Building a reading community in your classroom is hugely important for your students. The more fun you make reading and learning, the more your students will want to do it! You want to make reading relaxing, fun, and inviting. When your students are comfortable, introduce book studies, reading clubs, and use some of the strategies you’ll find below to keep your students in love with reading while including the whole family in on reading fun.
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Create An Inviting Reading Center
Provide inviting and comfortable seating. Decorate your reading center so that students feel comfortable with soft seats, cushions, or rugs. Provide good lighting. I have seen several teachers have a dark corner reading center. This makes it difficult to read. If that is the way that you want your reading center, provide flashlights or some type of lighting so that students are not straining their eyes while reading. Students love it when there is special lighting to make the area more homey. Looking back on my classroom, one of my biggest regrets is that my book selection was too big. I would go to the Goodwill every chance I got to buy highly discounted books for my students. Instead, I should have placed books in the reading center that piqued their interest or were on theme with the topics being taught that week/month.
Book Studies Are Great for Reading Community
A book study can be done at any age. Whether it is a picture book or a novel, you can always group students to talk about the book.You can do the book study in small groups or whole groups. Include students in the planning stages. For instance: How many pages will we read before we discuss? Will we journal or draw?If you don’t want students to read to themselves, introduce reading buddies where your students partner up and read to one another. If you want to set a great example for your students’ reading habits, you can’t go wrong in reading to them, either.
Use strategies to keep students LOVING books
Not everyone looks, acts, or has grown up the same. Provide diverse books so that students can see themselves in books. This builds a connection and love for reading.Build a personal relationship with each child. Find out their interests and help your students find books that will interest and excite them. Find out what several of your students love and sprinkle some of those books in with your theme/skill.At the beginning of the year, I always share my favorite children’s book (There is a Monster At the End of This Book). Ask them to bring in their favorite book. Students will want to read yours and their classmates’ favorite books to see why they are a favorite and maybe they will become a new favorite for a new reader. Provide students with familiar/popular characters
Get parents involved in Your Reading Community
Send a note home with students or email a letter to share the themes and skills you will be looking at in class. Some parents will jump on the idea to help their student incorporate your lessons into reading at home. Encourage them to read to their child. Some do, but some need the extra reminder. Encourage parents to ask questions about the books read.Some kids don’t have a lot of books at home, so help them develop a love of reading and provide books for students to check out and take home.
Developing the love of reading is a huge part of our job as teachers and one of the most rewarding. Reading truly opens the door to learning anything and everything you could ever imagine. Give your students a leg up with your classroom reading area. Make it comfy and cozy with great lighting, great reading choices, and something they will want to read. Encourage your students to choose books with topics they already have an interest in and share their reading journey with parents at home. Which of these ideas are you going to incorporate into your classroom reading center?