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Fostering Engagement in Reading

Looking for ideas for fostering engagement in reading?

Use this collection of ideas to help your students develop an interest in reading.

These suggestions have been gathered and created by The Curriculum Corner for teachers and homeschool families.

Fostering Engagement in Reading

The Why

One of my biggest struggles I had as I returned to the classroom this year was reading engagement.

I wanted to have a classroom of students who loved to read.

From the first day of school, I had students telling me they hated reading. They would say reading is boring. They would sneak games on their iPads instead of reading digital books on line.

It was a constant struggle.

I won’t claim to have solved all of these challenges in my sixth grade classroom. I will say that I found ideas that helped. I also found ideas I tested and will change a little next year. My students made progress and I had more students using independent reading time at the end of the school year than I did at the beginning.

Over the summer, I am spending time reading and thinking of new ideas to try. Please feel free to add to these ideas in the comments below. Also, if something I am suggesting worked well for you with some changes, please share these changes.

Some Ideas to Help Inspire Your Readers

Read Alouds: Even sixth graders can enjoy read alouds! I feel like this is something I can struggle to fit in on a daily basis. However, there is nothing better than finding a perfect-fit book for your class and ending the day with your students begging to hear the next chapter. Two hits in my classroom this year were Percy Jackson and Amari and the Night Brothers. One class was so into Amari that I spent an entire class period reading aloud towards the end of the school year. This same group begged me to buy the second Amari book and start reading it – I gave in even though I knew we would only get started. I am hoping this encourages a few to purchase or check out the book from the library.

Graphic Novels: My sixth graders couldn’t get enough of my graphic novel collection. I started the year with what I thought was a good amount but quickly found that I need to work to grow what I have. This was a definite success in terms of getting students to read.

Individual Reading Conferences: This is so important but can be such a challenge to get in. One of my goals next school year is to create a schedule and stick to it better. I know these conferences help me get to know my readers and will help me continue add books in my library that are high interest. When students are struggling to find books they will love, reading conferences can help me with this. Of course, the conferences also help me see what successes and challenges students are facing.

Supportive Classroom Environment: I worked to make cozy spots in my classroom where students could read without being stuck at a desk. Of course, the barrier to this goal is money and resources. I found many inexpensive options at the end of the summer at stores such as Aldi and in garden centers with a clearance spot. I also worked to stock my classroom library. I had hundreds of books available for students to choose from. I shopped Half Price Books often last summer and kept my eyes open for books I needed on local Facebook pages for teachers. This can still get pricey quickly!

Book Trailers and Previews: This one is on my list to try next school year. I am going to have students use their iPads to create a trailer or video preview of a book they have read. We might first do this activity with a picture book read aloud as an example. Then, students will create a trailer for a book of their choice. I am still thinking about the guidelines and suggestions I will give students for this project.

Reading Recommendations: Again, this is a goal for next school year. I need to find a spot in my room where students can share what they have read and enjoyed. I would like to have a way for them to recommend books to classmates. They can choose who would like the book and why they think it is a good fit. This might start out simple. I can have students add a Post-it note to the cover with a quick note. As the year progresses, I might alter this activity but I think to start, simple will be good.

First Chapter Friday: I see many teachers use this idea. Each Friday, I would like to read a chapter from a book I think students might become hooked on. I did this sporadically last year. Next year, I am going to make it a goal to always do this on Fridays. I think this will be easier to stick to if I make an effort to create a list of books I want to introduce over the summer. It can always be changed as I find new books but having a list of possibilities ahead of time will make it easy for me to begin.

What are your ideas?

I would love to hear ways you help encourage your students to become hooked on reading! Please share any ideas you have below.

If we work together, maybe we can continue to develop a list that will help us read all of our readers!