Adventures in Literacy Land: encouraging children to reading

Showing posts with label encouraging children to reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label encouraging children to reading. Show all posts

Silent Reading Partners

Reluctant readers versus avid readers.  We all have them.  We work hard to keep the avid readers excited and challenged.  We work hard to get the reluctant readers excited and challenged.

How do we do this?  In so may different ways.  Engaging lessons, book choice, celebrated successes, providing books of interest, book clubs...the list goes on.  And I know as teachers, we will never stop searching for those ways to excite, engage, and challenge.

To become better at anything in life, we need practice.  To become a better reader, students need to read.  And some of our reluctant readers don't read as often because they feel that they can't or that it is too hard.  They need to feel successful and there is something to be said about reading without any judgements being made. Silent reading partners can provide this.

This past week my daughters participated in a "Tail Waggin' Tutors" program at our local library.  The energy was at all-time high in our home before and after the event.  They each picked out a book to take with them and they read to two dogs each.  Bookmarks with a picture of the dogs were in each of their hands on the way out the door.

These silent reading partners provided both excitement and challenge to my readers.  For my youngest (kinder), she walked away with a book that she wanted to try to read to me--but would have told me prior that she could not read it.  For my oldest (firstie), she walked away eager to share her experience and tell about all the jokes she shared with the dogs.

The dogs listened.  No judgements made.

Don't get me wrong...students need to have the feedback that we provide them during guided reading groups or that parents provide when reading at home.  Students need the modeling of a choral read, echo read, or repeated reading.  Students need to hear strong, engaging read alouds.  They need to read books at their instructional and independent level.

But they also need to read because they just want to read-without judgement, without feedback-without agenda.  Just read to read.

This doesn't have to occur only through a great program that comes to the library or our schools.  Maybe it is a pet in the home or a baby sibling.  The opportunities for a silent reading buddy may already be present. 

At the beginning of the year, my teammate lined up all the reading buddies she had bought at garage sales over the summer.  Each student in our grade got to take home a buddy to read to each night.

Some students do not have a family member to read to, or a parent that is going to encourage read aloud time each night.  The hope is that this little silent reading partner can excite and challenge our reluctant and avid readers.

As spring begins to show its face and summer is on the horizon, I begin thinking about what I have done and what more I can do to ensure that my students keep reading.  Even when I am not there to listen.


Engaging Our Students At Home

My winter break has officially started.  Woot, woot!  How about you?  It is a magical couple of weeks off that are filled with family, friends, food, and fun.  It is exciting, somewhat relaxing, and eagerly awaited; however, there is also be a hint of anxiety.

Why, you may ask?

It is two weeks off for me...but also my students.  We have worked hard over the past few months and sometimes two weeks off can impact the upward swing or momentum of our learning.  This ties right back in to the posts that we wrote about Summer Reading by Richard Allington and the need to have reading routines in the homes of our students.  These routines can help to prevent any sliding backwards.

And really this is (one) of our ultimate goals: Encouraging lifetime learners and lifetime (anytime) readers!
We want to light the fire in our students so that they WANT to read at anytime or anywhere.
In August, I had mentioned one way that I was going to try to light that fire in my students: through a Readbox.  Basically the idea was to roll out a cart everyday filled with books for families to check out with his/her student.  They read the book, return the book, and check out another book.  The hope is that families begin to establish more routines for reading when the books are high interest and readily available to them each day.  (If you want to read the full description of how we do it, just click on the image below).

It is now December and here is what we have found:
  • Our students ask for the box to be rolled out daily
  • Over 1,500 books have been checked out (in a school of about 200 students)
  • Most families are returning "customers" that come each day
  • Students are eager to talk about the books they check out
  • Students request books and book titles
  • There is excitement each time new books are added
 To us...this has been a success.

But two weeks without this routine, made me a little worried.  I still wanted those books in their hands.  I didn't want the routines to end!  So the Readbox is now in phase two.  And we call it...."Readbox at Home."  It is our way of engaging our students at home with high interest books and they get to listen to all their favorite teachers!

Here's what we decided to do:

1. We set up a YouTube channel and called it "Readbox at Home."

2. The teachers at my school have decided to videotape themselves reading a book either in their classroom, next to their Christmas tree, or maybe sitting by a fire.  Then the videos are uploaded onto our YouTube channel.

3. We passed out "business cards" and recording sheets to all the families in our school so that they would know how to access the videos at home.

KG fonts
I am nervous, excited, and eager to see if the families utilize the videos at home.  If we find it to be successful, it may become a new routine for the teachers and families!

Be sure to check back because Jennifer will have some more tips to get our students reading over the holiday break!


Building Confidence In The Struggling Reader


Hi everyone! Emily here, from The Reading Tutor/OG. I'm excited to share with you in this brand new year! Today, I'm going to open a discussion. Many of us work with challenged or struggling readers every day. As a classroom teacher, you recognize how vital it is to reach out and help these students not only experience success, but to develop a love of reading.

I work specifically with struggling readers and the challenge for them to gain success is ever present. Reading the written word is a constant reminder of their struggle. And yet they keep on keepin' on. When a lesson is especially tough or you've been working with this child or group on a strategy or skill for what may seem like forever, what pushes them to remain steadfast? What keeps them encouraged and confident?

I've surveyed a group of teachers and teacher bloggers, asking them to share some of their advice. They came up with some great suggestions! At the end of this post, please comment with any ideas you may have. Thank you!

~Ways To Build Confidence~
  1. Nicole: "Small realistic measurable goals. Keep a graph and celebrate growth . We have a wall of earn an index card brick upon making a goal. They also wear a lanyard for the day that has a sign saying "I met goal! ASK ME ABOUT IT! ". Staff and students ask and they are happy to talk about their success."
  2. Michelle: "Students are responsible for completing a reading response journal entry each week. I praise well written entries and the student has the option of reading them aloud to the class. Praise goes a long way and often my strugglers have excellent examples to share with the class."
  3. Zanah: "I have done reader's theatre to build the confidence of my struggling readers. They love to put on the play for their friends. I can see a big difference in them after they have a part in the play. We do 1-2 every quarter."
  4. Meg: "Personal shopper" experiences...I make "dates" with kids to go to the library for one on one shopping. They love it. I really think that when they read just right books and learn to love reading, so much takes care of itself. I also really try to touch base with them daily as to their nighttime reading, ask them about their books, etc--make that personal connection to show them that I care about their reading...and it usually rubs off on them. I also like to send happy emails/notes home when they finish books or do great things--because families can be HUGE players in this--helpful or NOT helpful!
  5. Brian: "Every year I have at least 6 students who are at least one-two levels below grade level. Many of these students come from homes that do not have a lot of books in them. When I send book orders home, I talk with those children individually and ask them what books they like. Then I purchase them, and set them aside for those students."
  6. Debbie: "I have my struggling readers read to students in lower grades. We go to the library and pick out books that the "younger students" would like….and they also happen to be books that the struggling readers will be able to read more easily. The younger kids are so excited to hear stories from the "big kids" and my struggling readers feel like super stars!"
  7. Lauren: "Selecting books that are at their easy level once a week, selecting books for small group that you know they are interested in and asking students for their choices, allowing choice in take-home books, stickers for first graders, genuine praise and lots of it, happy notes to the classroom teacher and to parents, doing cheers like a round of applause for each other, wearing a "reading expert" hat back to the classroom after reading group, reviewing their reader's log to see how much they have read, reviewing goals and celebrating when they accomplish them, inviting the principal in to observe and to praise and encourage. Just a few I can think of off the top of my head."
  8. Deniece: "A teachers can be a great encourager. Tracking fluency growth in second grade and up helps show progress."
  9. Stacy: "They also love to read to younger students. So, pairing with a younger book buddy."
  10. Carla: "I think one way to build confidence is to find work that is done well from the children to highlight. I agree with Stacy on pairing with younger readers. Reading to a furry friend is a fun way to ease anxiety and improve fluency. We have a therapy dog visit once a week."
  11. Jenny: "Letting them go back to a book from the beginning of the year, and seeing how much easier it is. It's especially powerful to record their reading and let them hear the difference.  I also have them graph their progress- fluency, sight words, level, etc. You do have to be careful about that with fluency (progress but not speed reading!) but some way of seeing growth is so important."
  12. Melissa: "I tell my students to "kiss their brains" when they've done amazing work."
  13. Amanda: "I have a "CHEER" box... when my students do something great we pull a popsicle stick with the name if a cheer or chant... we do it together. It is a great way to bring large muscles into it."
  14. Emily: "I believe, encouragement, praise, enthusiasm, positivity, and trusted patience will help a teacher cross the bridge to any struggling reader." Taking the time to listen, find out their interests, what makes them uncomfortable about reading, and building a strong parental line communication is key. 
Thank your for visiting Literacy Land today. I want to extend a special thank you to all my teacher blogger friends for providing me with  their wonderful suggestions. This post was truly a team effort. Have a great weekend. I'm looking forward to reading your comments!

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"!