We all recognise the importance of reading and there are now many scientific studies that highlight the reasons for this. Reading is essential in increasing a child’s concentration levels and helping improve their academic success, but most importantly, this single act alone, can cultivate a lifetime love of learning.
Encouraging and creating an environment for your students to actually build a daily habit, can be a challenging process. Particularly in this distractive age with so many after school activities taking up students time.
We put together a list of 7 tips to help develop a daily reading habit in your students.
Firstly, it’s vital to ensure you know the level each of your students are reading at and suggest books that will ensure they will have success reading at home. Success breeds success, so it’s important that a student does not struggle too much with the level of books they are reading. Students should challenge themselves but not at the expense of not enjoying the task.
The most popular reading levels are GRL (Guided Reading) and Lexile levels, but there are many more, and your school will have their favourite.
There are useful conversion charts to help navigate the different levels and help you convert between them.
(Of course, reading apps such as Dogeared can also make reading level identification easy)
Ensuring students read books they are interested in will increase enjoyment and self confidence in reading. This ensures that the topics they read directly tie back into knowledge of their own interests and hobbies. This positive reinforcement process not only increases enjoyment but can also help connect abstract concepts between unrelated ideas. This is a key concept in increasing a child’s ability to learn new things.
Rewarding your students for maintaining their daily reading habits is an easy way to keep their interest up. Although it’s important to focus on the reading itself, young children can find it enjoyable to see how many books they have read, or how many consecutive days they have been reading. A system that recognises these milestones and celebrates them (in class, as well as home) helps develop a solid foundation for reading success.
Encourage your students to mix up their reading and not always choose a story book. Children often find an interesting non-fiction book highly engaging and this can be a great way to help a struggling student find enjoyment in books.
In addition to books, encourage your students to look out for interactive books (on iPads or online) as well as magazines, newspapers and comic books.
Reinforce daily reading by providing an opportunity for your students to share what they are reading, particularly with their friends. This could be in the form of book reports or presentations, or by the use of interactive apps that allow them to log their reading activity onto a safe and secure classroom view that you can display in class.
Comprehension activities in class can be used to reinforce home reading and ensure students are engaging in reading rather than just ‘checking’ the box. Comprehension stems are a great way to encourage critical reading and can be asked, before, during and after they have read.
For a good catalogue of stems see - https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Sentence-Stems-for-Comprehension-Strategies-and-Skills-298114
Booksnaps are a fun activity that borrows from social media. It allows the reader to connect an idea or thought by creating a digital visual representation. Students can write out or take a picture of a favourite passage of text in their book and add stickers, reflect, share and notate the passage. It even has it’s own #hashtag :)
We hope there are a few interesting ideas to try out with your students, and we’d love to hear what creative ways you use as well. Feel free to share in the comments below.