We used to do our reading block in the morning, every day, but our library time was scheduled on Thursday afternoons.
So, in the morning, I worked so hard to foster a love of reading. And then on Thursday afternoons, we came back from library and I told my kids to put their new books away because it was math time.
The books they had just searched through the library to pick.
The books they were so excited to read.
And I made them immediately put it inside their desks or backpacks.
What was I thinking???
It wasn’t until I read The Book Whisperer that I realized exactly what I was doing. I was taking a moment full of book excitement, and I squashed it like a bug.
So instead, I started building in ten minutes in our schedule. We still had to fit math in- but I could lose ten minutes once a week if it meant giving my kids a moment to dive into their new books.
To make this time even more special? I brought in a book I was reading (or snagged one from the library I’d been meaning to read) and settled into a comfy spot on the floor to read with my kids.
You should’ve seen the looks on my students’ faces!
They were shocked. They were so used to me using our reading time to pull guided reading groups or confer with individuals, so for me to sit down and read with them was really surprising. But I instantly had kids gather around me, wanting to see what I was reading, or even just read “with” me (especially when I taught 2nd graders!)
It was a great time to not just tell them I’m a reader- but to show it and model it!
Ten minutes a week is a small price to pay for building excitement about reading.
Other ways I see teachers kill a love of reading?
- Limiting kids to a certain reading level
Oh, you’re interested in this? I don’t care. It’s not the right level.
- Not letting kids choose their own books
Imagine going to the library and someone picking your books for you.
- Turning reading into worksheets about reading
No matter how great a worksheet is, it can’t compare to real reading.
- Not getting new and interesting books in the classroom library
You need books your kids want to read. And if you “have enough books,” you probably don’t have the latest books. Bringing in new ones through the year builds more excitement, too!
- Telling kids they can’t read ahead
I always tell them they can- because, really, do I want them to stop reading a book when they’re dying to go on? They just aren’t allowed to give spoilers.
- Requiring a reading log of homework minutes
You never want to have kids looking at the clock, counting the seconds until they can stop reading.
- Limiting reading to “real” books
Graphic novels, websites, magazines, etc. are just as valuable as a book with a spine… and sometimes more. Reading is worthwhile- period.
- Skipping the read aloud as kids get older
Reading aloud is important for so many academic reasons, but it’s also one of the biggest ways to let kids just fall in love with books… and we can’t take that away! Make sure read alouds aren’t just for explicit lessons, but also just for the joy of reading (and introducing kids to wonderful books and series!)
- Test Prep
Need I say more?
If you’re not sure how you’re killing the kids’ love of reading, just listen for the moans and groans, and look for the times your kids are excited about their books. How can you build on those moments, and how can you create more?
Over at my blog today, I’m sharing some ways foster a love of reading. I’d love for you to come over to Luckeyfrog Learning and share your ideas!