Just because you might be teaching online does NOT mean that lessons have to be boring! There are many different ways to make virtual reading lessons engaging. And the great thing is that all of these strategies work for in-person learning too!
Book clubs are one of my very favorite ways to teach reading skills while getting kids excited and engaged! It’s always more fun to practice your standards and skills with novels than just doing worksheets and taking notes.
I run book clubs a little different than many teachers. Over the years I found that ditching the jobs and assigning graphic organizers based on your weekly reading skill is far more effective. I also choose to read the book as a group rather than assigning reading for homework. It makes the book club more exciting and feels less like work.
I wrote an entire article about how to choose books and run book clubs in a virtual classroom.
Click HERE for more information about virtual book clubs.
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Centers are such a fun way to read and practice different skills.
The good news is that centers can still be done in a virtual reading classroom! They might look a little different this year, but they can still be very engaging.
We created centers on Google Slides. Students are reading passages and stories. They are sorting and matching. They are color coding and writing reading responses. And it’s all being done virtually!
After students complete the center activities, they can turn them in through Google Classroom and you can easily see their work. (Bonus- You won’t be breaking your back with a teacher bag stuffed full of papers to grade.)
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I love read alouds. I don’t care what grade you teach, students need to hear books being read to them. This is how they discover genres and authors that they want to read more of. This is how they develop a love for reading.
Don’t stop reading to your kids just because you are virtual!
What about a Zoom or Google Meet every day at the same time where students can expect to hear a new book or the next chapter of the read aloud? You can make it fun by encouraging students to bring a snack and relax while they listen to you read.
If you are not allowed to do live video calls, you might consider prerecording yourself reading each day.
Make certain to share a variety of different types of books rather than reading a series to your class. Try a mystery and then read a fantasy book. This gives students a chance to discover book genres and authors that they might not have tried yet.
Almost everything is more fun when you have some choice. We like to pick food from a buffet (pre Covid of course) and we love to choose our outfit from a stocked closet.
Don’t forget to offer choice as much as possible in your virtual reading classroom!
Some ideas for incorporating choice:
- allow students to choose their own read-to-self book
- give students a chance to vote on the next class read aloud
- allow students to choose the response to reading prompt from a menu of choices
- give them a few fonts they can choose from when typing written responses and even consider allowing them to choose colors other than black
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I hope these ideas give you some new tools to make reading extra fun in your classroom!