Tips to encourage a love of reading

Do you ever look over your school years and examine those years through the lens of a teacher?  Suddenly those teachers that you thought were mean or inflexible are teachers that had good classroom management skills, organized and held students accountable for their work.  

In first grade, I was not one of the stars in reading.  In fact, I dreaded having to read to my Mom when it was homework time.  It was far from being a pleasure . . . it was a chore!  I think part of the problem stemmed from not being read to as a young child.  We as teachers know the positive impact a parent has when they read to their child.  I'm not really sure why my mother didn't read to my brothers and me.  Maybe it wasn't encouraged back then like it is today.

I recently ran across some of my old standardized test scores.  There was a big improvement in my reading scores when I went to 3rd grade.  Third grade is when I discovered reading for pleasure.  Suddenly I couldn't read enough.  When I went to library I checked out a big stack of books.  It would be a week before I could visit the library again so I wanted to make sure I had enough books to last a week.  That love of reading that was first ignited in 3rd grade has never been extinguished.  

Each time my family moves I check out the reading scene.  Is there a library? How many libraries?  Is the library well stocked?  Are there used book stores? I judge a town by it's reading scene.  If I can't answer yes to the questions above, then I know this is not the town for me.

You are probably asking yourself "what happened to me in 3rd grade"?  The answer is simple, my teacher read a book that I connected with wholeheartedly.  Each day after lunch, my teacher read a few chapters from the Little House on the Prairie series.  
This is a book that I could relate to in many ways.  Like Laura, I lived on a farm.  Many people told me that I looked like Melissa Gilbert, Laura, on the t.v. show.


We even went on a field trip to the Laura's House.

Click HERE for information.

As teachers, I think we do not always give ourselves enough credit.  When we have a student that enters our class behind academically, it is easy to get into the "wish mode".  I wish this child's parents were more involved and read to him/her.  I wish his/her teacher last year taught reading differently.  I wish I had more time so I could work more with this student.  Sometimes it is something as simple as finding a book that a child can connect to, that makes the biggest difference.

I asked teachers who follow my Facebook page for tips to encourage children to read for pleasure.  Here are a few and you can read more by visiting my FB page:

Paula Chase Bettis "Only read on the days that you eat." That is the quote that I teach my students at the beginning of the year and we do that every day in class. I have my classroom library, magazines...anything that I think might spark their interest.

Debbie Bolen I have reading contests. In K-1 The students who read the most pages, books, etc. earn trip to McDonalds or get a pizza party or whatever. In high school I gave away a $5 star bucks card. Kids read can read and read. It was really fun.

Read alouds
Read alouds
Read alouds
I try to make every story as dramatic as I can. Adding a new book to the class library, is a major event! (1200 books and counting!)

Brandy Correia I have found one of the best ways to get my students excited about reading is keeping up with modern children's books. I read as many as I can, in as many genres as I can and am always talking about them to my students. It gets them all excited and interested, and then as more and more of them read the suggestions they all begin talking about the books with each other!

Pam Burns Axell I'm with Joanne. I've gotten more kids excited about reading by doing super dramatic, change your voice for every character, read alouds. My kids would rather have stayed in then gone to recess some days. And always try to finish the day at an exciting part. Just makes them want more. Also, reading the first in a series is also a great idea - except the library doesn't have 20 copies of Book 2 

Jennifer Cramer Armour I had a sign in my room that said, "You'll only read on the days you breathe. "

Suzanne Scanlon You're going to laugh but we had a book rack (a small one) on the back of the door in the bathroom. They kept Readers Digests there. When one has time to kill while on the john, well, you reach for a book! Works like a charm!

Nagla A.Razik get an exciting book and start reading then tell the child to find out the end of the story ...that is how to push and encourage them to love reading !!

Katie DaLuga Find read alouds for every subject. It gets kids excited about learning. Also, I had a treasure chest with a mystery item in it that connects to a book. It got them excited about the book when they had to figure out how it connected to the book.

Brenda Whitley I've taught kindergarten for two years and my students love to read. Their parents noticed at home their love of reading. All I do is read to them all the time even during math.

Suzanne Scanlon I think it makes a difference if parents make a big deal of going to the library with the munchkins from the time they're young. Schedule a day as Library Day and stick to it!


Brandee Green said...

Great post! So important! :)
Creating Lifelong Learners

Mama Pearson said...

My daughter and I just went to Laura's home opinion Mansfield and it was wonderful. I didn't want to leave. Thank you for sharing great information.

Owl About Us

susanlulu said...

I'm watching Little House on the Prairie now. It's one of my favorite shows. I have read LIW's books MANY times and have been to all the places she lived on a Little House tour. It was GREAT!!!