When teachers share how much they love reading and model how reading looks and feels, they begin creating a reading culture in their classroom that continues through the year and possibly a lifetime. Teachers who read have students who read. Students who are invited to share what they read and talk about how their reading connects to their personal lives and other books feel valued as readers. It is impossible to embark on literacy studies without learning about the value of reading.
Give Children Time to Read Every Day
Students often feel that teachers do not give them enough independent reading time. They are not complaining about lunch or recess time. They want to read, but teachers often make reading about activities instead of the actual act of reading. Creating a culture of reading requires that students know they can count on daily time to read the books they have chosen. Teachers should check in with students for a few minutes to ask them about their books and then give them uninterrupted reading time. This will help students stop to connect more deeply and realize that their teacher cares about what and why they read. Literacy studies have shown that kids who are given uninterrupted time to read every day tend to make time for reading over the course of their lifetime.
Build Spaces in the Classroom for Showcasing Favorite Books
Bulletin boards do not need to be cute or filled with charming cutouts. They are better off used for creating a culture of reading by posting things about the books that children are reading. Quotes and author photos are a great place to start. When students begin to write book reviews or organize books according to their thoughts, they are doing high-level thinking and learning. Synthesizing information about books helps students connect their reading to all parts of their learning. Students who engage in these kinds of literacy lessons make reading a part of their life instead of a subject in school.
Tips for Creating a Culture of Reading
- Instill a love of reading.
- Teach routines, structures and expectations about reading.
- Provide guidance and support as children deepen their reading.
- Encourage students to read across genres or more difficult texts.
- Allow kids to work together more often and talk about their reading.
- Promote student literacy studies of authors, subjects and genres.
Students who learn early on that reading is valuable and entertaining will turn to it again and again. Creating a reading culture starts from the moment a teacher begins setting up the classroom. Place the furniture and books in a way that helps develop a community of readers. One of the positive ways to get kids engaged in reading is to help individual students build background knowledge before they begin to read. Learning about World War II as a precursor to reading The Book Thief will help students engage deeply in both the storyline and the history. This kind of engagement in literacy studies grows a culture of intelligence.
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