I don’t really talk about my job here at number 2, the one I get paid for anyway. Year to year I have a new bunch of Grade six students; some years I have students who love reading as much as I do and other years I have a bunch who don’t like reading at all.
So my challenge becomes, how to get these kids loving reading as much as I do? How do I help them to escape into the world of words, creating their own images in their minds? How do I keep them wanting more, taking risks to find new authors, series and books that they’ll love? And these questions aren’t just for teacher me, but also Mummy me, because in reality, if you have children, you are a teacher too!!
So here are some of the ideas I try to employ:
1. First, have a chat and you will surely find that there has in fact been something they have enjoyed reading. From here, you can hopefully figure out a genre that they may particularly like or a specific type of book. Go hunting from there!
2. Picture story books are the bomb, no matter what the age!! You just have to find the right ones. For older kids I always read Shaun Tan’s The Red Tree I love love love this book! The words themselves are quite simple, but look closely at the images and watch the discussion flow. It never ceases to amaze me some of the thoughts my students have and infer about this particular text.
3. Check out The Children’s Book Council of Australia for books for your kids of all ages. These books have been nominated for a reason! I’ve already checked out this years list but I also love to go back to previous years too.
4. Read out loud and get into it!! I love reading aloud to my students and my own children. For my Grade sixes, I always like to start of with Andy Griffiths short story; Copy Cat from Ballarat from the book Just Annoying I have my own ‘voices’ that I use for this chapter that always gets the kids hooked. It’s not literary brilliance but it most definitely serves the purpose of getting my students wanting to read more.
5. Fairy Tales are not just for babies! I love reading fairy tales to my children, but when they get older, I love delving into the origins of particular fairy tales. Take Cinderella for instance, after I have read this version to students I love watching their enthusiasm to compare other tales to the ones we know today.
6. Make sure the books aren’t too easy or too hard. You can use this method to find out if the book is just right. If it’s not, children can find it boring or too challenging and loose the meaning of the story quickly, hence losing the original purpose for reading a book.
7. Audio books can be great especially for readers who struggle, they can follow along and have the added bonus of listening to someone read the book in an interesting way. We use them at home too for wind-down time before bed.
8. Go to the local library. It would shock you to know how many kids haven’t ventured into the local library. They have a wealth of books, audio books, magazines, videos, games etc all of which can hook help to hook your kids in. These days libraries themselves are amazing, welcoming spaces that make children want to go to. Our local library has read nooks under stairs, beanbags to sit and read on, as well as funky dog and elephant chairs.
These are just a few easy ways that I love to try and get kids engaged and interested in reading, do you have any tips that you use??