The challenge may not be to encourage children to read in school, but how you can inspire a love of reading outside the classroom?
Research shows that motivation to read decreases with age, especially when pupils’ attitude to reading becomes less positive. Home is also said to be a massive influence but if parents aren’t reading around their children, how can teachers encourage children to pick up a book at home?
Give them a choice
Introduce children to a variety of texts and genres to allow them to explore their own taste, for example: Books, eBooks, comics, magazines can give the variety. Alongside a variety of genres will give children the freedom to embrace a variety of different reads and see what they enjoy most.
Get children excited about reading with some reading challenges. Here are a few we think are great!
- ‘Extreme Reading’ Great for the holidays. Children are challenged to think about different, exciting and fun places they can read. They can ask their parents to take pictures of them reading in strange places to show in class.
- ‘Finish a book in a day’ Challenge children to see if they can find and finish a book in 1 day. They can share their choices with the class.
- ‘Reading Race’ Across the school, challenge who reads the most books. Create a fun display for each year and set prizes for first to 10, 25 and 50.
“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all your need is a book” – Dr Seus.
Change their mindset
Promoting reading as a positive experience is key to inspiring a love of reading outside the classroom. “Children won’t find reading pleasurable if there is too much pressure on them” says Webster. So, creating a positive ethos around reading is important.
Changing their mindset from reading being an “intelligence test”, to something associated with relaxation or “escapism” from school life and/or social life, is a great way to start.
One teacher discussed escapism with her pupils and introduced library sessions by saying “we get to escape for an hour today”.
Read to them in class
Reading in class is a great way to get children to appreciate a good story, this is important to increase their appreciation for reading.
It allows children to visualise the characters and story in their mind and look forward to the next chapter in class. You should always try to use a variety of different books and genres to reach more children across all abilities.
Creating a buzz around the book you are reading is great. Interact with the pupils, take time to ask questions about what’s happening in the story and get everyone in the class involved.
“If you have good thoughts, they will shine out your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely” – Roald Dahl
Online books can be a great tool to use both in class and outside the classroom. Technology is continuing to advance so it’s a great way to introduce another way of reading to children.
Adding tablets or e-readers into the classroom can also increase children’s confidence in technology. Technology gives children who have grown up in an age of smartphones and computers another outlet which they are familiar with to grow and learn.