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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Story Sunday Linky

I'm linking up with Elizabeth-Elle at Lifelong Learning for Story Sunday.

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Click on the button above to go to the original post. I think this is my new favorite linky! Getting, and more importantly, keeping kids interested in reading is tough. This linky provides some great tips to keep you encouraged. These are a few ideas I use in my classroom and with my own kids:

1. Provide free-reading time DAILY! I have an hour-long block for reading and the first 15 minutes are set aside for silent reading. There is usually time at the end of the block for more silent reading. My 5th graders are also encouraged to read whenever they have a few free minutes throughout the day.

2. Read Aloud. It doesn't matter if you teach kindergarten or middle school, kids love to hear stories read aloud. They can get lost in a story even if they can't read the words themselves. I'm currently reading The True Confession of Charlotte Doyle (my favorite children's book) to my 5th grade class, and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 to my daughter at home. Even my 14-year-old son will listen in at home (though he won't admit he's actually listening).

3. Let them catch you reading! I love to discuss what I'm reading with my class. Our 5th grade has genre requirements each month, and I my favorite part of the month is helping kids choose their book in the particular genre we're working on. I also take suggestions from them for which book I should try next. At home, I pack my book around with me everywhere, so my own children see that I value reading. Right now I'm reading Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett, and it is always next to me just waiting for me to get a few precious minutes of free-time, whether I'm grading papers or getting ready for bed, or running kids to dance practice or scouts. I want them to see that reading can happen anywhere.

4. Keep busy work at a minimum. No matter what grading system your school uses, we all have to assess comprehensions, vocabulary, and so on with what our students are reading. Worksheets, response activities, journals, etc. are all valuable and necessary, but should not be the focus of our reading blocks. Actual reading needs to be the focus, and what most of our reading time is spend on.

5. Reward reading and use reading as a reward. Our goal is that a love of reading is a reward in itself, but until then there will always be students that need an incentive. Our school has a "Reading Around the World" optional program in which students who want to participate get the chance to earn monthly rewards, get their name on a given destination on a huge world map that takes up one wall in the school, and be recognized at an end-of-the-year celebration assembly. Within classrooms students can set goals and be awarded for milestones met. Free-reading can be used as a reward for good behavior for individuals or entire classes. Offer book clubs during lunch, before, or after school for kids to get together and talk about their favorite books. Get creative with it!

I hope these are helpful tips. Click on the button to see some more wonderful reading ideas!