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Encouraging Students To Read More

Found in: Reading activities, Reading, Reluctant Readers

How can you get students to read more? Chad Dononue offers the following advice:

Let Students Choose Their Own Books

My Students recently reported that one reason they were reading more books this year is because I was not limiting them to books in the Accelerated Reader program. This program is one that provides quizzes for each book read. Students said in earlier school years they had to choose books that had accompanying quizzes, and so their choices were far more limited. One student said, "You’re not super strict about what we read, so I'm reading more."

Set Expectations

A number of other students said my "reading log" requirement had motivated them to read more. I have students log 150 minutes of outside reading for homework each week. They get a form signed by a parent or guardian confirming these minutes. Also, for every 30 minutes they read, they must write down one literary device or element they see in action (e.g. personification, imagery, irony, hyperbole, foreshadowing, etc.). They also note the page number where they saw the device.

Give Students Time to Read

In my classroom, students are encouraged to read whenever they finish an assignment. They "steal minutes" (from The Book Whisperer, by Donalyn Miller).

Encourage Students To Talk About What They’re Reading

Eleven of 28 students in one class said they chose a book referred by a fellow student during book chats at their table groups. 

Set a Good Example

Several students said they were reading more because of the books I am talking about in class. I have an extensive library with several hundred books kids can access any time. Not only can they borrow any book from my library, they can actually keep it if they want to. I am not stingy when it comes to my books. I continually restock my shelves with Young Adult books from Goodwill, Thrift Stores, and by requesting donations. Finally, I am always reading at least one (more often two) books. Kids are challenged to ask me what I am reading any time. I talk about these books in class, and kids subsequently ask if they can borrow a copy. Which, of course, they can.


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