Reading is one of my favorite activities. And I know I am not alone. Most teachers love reading and we all want to instill a love of reading in our students. But kids don’t always embrace it the way we hope, especially when reading lessons are boring. Today I’m sharing five fun ways to spice up your reading instruction in the new year. If you want to finally get kids excited about reading you’re going to love these ideas for your reading lessons.
Book clubs are one of my favorite ways to teach reading skills. Substituting book clubs for traditional reading lessons is a great way to get kids excited about reading. And they are more engaged in the story because it’s a lot more fun to practice reading standards and skills with novels than with boring worksheets and basal readers.
In my book clubs, all the students are working on the same skill each week. Students get a graphic organizer based on the weekly skill and use their novel to practice that skill.
In class, we read the book together in small groups. This makes reading a lot more fun than assigning the book for homework. It also ensures that all students are actually reading the story. And it allows me to model how to use reading strategies and apply new skills.
When students are invested in the story they are much more engaged in your reading lessons.
Read more about book clubs.
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Book Show and Tell
Kids love the chance to share their favorite things with their classmates, but often traditional Show and Tell is just a waste of time. And sometimes students even wind up in tears – when a child forgets it’s their day to share or their item makes someone else feel bad or their item gets misplaced or broken.
That’s why I love Book Show and Tell as part of my reading lessons. This activity gives kids the chance to be the center of attention and gets their classmates excited about books.
In Book Show and Tell a student gets to share a favorite book with the class. The key is they must have finished the book in order to share it. This is a great motivation to read. It’s also a great way to sneak in fun reading lessons. Students get extra practice of essential reading skills like summarizing, theme, genre, and characterization. It also uses critical thinking skills like evaluation and reflection.
At the beginning of the year you may want to give your students a script to follow to be sure they introduce the title, author, genre, a quick summary, and why they love the book.
Book Scavenger Hunt
A book scavenger hunt is another way to make reading lessons fun. This activity helps introduce kids to the different types of books available in your classroom or the school.
You just need to make a simple list of types of books to find. Some ideas include:
- A graphic novel
- A book about a cat
- A book with 100 pages
- A book without pictures
- A mystery
- A book about animals
- A nonfiction book
- A biography
- A book by Beverly Cleary
Kids will love hunting through the bookshelf to find each type of book. And in the process they will be exposed to lots of other books and find future reading material.
You could also use this activity to introduce a new genre and have students look specifically for books that fit the criteria.
Nobody likes to do the exact same thing every day. You don’t want to wear the same thing every day. Or eat the same thing every day. Or read the same thing every day. This is true for your students too.
Try to offer as much choice as possible for students during your reading lessons. One great way to do this is to use centers.
Reading centers give students the opportunity to practice important reading skills while freeing you up to meet with your book clubs. Pick centers that focus on a specific skill, but then give your students lots of different ways to practice that skill.
Matching, task cards, reading response, and color-coding activities are just some of the hands-on activities you can use to keep kids engaged in reading lessons. They also like having the freedom to choose which activity to work on each day.
And if you teach second or third grade, I’ve created reading units complete with ready-to-use centers for you. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
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Celebrate goals and success
Another way to make your reading lessons fun is to be sure to celebrate success. Reading is a process. And students will continue to develop reading skills for many years. That’s why it’s important to set achievable goals and monitor progress.
When students reach their goals, take some time to celebrate their success.
There are tons of ways for students to keep track of their reading goals. They can keep a reading log of all the books they read, or they can color in a hundreds chart or make a graph using a different color for different genres. You can also keep track of the number of the books your class has read each year. When a student completes a book they could add a link to a chain that you display in the classroom or
This simple process makes reading fun and keeps kids engaged in reading lessons.
I hope that gives you some fun new ideas for reading lessons this year.
Have a Not So Wimpy Day,
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