Reading for pleasure is starting to feel like a lost art. It is something that every primary school student is encouraged to do but they often find other pastimes more appealing as they grow up.
Whether this is due to lack of motivation at home or at school is often down to individual cases. Reading is an important tool for every child and adult, as it keeps the imagination active and also helps to further learning in general – deepening cognitive ability.
Here are five simple tips for encouraging reading for pleasure.
1. Set Reading Challenges
Reading challenges are fun and encourage healthy competition among students.
You can, of course, create your own challenges for individuals or groups but try to follow a basic set of rules: set a goal to read a minimum number of books within a specific time frame (this should be based on each child’s current reading ability), keep a public record of books read by each pupil, encourage students to write short reviews, and reward students for achieving their goals.
You can decide if you want them to read fiction or non-fiction, or whether you would like them to follow a set list and tick each one off as they complete them.
You can even set up a little review area in the classroom, where students can pin up their book reviews and recommendations, and get suggestions for their next book by reading reviews from the rest of the class.
2. Reading for pleasure starts at home
A love for reading often starts at home, and reading with their parents can help to ignite a passion for reading that lasts a lifetime.
Communicate with the parents to work on a plan that can get the whole family reading together. Set simple goals for time spent reading and discussing books at home. Ask parents to go to their local library as a family and help choose relevant and interesting books.
Encourage parents to turn off all digital distractions (unless using an e-reader, of course!) and focus solely on their child’s choice of literature to fully engage with them. Everyone benefits, and the child is more likely to learn to love reading for pleasure.
3. Give Students Time to Read Every Day
It is important to allow your students some time to read every day, even if you are only able to give them 15 minutes. You could even try and take an assembly or two each week and use this time to get them reading before school starts.
Reading helps to improve concentration as well as prepare the brain for a day (or lesson) filled with learning. Plus, it can be a lot of fun for them, and you might find yourself with a few new reading fanatics.
4. Create a Reading Wall
This is an activity that is not only fun, but also helps to encourage reading among your students. Try not to just have random quotes from books or witty posters. Leave enough space for the reading wall to become a forum for the students themselves to recommend their favourite books.
There should be a picture of the cover of the book each student is recommending, along with the title and one or two sentences about what makes it a great read. You can even add a 5-star rating system with individual ratings from every student that reads the same book.
5. Reading Together in Class
This is especially good for English teachers who are looking to motivate their students.
Reading out loud together in class helps students to engage with the story and add their personalities to their delivery when they are reading their sections to the class.
Try to be the first and last to read in each lesson, put emphasis and feeling into your reading to encourage your students to emulate your enthusiasm when it’s their turn to read.
- Project Gutenberg is a good source of free e-books and encouraging children to read using their smartphones or tablets is a great idea.
- Parents can buy a subscription to Kindle Unlimited for their children. This offers unlimited access to a growing library of new and classic books and periodicals for a fixed monthly fee.
- Use the official library services search page to find your pupils’ nearest library. Encourage them to join, and discuss the services available to them.
Hopefully, you have found these tips on encouraging reading for pleasure useful, and they have helped you to discover new ways to motivate your pupils.
It’s not an easy task, and you cannot expect every student to find themselves passionate about reading, but it’s worth it for a few more bookworms in the world.