Throughout my High School teaching career, whatever subject I have taught, I have tried to incorporate and foster reading cultures in my classroom. I have been able to collaborate with other teachers and TLs to learn and share things that have worked to foster reading.
Collaboration among teachers:Teachers have collaborated with the TL to develop common goals for fostering reading. We have developed a good collaborating team that is open to sharing ideas about books we have read, books for the students, ways to make reading fun and engaging etc. We felt that it is extremely important to model a passion for reading ourselves, and to respect all literature and students choices of types of books and genres. Being a role model could involve reading a book during the 20 minute silent reading time or during literature circles and being able to discuss books to the students and encourage others to talk about their favorite books. The TL has displays or bulletin boards in the LC for new and recommended books and authors for students. Displays can also be used in classrooms in order to share one’s love of literature with the students. Check out this display lesson for promoting reading.
Ideas and strategies!It is plain and simple; students need to be able to read for pleasure! Allow them to find a good book that they enjoy and they will become engaged in reading. Reading for pleasure builds enjoyment and skills for lifelong reading and learning. Our English classes read for pleasure every other day (because they only have that classes those days) for 15-20 minutes. They are able to pick any book that they enjoy and read it during this time in whatever comfortable position they choose.
The creation of a positive reading culture in the English department may carry over to other departments or any teacher interested in fostering reading. In Science I have brought in interesting Science books or the students have picked their own that they can read and share with others at either the beginning or end of class. Allowing students to read at their level, and “[g]iving them materials that are within their respective zones of proximal development positively affects their perceptions of themselves, helping them to have a “can do” attitude when it comes to reading” (France 2015).
Ideas for the literature circles are to choose 5 books that students could pick from to read. This becomes more of a book club idea where you read and then discuss. Class time is given to for the students to read and then discuss certain pages, chapters, characters, setting, etc. This would move the circle from reading to a more social outlook and discussion. This is important because is makes connections for students and allows them to ask questions and inquire knowledge from one another.
Audio books have been used in the classroom around novels such as To Kill a Mockingbird or some of the Shakespeare readings. Students would read a portion of the book, listen to the audio, or listen to the teacher read it aloud to the class. Reading to the students is important and I think they enjoy this strategy. “It was the best time of the day, I love to read in different voices and ‘ham it up’, depending on what book we were reading” (Dabbs 2015).
E-readers are also available (although we don’t have many at our school). Some students like it because of the lighting, screen, font size and some reluctant readers will use it because it is new technology and it gives them confidence when reading. It doesn’t matter the reason as long as they are reading.
One step further..
Encourage the school community to participate in Drop Everything and Read (Oct. 26, 2015).
There is an individual reading challenge for the remaining grades of the school. Some teachers may have a guest come in to read to the class. There are teachers who go all out and have the students dress up as their favourite character in the book and discuss and share their experience or understanding of the book.
Having a powerful website and getting as much information online so that students have access anytime and anywhere is also important to promoting reading. This website popular links for accessing good books like Goodreads and Books on the Move.
Books on the Move. (2015). http://booksonthemove.com/most-popular
Dabbs, L. (2015). Read With Me: 5 Tips to Foster a Love for Reading. Retrieved from
Drop Everything and Read. (2015). Retrieved from www.bctf.ca/bctla/info/advocacy.html
France, P. (2015). 5 Anchors for Using Technology To Teach Reading. Retrieved from http://www.teachthought.com/technology/5-anchors-for-using-technology-to-teach-reading/
Goodreads. (2015). http://goodreads.com
Khadri, S. (2015). Retrieved from https://sayedkhadri.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/reading1.jpg
Readwritethink. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/opening-door-reading-sharing-852.html
Ultimate Rob. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.ultimaterob.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/readers.gif