Young readers make better students. When kids read, they
are able to expand their vocabulary, understand grammar, sharpen
creative skills, and know more about the world.
The goal of every good teacher is not just to teach students the skills of reading, but also impart to them the discipline and art of it. That in doing so, they will do it for pleasure and make it a default reflex in their everyday lives.
If you want to bring out avid readers from your students, here are some strategies that can help:
Create a reading zone.
An area dedicated for reading, which students can see for themselves, can pique their interest in the hobby. Allot a space in your campus where kids can just drop by and open a book or two. Use shelters or furnish your outdoor classrooms with high-quality canopies for schools.
Make your reading zone homey by offering comfy bean bags, customisable desks, and colourful bookshelves. Put a huge board on one wall also, in which pupils can share their thoughts on the books they read. Perhaps, you can place a question of the day, like, ‘How can you relate to the main character of the book you are reading?’ or ‘What is the best part about reading?’.
These thought-provoking questions will help students have a greater appreciation for the hobby. Do note that it is important to have a varied collection of books, so you can accommodate different students’ preferences.
Another way you can promote reading in your school community is to make it a big thing. Aside from joining the majority in celebrating World Book Day and National Read a Book Day, you can organise your own school event.
For instance, you can have a ‘reading party’, in which students will come in costumes of their favourite fictional character and they will read their favourite lines in an open-mic-type of set-up. You can also hold a trivia game event.
Pupils who want to participate will be assigned readings for a certain period of time, and a game master will test out their knowledge of what they read. Introduce the event by grade level, so you will have a somewhat equal playing field. Promote your activities on social media and website to hype them up.
Channel your own love for reading.
Children learn best by observing adults around them. When they see their teachers dedicating time and effort to read, they are more likely to engage in the same hobby too. Set an example for your students.
Use your free time to talk to students about your recent reads. Ask them too for theirs. Recommend good books and have them recommend to you as well. When you are done with your respective suggested reads, sit down and discuss what your thoughts are. With a ‘debriefing’ session, students will be able to better appreciate the value they got from reading. They will be inspired to consume more.
Schools have the privilege and responsibility of teaching students reading skills — but it does not end there. There should be an encouraging reading culture in the community where pupils get buried in books for pleasure.