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7 Tips to Encourage Your Students to Read

The ABCs might seem like an easy concept, but the love of reading is much more complicated. Reading is an essential skill that can benefit students in many ways, from improving their communication and cognitive abilities to critical thinking and emotional growth. Unfortunately, in today's fast-paced world, many students struggle to develop reading habits. Whether it's distractions from technology, a lack of interest, or busy schedules, students are holding themselves back from the endless adventures that reading provides. 

As a teacher, encourage students to read as much as possible to enhance their academic performance and prepare them for future success. Student success hinges on their ability to learn and become literate. It's no secret that the number one way to make this happen is by reading every day. But what do you do when students just don't want to read? Here are seven tips to encourage your students to read: 

1. Model Good Reading Habits

You play a crucial role in modeling good reading habits for your students. By demonstrating your love for reading and making it a visible part of your classroom, you can encourage your students to follow your lead. Additionally, don't forget to share your reading experiences, recommend books, and engage in reading activities with your students.

So, walk away from that computer, grab your own book, and read quietly while your students are working on an assignment.

2. Make Reading Enjoyable

One of the primary reasons students may not enjoy reading is that they view it as a chore or punishment. Reading should be fun and exciting! Try some of these techniques.

  • Create a reading library in your classroom with reading material at different reading levels.
  • Set up a comfy place for kids to read.
  • Have a "book tasting" party, where kids can peruse different books around the room. 
  • Try inviting special guests to come in and read to students. 
  • Make book suggestion lists accessible to students. 

3. Offer a Variety of Reading Materials 

Students have a wide variety of interests. Not all of them enjoy the same genres, and that's okay! Provide a range of reading materials in different formats and genres so all students can find something of interest to them. Also, make sure to offer books in a few other languages so all students can participate even if they struggle to read in English. Digital reading materials can be easily accessed online to ensure your classroom library caters to every students. 

4. Set Individual Reading Goals and a Class Goal, Too

Setting reading goals for your students can help them develop a sense of accomplishment and encourage them to read more. Set fun goals! You could track the number of books or pages to read in a month, quarter, or academic year. In addition to individual goals, set a class goal and make reading time a priority, not something that is often overlooked or forgotten during the busy school day.

5. Offer Incentives

Incentives can be an effective way to encourage students to read. You can offer rewards like bookmarks, free time, or lunch with the teacher for students who reach their reading goals or show improvement in their reading skills. Be creative in this area but involve your students for ideas. The more connected they feel, the more they'll want to join in.

6. Involve Family Members

Make sure to involve your students' families at home. Make reading habits become bigger than your classroom. Get commitments from guardians to help create and model positive reading habits at home and then celebrate those who followed through. Seeking a partnership with guardians is key to building healthy educational habits at home. And remember to invite grandparents and extended family to be a part of the reading journey—zoom reading time before bed can be lots of fun!

7. Create a Positive Reading Culture

Creating a positive reading culture in the classroom can encourage your students to read. Try displaying posters or quotes about reading, dedicating a bulletin board to showcase student book reviews, or organizing reading events such as book clubs or author visits. Give kids chances to participate in all of these. By making reading a positive and celebrated activity, it can foster a love for reading in your students long after they leave their desks.

Bonus: Community Outreach

Community outreach programs can play a vital role in encouraging reading and promoting literacy. Libraries, schools, and community centers can serve as excellent venues for such programs. Additionally, partnering with local businesses, cultural institutions, and non-profit organizations can help expand the reach and impact of these initiatives. 

Far-Reaching Effects

Reading is a gateway to endless knowledge and possibilities. Encourage your students to read, and make a lasting impact on their academic success and personal development. Fostering a love of reading and lifelong learning will empower individuals and strengthen communities for years to come.

Written by Deborah Andrus
Education World Contributor
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