rainy day with a good book. Sit under a tree on a hot summer day and read. Bring a book with you on planes or trains or cars. Carry something to read for when you are waiting for appointments.
5. You can do it with your family
Hold reading nights at home, where the TV goes off and electronics are put away, and everyone spends time reading their favorite book. Mix it up and hold family reading hour where you take turns reading to each other—even kids who are independent readers enjoy being read to. This is a great way to introduce books or stories that are above their reading level and continue to build a love of reading.
6. You can do it by yourself
One of my favorite things about reading is that you don’t have to rely on anyone else. None of your friends are home? Everyone else is busy? You can read. Looking for a little down time after a busy morning, pick up a book.
7. You can go on an adventure
Books can take you from Antarctica to the rainforest to outer space to imaginary lands. You can travel back in time or forward to the future. I have been on many an adventure right here from the comfort of my lounge.
8. You can be inspired
Have you ever read a book and then been inspired to make a change? I know students who read One Plastic Bag who were inspired to make no littering posters or to make things out of recycled materials. Or been inspired to create something new? I know kids who built model airplanes after reading about Amelia Earhart or planted gardens after reading Growing Vegetable Soup. Reading can spark great ideas.
9. It gives you something to talk about
I love talking about a good book and so does my daughter. Ask your kids about the books they read. Talk about books you read together. You can do this right after you finish a book or while you’re busy with other tasks like driving or unpacking groceries or around the dinner table.
10. It gives you funny jokes to tell
All kids love to tell jokes and try to make you laugh. You may not think of joke books as reading, but kids are reading when they read these books. (Bonus, reluctant readers may not think of it as reading either.) While you may not want a steady diet of joke books or comic books, think of all reading as part of the mix.
11. It can spark your curiosity
Being curious encourages kids to question what they’ve read and can open up new possibilities. This kind of curiosity may encourage kids to try or make new things. It may also spark questions that lead to searching out new books — and more reading!
12. Helps take your mind off your problems
Reading can be a great escape. While kids (and adults) need to know how to face and deal with challenges, sometimes it’s nice to take a break from them. And reading can help you to relax so that you can solve your problems.
13. It feeds your imagination
Reading requires us to use our imagination to picture what we are reading about. Have your kids read a book that has been made into a movie. Then see the movie. How did the movie match up to their imagination? (It usually doesn’t match to my mind, but that comparison and contrast makes for lively conversation.) Beyond that, reading shows up possibilities and encourages us to imagine possibilities of our own.
These are some of my favorite reasons to read. What would you (or your students) add to the list?
Free Reasons to Read Poster
Get your reasons to read poster to use as a reminder and motivator in your classroom. It includes these 13 + four bonus reasons. Just fill in the form below.