How can teachers promote reading for pleasure?
One of the most difficult challenges teachers are facing is encouraging reading for pleasure. However, that does not mean sitting in a classroom monotonously reading words of a set text that is expected of them in a lesson. The real challenge for teachers is sparking inspiration and a love of reading that motivates children to want to open another book and get lost in its world by the end of the day.
It is easy to understand that motivation decreases with age and therefore, to develop a passion or love for something must be found at a young age. The younger a child starts to enjoy reading, the more likely it will be they will enjoy it and continue reading throughout their life. You can assume that if a child is exposed to a love of reading at home, for example parents who read every night, then they too will naturally develop the same commitment to reading. However, this is not the case in every household.
Here at REESON Education, we believe that teachers can use a wide range of techniques to help inspire and influence a love of reading in their students. The below points are a few tips and ideas to help teachers promote reading for pleasure.
Reading to the Class
Especially at a young age, children may find it hard while learning to read to get involved with the storyline of the book they’re reading. Reading to them for a lesson every so often will ignite their imagination and can help develop a love of books before they even begin to read properly for themselves. This will also encourage them to appreciate reading as it creates a supportive environment around them.
Having a visual classroom to promote reading and books should also be the aim. Don’t limit yourself with this, make sure there are books readily available for children to pick up and read. Have boards around the classroom that the students are involved in creating. For example, focus walls or word walls for the younger students to help them remember what a verb or an adjective is. For older students, you can use the walls as recommendation space to put the names of their favourite books for the benefit of other classmates.
As children develop as students their reading develops too. Not all students will be at the same level of reading and may find it hard to keep up with each other if reading is set at a boring standard of; reading the same book, at the same time and expected to be at the same stage for their next lesson. Students can be given reading challenges that suit their abilities, such as a list of books to read by a certain time that would not be the same for each person as to not demotivate them and keep the love of reading.
Leave it up to Them
As well as ability levels, each student’s interest needs to also be taken into consideration. Developing the wider reader in older students should be up to the reader, whether it is through non-fiction or fiction, biographies or stories, they should be reading material that makes them think, contemplate, laugh and engage. If there is a reading stock in the classroom, make sure it has a wide range of books as limiting a child’s reading range may limit their horizons.
Explore a Range of Authors
Understandably teachers have a curriculum to stick to but don’t let this create boundaries. Make sure they know about authors that they wouldn’t usually come across, as well as the classics like Roald Dahl. Think about how easy it is for teens to start following music genres and artists, if they know about authors that are still alive and writing then they can also develop a following for them and be excited about the next book release.
Drop Everything… READ!
This speaks for itself. Give your pupils a time to escape into another world. Lessons with a relaxed atmosphere, with no task or challenge on their reading, will also encourage reading as an activity that allows them to get away from reality. Make it something they look forward to rather than be perceived as a chore.