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37 Ways to Help Kids Learn
to Love Reading
From the Edutopia Community
Introduction
Jorge Luis Borges once wrote, “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a
kind of library,” and we want c...
Read With Love
Tip: Read aloud
“Read to children. Children love to hear when a good story is being read to
them. Ask quest...
Share Your Interests
Tip: Let children know what you’re reading
“I think it's very important as educators to model having ...
Tip: Character voice cards can make reading aloud fun
“I have . . . used ‘character voice cards’ to practice fluency with ...
Draw It Out
Tip: Let children draw what they’re hearing
“I decided to read aloud to [my students], emphasizing all the pro...
The Reader’s Chair
Tip: Let children read their choice of book aloud
“I use shared reading in an unusual way -- we call it...
Not Just Books
Tip: Have materials other than books available to read
“It is important to have a wide variety of reading m...
Tip: Make alternatives available to younger children
”I have collected a variety of books that appeal to my kindergartener...
They Know What They Like
Tip: Take a child’s interests into account
“Before we can encourage children to read, we must be ...
They Know What They Like, Part 2
Tip: Ask children for book recommendations
“I empower my student readers by asking for . ...
Word-of-Mouth
Tip: Make books that children talk about available
“Find out what other children are reading and make those ...
The Classroom Library
Tip: A classroom library may be a child’s only way to
access books
“It is important to have a classr...
Tip: Some children will feel safer in a classroom library
than in the school library
“As teachers, we must recognize that ...
A Place of Their Own
Tip: Reading spaces should be inviting and comfortable
“Teachers and parents should create a comforta...
Tip: Use a stuffed animal as a reading buddy
“Another thing I love to do with the lower grades is have a reading buddy in
...
Tip: Use therapy dogs as furry reading buddies
“In the lower grades we use therapy dogs for students who are a little
hesi...
Tip: Older children also make great reading buddies
“I teach kindergarten and to encourage the love of reading in my child...
Tip: Leveling the books in your library can be beneficial
“Beyond Leveled Books, by Karen Szymusiak -- this book talks abo...
Tip: Mix different levels of books together
“In my classroom library, books of different levels are all mixed in together....
Tip: Create a science library
“I teach science and have found that many students are very interested in
reading nonfiction...
Tip: Make books available in every classroom
“It shouldn't matter what you teach -- if you teach math, you are still
encou...
Keep It Fresh
Tip: Introduce new books throughout the year
“I learned something from this particular experience and that i...
Tip: Teach children how to find the right book for them
“My class devotes the beginning of the year to learning about our ...
Tip: Let children shop for books they can keep handy
“One thing that I have picked up and admired in others’ classrooms is...
Tip: Teach children to care for books and reward them
when they do
“Personally, when introducing my library to my students...
Tip: Read a story and have children make a book from it
“My favorite literacy project requires the teacher to read a story...
Tip: Have students create movie and “WANTED” posters
“One project I assigned my students was to create a movie poster for ...
Tip: Showcase what you’re reading on your door
“During March, which is reading month, we have a door-decorating contest
an...
Tip: Choose an “Author of the Week”
“This year my fourth grade students were given the opportunity to become
the ‘author o...
Coming Soon
Tip: Have children create book trailers
“The purpose of the video book trailer is for students to not only dem...
Audio Tools for Tone
Tip: Use audio tools to help understand tone
“On a foggy fall day, I took my ninth graders outside to...
Choose Your Own Adventure
Tip: Use “choose your own adventure” tales to help with
foreshadowing
“My middle school students...
Tip: Create opportunities for informal conversations
“In order to encourage truly ‘free’ reading, I avoid the often dreade...
Tip: Host regular roundtable discussions
“The school where I work uses roundtable discussions in the upper grades (5-
8) t...
Mad for Reading
Tip: Create literary March Madness brackets
“I do AP Lit March Madness, a journey to determine the best wo...
Oldie But Goodie
Tip: Host a Read-A-Thon
“Our school's [Parent Teacher Organization] sponsors a Read-A-Thon every
year as ...
It’s a Crime
Tip: Never use reading as punishment
“Reading should not be used as punishment. This will decrease the love f...
Tip: Host a reading party
“One teacher in my school had a reading party once a marking period. She
had the students bring ...
References
For more tips, check out:
● All of Edutopia’s literacy resources on one page
● The Importance of a Classroom Li...
Special thanks go to the educators
who contributed to this presentation.
To join our community, visit edutopia.org.
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37 Ways to Help Kids Learn to Love Reading

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A love of reading doesn't happen automatically. It needs to be nurtured and guided until it flourishes into a well-read, well-rounded human being.

That's why we put together a presentation of some of our favorite ways to help kids learn to love reading, gathered from the contributions of Edutopia's educators and parents.

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37 Ways to Help Kids Learn to Love Reading

  1. 1. 37 Ways to Help Kids Learn to Love Reading From the Edutopia Community
  2. 2. Introduction Jorge Luis Borges once wrote, “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library,” and we want children to take the same kind of pleasure in reading; to see it as an open doorway to adventure and learning. That’s why we searched through the contributions of Edutopia’s community for our favorite tips to nurture a love of reading. We hope you find them helpful. If you’d like to join our community of educators and parents, visit us at edutopia.org/community.
  3. 3. Read With Love Tip: Read aloud “Read to children. Children love to hear when a good story is being read to them. Ask questions as you read. Let them read a line or two, but most of all, read with love, understanding, and compassion. Read books that inspire, motivate, and books that children love.” - Moya Dixon, Early Childhood Education
  4. 4. Share Your Interests Tip: Let children know what you’re reading “I think it's very important as educators to model having a love of reading -- share what you're reading with your class: your literary passions, your favorite books. Growing up, I didn't have many friends or family that would read often, but most of the teachers I had would share their love of reading with me and it inspired me.” - Elana Leoni, Director of Social Media Marketing and Strategy at Edutopia
  5. 5. Tip: Character voice cards can make reading aloud fun “I have . . . used ‘character voice cards’ to practice fluency with repeated readings. Students choose a card and read in that ‘voice.’ The cards range from whisper to cowboy. Students think this is so much fun. There is always a little laughter, but students are motivated to read again and again.” - Laura Minter Use Funny Voices
  6. 6. Draw It Out Tip: Let children draw what they’re hearing “I decided to read aloud to [my students], emphasizing all the prosodic cues within the text. Suddenly, they were all engaged. Taking this response, I began coaching my students to read with the same level of vigor. Still, I had a few students . . . who were not as engaged as I had hoped. For them, I developed a strategy that allowed them to draw what they heard.” - John Gaines, After-school Site Coordinator
  7. 7. The Reader’s Chair Tip: Let children read their choice of book aloud “I use shared reading in an unusual way -- we call it reader's chair. My students get to pick a book from their reading level box and read it aloud to the class. Everyone gets a chance to read and ask their peers questions afterwards.” - Christian Hoffer, Second Grade Teacher
  8. 8. Not Just Books Tip: Have materials other than books available to read “It is important to have a wide variety of reading materials in the classroom or at home -- for example: comics, magazines, and newspapers. This will not only boost confidence, but children will be encouraged to read.” - Moya Dixon, Early Childhood Education
  9. 9. Tip: Make alternatives available to younger children ”I have collected a variety of books that appeal to my kindergarteners. In addition to reading or looking at books (depending on the level), my students can listen to books on individual CD players or retell familiar stories on the felt storyboards.” - Kindergarten Teacher Rules & Behavior Pathways to Reading
  10. 10. They Know What They Like Tip: Take a child’s interests into account “Before we can encourage children to read, we must be aware of the types of books they like. It can be comics, stories, novels, or history. When we know exactly what they like, then we can begin to buy books for them. It is important to allow children to choose the book they want to read. This will increase confidence and their interests in books and reading.” - Moya Dixon, Early Childhood Education
  11. 11. They Know What They Like, Part 2 Tip: Ask children for book recommendations “I empower my student readers by asking for . . . recommendations of books, . . . [then] going out and immediately buying the books (if they meet my selection criteria), especially series, that students ask for and then make sure the student who requested the book is . . . the first to read it.” - Sarah Garrett, Elementary School Librarian
  12. 12. Word-of-Mouth Tip: Make books that children talk about available “Find out what other children are reading and make those books available. A book that's generated some buzz on the yard might spark interest in a ‘non- reader.’” - Samer Rabadi, Online Community Manager at Edutopia
  13. 13. The Classroom Library Tip: A classroom library may be a child’s only way to access books “It is important to have a classroom library because some students’ families cannot afford to buy books or they do not have that many. This way, even if they do not have access to books at home, they will have a daily access to books at school.” - Early Childhood Educator
  14. 14. Tip: Some children will feel safer in a classroom library than in the school library “As teachers, we must recognize that there are kids who aren't going to be comfortable in a school library but will be in the safety of their classroom. They will have established a connection with their teacher, and that is worth a lot. ... I always hope that students who finally get up the courage to dive into my library will one day take that next step towards the school library.” - Heather Wolpert-Gawron, Middle School Teacher Safe Zone
  15. 15. A Place of Their Own Tip: Reading spaces should be inviting and comfortable “Teachers and parents should create a comfortable reading space for children. There should be no distractions and proper lighting. When children feel comfortable when reading, it will become a habit. This is because they will realize that reading offers comfort and it relaxes the mind.” - Moya Dixon, Early Childhood Education
  16. 16. Tip: Use a stuffed animal as a reading buddy “Another thing I love to do with the lower grades is have a reading buddy in my reading corner. I purchase a cuddly stuffed animal, we name it as a class, and the students are encouraged to read to their new friend throughout the day. This is a great way for them to become independent readers!” - Lower Elementary Teacher Furry Buddies
  17. 17. Tip: Use therapy dogs as furry reading buddies “In the lower grades we use therapy dogs for students who are a little hesitant or uncomfortable reading aloud. Reading to the therapy dogs allows success and enjoyment from reading rather than anxiousness or refusal.” - Stephanie Koclanis, Spectrum Progressive School Furry Buddies, Part 2
  18. 18. Tip: Older children also make great reading buddies “I teach kindergarten and to encourage the love of reading in my children, I decided to find older buddies for them to pair up with to read together. A third grade teacher shared her children once a week . . . They became really good buddies and looked forward to seeing each other every Friday. The older children modeled good reading skills and taught the younger ones a lot.” - Haley Lentz, Kindergarten Teacher Children as Mentors
  19. 19. Tip: Leveling the books in your library can be beneficial “Beyond Leveled Books, by Karen Szymusiak -- this book talks about the importance of having a leveled classroom library that supports the transitional reader…Before I read this book, I had not taken the time to level my library, but now I have it color coded with levels and the kids just seem to read with so much more enjoyment! I have not experienced any negative feelings about which color they are on, but that is also something we talk about when the library opens.” - Amber Scalzo, Third Grade Teacher The Case For Leveling
  20. 20. Tip: Mix different levels of books together “In my classroom library, books of different levels are all mixed in together. At the beginning of the year, students are taught how to choose a ‘just-right book,’ which is a book on their independent reading level. When I first moved into my current classroom, the books were organized into levels. Even though the levels were numbers, I found that the students quickly figured out what was what. Students started to pick on each other and feel uncomfortable about choosing books from certain baskets . . . When I moved the books into the same basket, this problem was almost completely eliminated.” - Teacher The Case Against Leveling
  21. 21. Tip: Create a science library “I teach science and have found that many students are very interested in reading nonfiction books that deal with science. They also love books like the Guinness Book of World Records and Ripley's Believe it or Not. For the past few years, I've had a subscription to Science World magazine which covers all different areas of science and has some really interesting articles. Many of the articles involve children and teenagers that my students can relate to. They also have a section entitled "Gross Out" which was a favorite of my students. I recommend adding something like this to any classroom library.” - Science Teacher The Power of Science
  22. 22. Tip: Make books available in every classroom “It shouldn't matter what you teach -- if you teach math, you are still encouraged to have a library within your classroom. There are always students who finish early or are looking for something to do after completing a test -- why not have books available for them to go to? Reading is essential in every subject area; therefore, books should be seen, discussed, read, shared, and checked out!” - ELA Teacher Books, Books Everywhere
  23. 23. Keep It Fresh Tip: Introduce new books throughout the year “I learned something from this particular experience and that is, if you introduce books throughout the year as new or from a garage sale, kids get excited and motivated to check them out.” - Third Grade Teacher
  24. 24. Tip: Teach children how to find the right book for them “My class devotes the beginning of the year to learning about our schema. We make several self-to-self connections with the books they read in class. After several weeks we dissect the books in the classroom and we locate ‘just right’ books.” - Susie, Teacher The Just-Right Book
  25. 25. Tip: Let children shop for books they can keep handy “One thing that I have picked up and admired in others’ classrooms is the use of a ‘bag of books.’ Basically, the students are able to go shopping for their own books (two-three depending on grade) to place in their bag and in their desk. These books are available for them to read at all times of the day and keeps them interested as they are able to choose new books weekly.” - Reading and Literacy Masters Student Let’s Go Shopping
  26. 26. Tip: Teach children to care for books and reward them when they do “Personally, when introducing my library to my students, I make sure to have mini-lessons on how to take care of the books. It sounds time-consuming, but it really works. I literally have a mini-lesson on how to turn the pages, and as the student are reading independently I look for this skill. Another thing is I only allow them access to a certain part of my library, and as they do well with keeping up the books, I open up new sections. This gives them something to look forward to and kind of a reward as well.” - Teacher Caring for Books
  27. 27. Tip: Read a story and have children make a book from it “My favorite literacy project requires the teacher to read a story to the students, and then the entire class works together to create a big book of the story read. The students use playdough, craft balls, pipe cleaners, and other materials to create the pictures on giant pieces of poster board. Once our pictures are finished, we take turns writing the words at the bottom of our pages.” - Early Elementary Teacher Rules & Behavior Make a Book
  28. 28. Tip: Have students create movie and “WANTED” posters “One project I assigned my students was to create a movie poster for a book they read. They had to include the title, author, pictures to symbolize the book, a phrase to attract attention to the book, and a rating. Another project was to make a ‘WANTED’ poster for characters in the books. The poster had to include a picture of the character, a written physical description of the character, a description of the character's misdeeds, and the reward. I hung these projects in the library area. These projects often inspired other students to read the book.” - Linda R., Teacher Make Posters
  29. 29. Tip: Showcase what you’re reading on your door “During March, which is reading month, we have a door-decorating contest and some of the classrooms recreate book covers to put on their door. This made it possible for other students in the school to see recommended books as well.” - Teacher Door Decor
  30. 30. Tip: Choose an “Author of the Week” “This year my fourth grade students were given the opportunity to become the ‘author of the week’ in my classroom. They had the chance to come up with their own story and design their own book. On Friday that ‘Author of the Week’ was able to share their story with the whole class. I had the students keep their books on the bookcase with all of my books. The students all loved reading the books their classmates had written.” - Fourth Grade Teacher Student Authors
  31. 31. Coming Soon Tip: Have children create book trailers “The purpose of the video book trailer is for students to not only demonstrate their understanding of the selected book, but also to convince others to read this book. Many teachers find that this project fits naturally into their unit of persuasive writing. Book trailers are great summative assessment pieces for students who have completed a whole-class, interactive, read-aloud book; a small group book-club book; or an independently selected book.” - Bill Bass, Instructional Coach
  32. 32. Audio Tools for Tone Tip: Use audio tools to help understand tone “On a foggy fall day, I took my ninth graders outside to sit on the porch while I read ‘The Tell-Tale Heart,’ tapping heartbeats on the deck and playing off the ominous weather. They hung on every word . . . Leveraging the recording capabilities of most computers and mobile devices, students could explore the role of tone and sound by creating podcasts in the fashion of old-school radio shows. Using Garageband, Audacity, AudioBoo . . . students can retell portions of stories, complete with background music and sound effects, to demonstrate their understanding of tone, setting and theme, as well as practice their reading fluency.” - Beth Holland, Instructor and Communications Coordinator
  33. 33. Choose Your Own Adventure Tip: Use “choose your own adventure” tales to help with foreshadowing “My middle school students struggled with identifying and comprehending the concept of foreshadowing. They didn't readily see how certain moments or scenes could impact later events. By allowing students to recreate the story as a ‘choose your own adventure’ tale, they have the opportunity to map out not only the original story but also a new one, identifying significant events or images and their impact on the story.” - Beth Holland, Instructor and Communications Coordinator
  34. 34. Tip: Create opportunities for informal conversations “In order to encourage truly ‘free’ reading, I avoid the often dreaded end-of- book project. Instead, we have regular, informal book conversations at "teachable" moments to encourage authentic sharing. I set the tone by briefly telling kids about what I'm reading myself, and with a few encouraging comments, we're off and running.” - High School ELA Teacher Talk It Out
  35. 35. Tip: Host regular roundtable discussions “The school where I work uses roundtable discussions in the upper grades (5- 8) to foster a love of reading. Each student picks a book they are interested in, and the students get together and discuss topics, voice, chapter organization, themes, tone, genre, etc. Not only are the students actively engaged because they've had a choice, but by comparing and contrasting the different aspects of books, they become familiar with other books they may not have picked otherwise.” - Stephanie Koclanis, Spectrum Progressive School The Round Table
  36. 36. Mad for Reading Tip: Create literary March Madness brackets “I do AP Lit March Madness, a journey to determine the best work of literature that we've read all year. Brackets are made, seeding committees are formed, and each day I put a section of the bracket on the board and the works of literature back in their hands so that my students can vote on the superior work.” - Brian Sztabnik, AP Literature Teacher
  37. 37. Oldie But Goodie Tip: Host a Read-A-Thon “Our school's [Parent Teacher Organization] sponsors a Read-A-Thon every year as our one and only fundraiser. Students ask people to sponsor them to read and they can donate a certain amount per minute or donate what they please. At any point in the day, our principal will call over the intercom to drop everything and read. Even the teachers must stop what they are doing and read . . . They have fun and the students begin competing to see who can read the most minutes.” - Ashley, Fourth Grade Teacher
  38. 38. It’s a Crime Tip: Never use reading as punishment “Reading should not be used as punishment. This will decrease the love for reading because the child will think of reading as punishment. Reading is not only for learning but it is a privilege and children should be taught to appreciate reading.” - Moya Dixon, Early Childhood Education
  39. 39. Tip: Host a reading party “One teacher in my school had a reading party once a marking period. She had the students bring in pillows and stuffed animals. The students got one hour to read independently. She raved about it and said how beneficial it was as a student motivator.” - Jessica Diaz, Student Party Time!
  40. 40. References For more tips, check out: ● All of Edutopia’s literacy resources on one page ● The Importance of a Classroom Library by Heather Wolpert-Gawron ● Read With Me: 5 Tips to Foster a Love of Reading by Lisa Dabbs ● 11 Alternative to “Round Robin” or Popcorn Reading by Todd Finley ● 10 Ways to Cultivate a Love of Reading in Students by Elena Aguilar ● March Madness Meets AP Lit by Brian Sztabnik ● Projects to Engage Middle School Readers by Beth Holland
  41. 41. Special thanks go to the educators who contributed to this presentation. To join our community, visit edutopia.org.

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