Reading is one of the most crucial skills that anyone can learn. If you can read, you can open yourself up to anything in the world. You can acquire new skills, educate others to read, and even become a better writer. No matter what age a person is they can learn to enjoy reading, or simply become a better reader. While reading is often done to children in their young age, it can be a forgotten pastime and become something they no longer enjoy. With the following tips, not only will reading become a more acquired taste, but it will fill the joy of elementary students everywhere.
Lead by example
We all hear that it is a good idea to lead by example in everything that we do. Children learn from adults and other children too. By reading out loud to your elementary students or children you are teaching them it can be fun to read. They will see you reading to them and realize you have this great power of telling a story. They too will want to have this power and want to know how to do it, if they do not already. So if you are in the middle of grading papers while your students are taking a test, when you are finished read a book of your choice. They'll see you reading a book for fun, not because you have to. This simple step will show them it is okay for them too to take out a book and read it when they have completed their school work. This is a way they can enjoy a book and still be getting an education with themselves.
Give students the option to bring a book from home, off an assigned reading list, or their textbook if they wish. This way they have more than one option and won't feel as if they are forced only to read educational books. How many times do you remember as a student where you were told to only read your textbook when you were done with class? Can we say b-o-r-i-n-g?
Give them something fun to read
Much like the above tip, giving children an option of something fun to read will get them revved up for reading. For example, the Highlights magazines are a fun and educational thing they can read that are also filled with fun trivia questions and puzzles. Aside from magazines that might be geared towards kids, try creating a small section in the home or classroom that can be their book nook. This section could have a small chair, a table, or simply some bean bags children can sit on and read when they are done with their schoolwork, or homework, or if they'd rather stay inside for recess.
Give children a new experience and introduce them to the local or school library. There are far too many books to choose from in a library and while this is true but imagine all of the possibilities and the imagination that can be created and heightened from children reading. They will be able to go into a world of far off places, princes, and people in disguises, alternate words, or even biographies about famous people. Children can read and learn all at once with their libraries. Get a child a library card and you have given them the keys to the world.
Often library cards are free at the local library as well as the school, however it is important to contact a local library and find out. Either way, the gift of a library card is a gift that they will cherish. The whole adventure of going to the library to pick a new book may get them even more interested in reading. The many benefits of a library are too hard to even put limits on.
Often elementary teachers will come up with contests that can be held within their classrooms for reading the most books in a year. This is a great way to get children encouraged with reading and give them something to work hard for all at once. Not only will they be reading on a more constant basis but they too will be learning the value of determination and there are rewards for such hard work.
Create a contest by getting a sticker board chart or making one with items purchased from a craft store. This board can have each child's name, and then for each book they can have a star placed next to their name. At the end of the week / month / year they can receive special prizes. For example; first place: $25 Amazon gift card. Second Place; $15 gift card. Third place: $10. Whole class could receive a giant pizza party.
In order to get a star there could be stipulations such as a parent must sign off that a student read the book each time and also that the child must write a paragraph or two about the book and why they liked it. This too will teach the children responsibility and matters of trust. In the end, if a student did not participate in the book contest, they still should be allowed to celebrate in the party and encouraged to join for the next round.
Many young adults may recall going to the Scholastic book fairs during the school year. I remember them myself, getting the pamphlet from the teacher and going home and circling everything I wanted out of it. There was something about looking at the little magazine and being able to find my favorite Goosebumps books and even at a later time in life there was Harry Potter offered.
Now, while there are the book fairs and book trucks that come around the country there is also the more important book reading contests they offer. They often are running specials to promote reading in all ages. Recently there was a #SummerReadingSelfie contest on Instagram that was run, and there are always the reading clubs to get involved in. If you are interested in the reading club click the link at the bottom of this post. Check out the Scholastic website to find out more at the above hyperlink to get your kids involved in reading even more.
All of these are examples of how to promote reading within children in the elementary classroom, and outside of the classroom. No matter what age a child is in these years they should learn the power of reading and be able to have fun and enjoy it. Once they have begun to read and start enjoying it, don't ask them to put the book away, let them continue as long as it's not interfering with their schoolwork.
How do you get your kids involved in reading?