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?