March is coming to end, which means that National Reading Month (and all of the push for reading and literacy that comes with it) is almost over. So how do you keep your students excited about reading after the Reading Month events, activities, and contests have ended? Check out some of our helpful ideas and strategies!
Make Reading Material Easily Available for Students
Subscribe to a variety of newspapers and age-appropriate magazines, and keep them out in the classroom. Build a comfortable “classroom library,” and update it regularly with books from thrift stores, yard sales, and other inexpensive, secondhand outlets. Include a mix of fiction and nonfiction works—this provides more choices for your students and supports preparation for the focus of next-generation assessments on informational texts. All of these practices help make the classroom a “literacy-rich environment” that encourages adolescent literacy development.
Let Students Read What Interests Them
Don’t worry if your students are choosing Captain Underpants or Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs over The Adventures of Tom Sawyer or The Wind in the Willows. The most important thing is to get students reading and get them excited about it. If that can be achieved, they will most likely move on to more mature titles on their own. Want to provide some inspiration for your students? Check out these reading lists from the National Education Association (NEA).
Make Reading Interactive
Reading doesn’t always have to be (and shouldn’t be) a quiet and solitary activity. Model fluent and expressive reading by reading aloud from above-grade-level texts on a regular basis. This also gives educators an opportunity to deepen understanding and spark conversation. Additionally, it’s important to lead your students in shared reading, where both you and your class have access to a copy of the text. With this type of instruction, you can practice reading strategies in the safety of a group while encouraging students to discover new concepts about print.
Have Fun with Word Games
Word games like Scrabble, Bananagrams, Upwords, and Boggle can help promote a level of comfort and familiarity with words. Offer students other chances to interact with words through magnetic letters, interactive word walls, or building words with Wikki Stix (way less messy than Play-Doh!). You can also play “write the room” games, where students collect words that they find around the classroom. Ask students to collect words around a certain theme, like “B” words or rhyming words. Playing games like this can instill an honest interest in and love of words for students—which can easily translate into a love for reading.
Get Parents Involved
Learning doesn’t stop once students leave the classroom, and the same should be true of reading! Educate your students’ parents on the importance of developing literacy skills, and enlist them as partners in encouraging students to read. Let parents know about simple strategies to promote reading, like having a variety of reading materials available at home, letting their child see them reading, and making trips to the local library. Check out this resource from the NEA on easy tips for raising a reader!
With some planning and creativity, you can easily keep your students motivated and excited about reading long after National Reading Month is over. Want to learn about how Edmentum can partner with your school or district to offer more tools to keep students engaged with reading? Check out this guide to successfully implementing literacy stations in the classroom!