Monday, March 31, 2014

Get Students Excited About Reading!

I've been reading over several blog posts, articles, and talking to teachers about the best ways to get students excited about reading.  Here are my top three favorites:

1. Dress up as a character!
By far, this strategy gets a reaction from students.  Young and old, too-cool-for-school and comfortable being goofy, boy or girl - all students notice this.  While some might try to play it off or laugh out of comfortableness, you will show your passion for reading, and students will respond to it.

2. Make a Space
This works for both the home and the classroom: Make a comfortable space where students can relax and focus on reading.  I've seen students trod  into my classroom, negative body language flying, but they then transform as they cross the room to my reading corner, grab a cushion, and settle in with a book.  You can see the gloom and tension melt away.  The transformation is palpable.  That comfortable, safe space provides so much more than a place to read.

3. Make A Connection
Tastier than Fried Worms?
Find a way to make reading connect to real life.  This can be done in many ways.  Pick your favorite scene, re-write it as a play, and act it out.  Have students compare and contrast themselves and the main character.  But my absolute favorite way to connect reading to life is to find a book with food in it and then make it!  Green Eggs and Ham?  How to Eat Fried Worms?  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?  The Grapes of Wrath?

You might want to take a more abstract approach (substitute gummy worms for real worms), or get creative ans build a scene with food (angry grape people).  However you do it, food makes reading fun!

Reading becomes much more exciting when kids can see your passion, when they can relax and enjoy it, and when they see how reading relates to their lives.

Here are a few of the articles and blogs I read when brainstorming: The CornerstoneEdudemicMillion Words CampaignUniversity of Tennessee, and Imagine Learning

What are your favorite ideas and activities to get kids excited about reading?  Share in the comments below and feel free to include a link to your own blog post on the topic.

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