Keep ‘Em Reading

How much do your students read?  Is it the hour and a half that Richard Allington suggests.  When I start my school year everything is geared towards building a community of readers.  Then, about this time of year, I revisit it to revitalize and refresh.  Building a community of readers needs a few key pillars to stand on.

  • A teacher who models reading.  This is huge.  If you read and talk about reading they can’t help but catch your enthusiasm.
  • Time for reading.  It’s essential to give students time to read in class and emphasize to parents the importance of reading at home.  I give students time for independent reading every day.  They also read during strategy lessons, social studies, and sometimes during writers workshop.
  • A wide selection of reading material.  Good reading material.  I write many many grants through donors choose for books for my classroom library and for book clubs.  I pay attention to what’s “hot” and what the kids are interested in.
  • A place for reading.  A comfortable classroom where reading is easy and comfy is perfect for helping students fall into the reading zone.
  • Daily read aloud.  I read aloud every day, it’s one of our favorite times!
  • A culture of talking and thinking about books.  When students talk to each other about what they are reading it tends to catch on!

So, this time of year I like to revisit some of these things to help students revitalize their zest for reading.  Here are some ways that I do this.

  • Reorganize the classroom library, put out new books.
  • Get my book blog going where students write about books and share with each other.
  • Reteach lessons about just right books and book selection, conference with students about the growth they’ve made and help them figure out where they are as readers.
  • Make contact with parents about home reading habits and how they can support students at home. (yet again)

Although I do all of these things at the beginning of the year.  It seems like revisiting these particular items help students refocus and reignite their passion for reading in the post-test slump.

How do you keep your students reading throughout the year?

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