Adventures in Literacy Land: creating lifelong readers

Showing posts with label creating lifelong readers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label creating lifelong readers. Show all posts

10 Ways Teachers Kill a Love of Reading

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?

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!



Teachers as Reader Role Models

Friday was my last day of school for this year and I am already thinking about plans for next year.  This school year I started a new role in a new school as a math coach and in an effort to learn more about the math content, I have left many of my reading coach thoughts behind.  However, next year I want to do my part in creating a community of readers in my school.  One of my favorite ways to show students that I was a reader was to show them exactly what I was reading.  I didn't take pictures of how I did this :(  However, I did find pictures of what my fabulous high school teacher/academic coach friend did, and I can't wait to share with you her display.  Her display put mine to shame.

Let's take a look at each part of her display in detail.  At the time, Mrs. Stone taught ninth grade English for two periods to a group of students she had been teaching since the sixth grade.  Each year she looped up with her students.  They had formed a very special bond with her.  She spent the rest of her day being a master teacher (academic coach) to the other teachers in the high school.

She, like myself, was always reading more than one book at a time.  In order to keep up with what was current and be able to recommend books to her students, she read a lot of young adult fiction.  Not mention that we both LOVE reading young adult fiction books!  I love how she printed miniature versions of the book covers to use instead of just listing a title.  Book covers are works of art themselves and I love showcasing them.  They are first impression students have of the book.

Using book covers again, she listed the books that were in her TBR (to be read) pile.  Her students had lists in their notebooks of books they were interested in next and hers was just a visual representation of that list.  The students liked to see what she would be picking from next and the list also encouraged the students to check out the books themselves.

Once she finished reading a book, she moved the book cover from "is reading" to "has read."  She would then give book talks on the books and the line would begin of students wanting to check that book out.

At the beginning of each quarter, Mrs. Stone had a conference with each student and helped them set a personal reading goal.  The goals were set in terms of number of pages read, not number of books.  Students kept this tracking form in their notebooks.  Students were not competing against each other; they were working on meeting their own individual goal.  The student completed the title and page number section.  Mrs. Stone would then initial the completed column after they showed her in some fashion that they comprehend what they read.  I really liked the progress bar at the bottom.  Once a goal was set (hers was 3000 pages), the students divided the goal by four (750 for her) and set smaller goals on the way to completion of the major goal.  As students neared the completion of their goal, they colored in the progress bar so they would have a visual of how far they had come.

This post is dedicated to Mrs. Stone.  She is still working at my last school and I miss working with her on a daily basis.  She is a true inspiration.  She cares deeply for her students and inspires them to take their reading to new heights.

 photo thinkingoutloudtitle.png

Motivating Our Littlest Readers: 10 Tips for Parents

Happy Summer to my Literacy Land friends! It's Lauren here today from Teacher Mom of 3  to discuss motivating and encouraging lifelong readers This is a two part series for teachers and parents. Part One will discuss our littlest readers and next month we will discuss intermediate elementary through young adults. 

Part One:  Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Primary Readers

When parents of young children approach me concerned that their child is not showing an interest in reading, my advice is always the same:  do lots of lap reading, read-alouds, and don't force the issue.  Motivating children ages birth to kindergarten is, in my experience, much easier than motivating older readers who may have already lost interest for one reason or another. For teachers of pre-k and kindergarten students, my advice is similar: read aloud, keep it simple, and show sincere, authentic passion for reading.

Ten Tips for Motivating Young Children to Read

1.  The number one goal of reading is to instill a love of reading and to create life-long readers. We need to show kids that reading is fun and enjoyable.  I remember when my youngest son (who is now 7), would not sit still for lap reading until he was almost 3.5 years old.  I grew concerned and worried, as my two older sons had loved to be read to from birth.  I had done nothing differently with my youngest.  So, I relaxed and read to him for as long as he could concentrate and sit still.  Had I forced him, he may not be the little bookworm that he is today.

2.  Immersion- Surround your environment, whether the classroom or home, with a variety of kid-appealing reading materials.  I display books on the buffet in the dining room, have books and magazines (both fiction and nonfiction) on the coffee table (which we call the "reading table") in the living room, reading materials are in the car, in the playroom, and in the bedrooms. 

3.  Limit screen time- Just like in the classroom, motivating kids to read is all about balance.  My sons have book shelves in their bedrooms.  No TV. No video games. No computers.  Do they play video games?  Absolutely.  But they also read a lot at home, ask to be read to, and share book suggestions with me and with each other.

4.  Your local library- It is never too early to take a child to the library.  When my sons were toddlers, they loved to visit the library to play with the toys, especially the train table. I would sit on the floor or in a chair reading a stack of picture books, which would intrigue them enough to come over to me and explore the books.    They associated the library as a place that was enjoyable.

5.  Gadgets- When my oldest was little, he had an electronic, plastic book mark that had a timer on it. This allowed him to keep track of his required reading minutes for school independently.  My two youngest love their book lamps that clip to their books and make reading at bedtime fun.  Sometimes they use flashlights too!

6.  Interests- As the quote above from the book Readicide supports, find out what your children or students are interested in reading.  To develop lifelong readers, we need to match them with books that interest them and that are meaningful.  For me personally, this is much more important than matching a reader to a leveled text.  If we do not motivate first, learning and growth will not prosper.

7.  Digital- Encourage and allow time for reading digital texts whether it is from Starfall, on the tablet, or the Kindle.  Some kids prefer reading digitally, others do not. The audio and interactive components (such as with Scholastic's Storia) are a great way to "hook" readers.  However, I would suggest to balance reading with hard copies and digital ones.

8. Intrinsic Motivation- Our goal in encouraging kids to read is to create a lifelong reader, which is most likely to occur with intrinsic motivation.  Personally, I am not a fan of contests that reward those who read the most minutes, earn the most points, etc.  We want kids to read for pleasure and to be able to read to learn, not to earn prizes.  As for reading logs, most kids do not enjoy completing them, but they are important as they get older.  See below for a free log I designed for my boys when they were in preschool and kindergarten. If young readers fuss, encourage the parent to complete the log themselves and then show their child how many books they have read and celebrate their accomplishments.

9.  Acknowledgement- The "2 Sisters", Gail Boushey and Joan Moser (authors of The Daily 5), teach their students three ways to read a book.  For our youngest readers, reading the pictures of a book is reading as is a toddler or preschooler that flips through a picture book and retells the story that was read aloud by a parent or teacher.  In addition, acknowledge and praise children who read environmental print, maps, pamphlets, video game instructions, recipes, etc.  Reading is so much more than reading picture and chapter books!

10.  No quick fix- I see our job as parents and educators to sow the seeds of passionate reading and learning.  Over time, we water and nurture the seedlings, and wait patiently for our little readers to bloom. One way that I do this at home is not only reading to my children before nap time or bedtime, but by also having Books for Breakfast and Supper Stories. This is a time when I read aloud at the dining room table as my family enjoys a meal.

See below for some of the resources mentioned in this post

                 Mark My Time Digital Bookmark Neon Pink

Reading Interest Inventories
  • From Laura Candler
  • Part of the appendix in the book Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller
  • See here for a post from Em that includes a free interest survey that is perfect for kindergarten and first graders.

Click the picture below to download a fun, FREE, interactive reader's log!

How do you motivate little readers?  Please share your ideas, as we collaborate together to help as many children as possible to catch "the reading bug"!