5 MORE Fun Ways to Encourage Reading in School or at Home


   

I thought it might be time to share a few more ways to encourage reading in school or at home.

When you have taught as long as I have, you always have a few tricks up your sleeve to motivate kids to read!

So, without further ado, here are 5  MORE tried and true ideas for encouraging your child or students to read and to make reading more fun and engaging!

1.  Magnifying Glass Reading:

Have you ever given your kiddos magnifying glasses to read books?
This can be done with partner reading or independent reading. Big sister reading to little brother or kids reading to their pets. 

It really doesn't matter who they are reading to as long as they are reading and the detective approach using a magnifying glass just adds to the fun of reading!

The more you read, the better you read!


2.  Reading Buddies: 

When I taught first grade, we had "Reading Buddies" hanging out in our reading area and also one very large pet dog who has since gone to my daughter's kindergarten class for a permanent home. The first graders loved cuddling up with a reading buddy and loved when we had bring your "Reading Buddy to School" days.       
 The kiddos always loved when their classroom job was "Station Janitor" because they loved straightening up our reading area and LOVED to line up all our "Reading Buddies' on the bench.  Five Below for the score on these cute "pet pillows" AKA "Reading Buddies".






AND..."BOOMER" our "class pet" always sat patiently waiting for a "Reading Buddy". In my classroom, he sat by the door, which led to the "bump out" reading area.  In my daughter's classroom, he sits right in the reading area.








3.  Volunteer Reading or, in my room...Miss Mary Reading: 

Miss Mary was almost like having a classroom grandmother!  

She was a retired librarian from a local university and she came every Tuesday and sometimes Tuesday and Thursday to read with my kiddos.  She even shared some history with the class when we learned about school long ago. She was a dream come true.  She did not have any children and was never married so these little cherubs were hers for a few hours every week! 

I would give her a list of students to with whom to work and she would even take notes on sticky notes jotting down little things she noticed about each student's reading.  The kids LOVED reading with her so I would rotate the students to make sure she read with every student within a certain timeframe.  SHE WAS THE BEST! She stayed with us for about 10+ years reading with children. 

The takeaway is...if you can find a retired teacher, librarian, or any retired person to volunteer with reading to your students...EVERYONE benefits!  If you are at home bring in the neighbors and relatives for a reading party!! 

In my Teaching career, we had Miss Mary, Mrs. Mauze ( a retired Comedian, who was on Vaudeville and wrote jokes for Joan Rivers) and  Dr.  Winters, a retired Superintendent, who was so understanding and fabulous with the kids and they all took notes that were so helpful!

Yes...this was a fun way to support reading with my students, but they also learned many life lessons that only this experience encourages.  When Miss Mary had knee surgery, she came in with a walker and it filled my heart to see these little children ask if she needed help and telling her to just sit and they would come to her!!!

4.  Read the Pictures, Then the Words:  BUDDY READING with a TWIST! 

Have you ever used this chart in your classroom: 3 Ways to Read a Book:  Read the Pictures, Read the Words and Retell the story?  I had a poster like this set up in my reading area. (This is introduced in Daily 5™, by Gail Boushley) 

So my idea is to have partners read or buddy read with a friend and JUST look at the pictures and "read the pictures" using words that the student can determine from the the pictures as if the book were wordless.( they can cover the words with a piece of paper if necessary) The partners can take turns reading each picture on a page or simply each take a turn "reading" with a different book.  

There are some really fabulous books out there that are only pictures that would work as well.  Here is my favorite one:





After they read the pictures, they can then read the words and compare and contrast their ideas about the book.  This works best with picture books that have less words per page.

They can determine if the book tells the whole story through the pictures or if the words are important to gain meaning from the text. Were their ideas on target or not?  
If you ask your kiddos to read a wordless book, they can add words on sticky notes.
Actually a great idea would be to have multiple wordless books available and have partners write words to go along with the pictures and then have partner groups share their ideas.  What was the same or different and why do you think that happen or why did you write different words to explain the pictures?(meaning different individuals can read or look at the same book and come up with different ideas...Schema!)
I am willing to bet that you can come up with so many creative ways to make this work during your reading block.  Oh...don't forget that you can have them retell the story to each other after they read together or after an independent read and then partner to retell (Beginning, Middle and the End of the story) and chat about it!

5.  Student Guest Readers: 

This idea evolved one day when 4 children wanted to read a book for our "Student Guest Reader" time. So, as was always our practice, we had a class meeting or discussion about this dilemma.  The outcome was that each week, up to 4 students could read a book to the class..."now that would take a really long time" they all decided so what we did was divide the class into to small groups around the room and each reader read to a small group of students. They all decided that they could choose a helper to sit with them that would not tell them the words but rather give them strategies to figure out the "tricky" words.  This worked beautifully.

So each week different children would sign up to read through the week and on Friday afternoon toward the end of the day, we would use our "picking sticks" to choose groups for each reader.  After the reader completed the book, if there was more time, they could ask the students questions or simply discuss the story.
On a beautiful warm, sunny day, you might even want to take them outside to read!

The benefits of these reading groups were priceless. It built confidence, supported decoding not to mention fluency and also built classroom community in that everyone worked together to support each other. Even my early readers would volunteer to read to a small group. Sometimes i recommended a Guided reading book that was more on their level. The class recognized each individual for who they were...it was truly a family of learners.  As a side note, one of my most difficult students was a great reader. When he took a turn reading to a group of peers, they were amazed and began to go to him for help during stations or simply to help read a word. Talk about building confidence...well that was evident!!!

FYI: before our Student Guest Readers came to fruition, we had parent guest readers, who would sign up to read on Friday afternoons before the end of the day.  So...that's another idea to tuck away.

I would love to here some ideas that you have used at home or in school to encourage reading in a fun way!  

Please leave your ideas in the comments below! AND....Happy Reading!




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