One of the main goals we have as teachers is to Instill a Love of Reading in Students. We make them do read-a-longs, give them reading material we think is best, and drill into them the need to read. What we want as teachers are for our students to fall in love with reading.
I can’t promise your students will be perfect readers, or that they will be passionate about it. However, I can give you 10 amazing tips to help instill a love of reading in your students.
Tip #1 ~ Show Them Your Passion for Reading
Whether we like it or not, children look up to us. As teachers, we are role models. If you want your students to have a love of reading, you have to show them your love for it as well. They aren’t going to believe reading is fun, exciting, and adventurous if they don’t see you with a book in your hand. So make sure they catch you reading in your downtime and your passion for books. They will see your enthusiasm, and get excited as well!
#2 ~ Make Reading Fun
Reading should be fun, especially for a kid. Don’t be afraid to breathe life into their reading. When you’re doing a read-a-loud try to create voices for different characters. Maybe utilize puppets, or imagery to give visuals to the story. How about acting out the story? You could have students act out the characters and the scenes to make it more interesting. Reading can be a fun activity, even for ‘boring educational’ reads. It’s up to you as the teacher to breathe life into reading.
Tip #3 ~ Let Them Create Their Narrative
Another way to make reading fun, and to bring us back to the importance of imagination, is to let them create their narrative. For my little ones that can’t read it means ignoring the words on the page, and letting them tell me what’s happening in the story based on the illustrations. For older children, you could print off a paragraph or two from a story, and make them write what happens next. This is a great way to instill reading comprehension, to make them think about what they read, and form an idea of what could happen next. It’s also a great way to combine reading and writing in a fun way. Anytime they are using their imaginations, and having fun will create a positive experience with reading.
#4 ~ Allow Them to Explore Their Passions
If you notice a student has a love for a topic, help them find a book at the library on said topic. When a kid has a passion for something they want to learn as much as they can about that topic. They will search on google, youtube, and scour the internet, but their first instinct may not be to pick up a book. Show them that books can be an amazing resource to learn more about something they are passionate about, and it will also show that you care enough to notice.
#5 ~ Surround Them With Books
Have books laid out on the tables, on the floor, in baskets around the room, on shelves, and on windowsills. Create the perfect environment for reading. One of the ways I do this is to create little reading nooks in different places. I love to set the mood for reading with floor pillows, illustrations from books on the walls, cozy blankets, and tents. Create a space where a student would want to curl up with a good book and get lost in the pages. Having book options spread out all around the room invites them to take a peek, maybe open the front page, read the first paragraph, and then lose themselves in the pages.
Tip # 6 ~ Give Them Freedom
We all have a favorite genre, give them the freedom to find theirs. Let them read a comic book, graphic novel, fantasy, adventure, or biography. Don’t steer them away from a book, just because it’s not what you want them to read. Instead, let them have the freedom to decide. They will be more inclined to keep reading and explore more books. If you have a mandatory read, then have a free reading period where they can have time to read a book of their choice. Nothing turns a child off from reading, then being forced to always read books they aren’t interested in. Give them the freedom to choose, it shows respect, and that you care about their interests.
#7 ~ Nurture Their Imagination
One of my favorite activities after reading a book is letting a student’s imagination run wild! My all-time favorite way to do this is to break out the paper, pens, markers, crayons, and have them illustrate the story. This makes them recall what they read, use their minds to visualize the story and fill in the gaps with their imagination. Most books are born from an author’s imagination, it’s important to nurture and let a child’s imagination thrive. You never know when you could be teaching a future author or illustrator.
Tip #8 ~ Failure Is Not an Option
Failure is one of a child’s greatest fears. Fear of not being good enough, making a mistake, being called out, and feeling inadequate or made fun of. When you are trying to get a child to read, make sure you are doing it in a way that makes them feel confident. When you have a student that is struggling to read, the worst thing to do is immediately point out the flaws. Instead, point out the things they did well, then tie in how they could improve. Don’t let failure be an option. Instead, let it be viewed as a positive learning experience.
#9 ~ Include Them
I love to give my students the feeling of respect, and that their opinions matter. I find that they in turn respect me a lot more. When it comes to read-alouds, book reports, and all the ‘non’ fun things that come reading, always try to involve them more. Have your students write down a book they would like to read, put it in a jar, and pull one out for each new read-aloud. Maybe pull out a few options and have the kid’s vote on their favorite. Pick out three and have each kid decide which one they want to do a book report on. Try our Free Caterpillar Book Report Printable. Involve them in decisions. They will be more interested in reading and participating if they know they are involved in the process.
Tip #10 ~ Create A Positive Experience
The last tip is probably the most important one to instill a love of reading in your students. Create a positive reading experience for your students. Reading is meant to inform, but it’s also meant to be an escape. It’s meant to take us on new adventures, inspire us, and fill us with dreams. As Teachers, we are meant to educate, but we should always strive to do it in a positive uplifting way. Teachers have such an influence on the lives of their students, who they will become, and how they view themselves. If you want to instill a love of reading, then you have to be willing to do the work to make reading a positive experience for your students.
Now that you have learned 10 new tips on instilling a love of reading in your students, you’re on your way to becoming a more efficient reading teacher!
Have more tips on how to instill a love of reading in your students? We would love to hear them down in the comments! ❤️
~ Written by: Brittany Coleman
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