Using Creative Techniques to Get Students to Read
You can get students to enjoy reading if you allow them to be more involved in the book selection process.
By Cathy Neushul
Sometimes trying to get students to read can be challenging. One of the reasons students give for not wanting to read is that that they can’t find books that they find interesting. Teachers can provide a list of books that they think students might like, but this might not do the trick. Here are some suggestions to inspire students to enjoy reading in your class.
Have Students Make Book Lists
Before you compose a list of book suggestions, you might want to ask your students to tell you about the types of books they like to read. You can have students make a list of their top ten book choices and ask them to write a two sentence description about each one. These lists can then be used to compile a class list of books with recommendations. This is a way for students to help each other find books that are interesting.
You could even post these book lists on a class blog. Each student could have an area where they could list their favorite books and add new ones as they read them. You could take this one step further and allow students to add comments beneath each of the recommended books. Before allowing students to comment, however, you should set up some guidelines identifying the types of comments that are appropriate and those that aren’t. You could also set up a system in which you approve each comment before it is posted.
Take a Survey
One of the best ways to entice students to read is by offering them book suggestions that they would find interesting. But how do you know what they might like? The easiest way to find out is to ask them. You can ask students to write a list of their interests and things they would like to learn more about. For example, a student might be interested in space travel and would like to find out more about trips made by astronauts in the space shuttle. You could give this student a list of books that dealt with space travel, astronauts, the space shuttle, and more. Many websites related to publishing houses have reading lists and provide easy ways to search for books on a particular topic.
If you would like students to do the research, have them use the Internet to find books relating to their interests. They can compile a list and use it to find books at their school or local library. Make sure to have students share their lists with others in the class. If students have to do research on a particular topic, or are interested in a certain topic, they can use the lists to find a particular book.
Get Everyone Involved
Why not get everyone involved in making book lists. Ask parents, grandparents, the principal, other teachers, and any one you can think of to write a top ten book list. Celebrities list their favorites; why can’t everyone share in the fun. While some people will read just about anything, there are those who can’t get into the experience unless they find books they really like. By compiling a variety of different lists, including a variety of selections about different topics, you can help students find something they would be interested in reading. What follows are more reading lessons and activities.
Reading Lessons and Activities:
Students discuss the criteria used to choose various award winning books. They vote on which books they think are noteworthy.
Students read books and use an interactive website to create book reports. This is a good way to allow students to share book recommendations and information.
Students share their favorite books and create book reviews.