10 Things That Helped Us Love Reading More

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I just cannot help myself from bubbling with excitement; my students are loving reading this year.  And while I wish I had done something revolutionary to create this enthusiasm, I can claim no such feat.  Through many small things reading has become our main focus point, our cherished time, the one thing we all look forward to no matter which day it is, no matter the weather, no matter the time.  The students just want to read.  So what has worked for us?  Just a few things:

  1. Share my own reading life.  Many smart people have given reasons for why we should share our reading life with our students and they are all so right.  To foster a love of reading in our room we have to be readers ourselves.  We owe it to the students to know about books and share what we are reading as well.  
  2. Stay current.  I had really fallen off the wagon of young adult books and it showed.  I had no idea what was really being read by students at the moment and could only fake so many book recommendations.  Now I am just as excited about the new Scholastic catalog or the random books students bring in; I just cannot wait to read my next book.
  3. Share your books.  I have many books in my house that I kept there so that students wouldn’t ruin them, not any more.  Books are read by me as fast as I can get through them and then put into the hands of whichever student wants it.  They take care of them as well as I can and I have gotten over if a book gets ruined, that just means someone was reading it.
  4. Friday preview.  Whenever I get a new book in my hands I do a preview of it; read the first chapter aloud to the class.  Whereas I used to just read the back of the book and rattle off a recommendation, reading the first chapter aloud has proven to hook many students.  We have 6 books with waiting lists in my room because of this.
  5. Speed book review.  Think speed dating but with book recommendations.  Half my class sits with their current book and the other half visits each students to hear about their book.  Every kid gets a minute or two depending on the day to share their book.  This is a great way to spread the knowledge of great books and doesn’t take long.
  6. Using book trailers.  I love these ingenius little movies, even if they are poorly made.  Now I often start my day showing a book trailer of a new book and it definitely gets the students excited about reading the book.  I have also decided that for our genre study the culminating product will be a book trailer.  No more reasons to ever even think about doing a book report again!
  7. Read more series.  I had never focused on whether I read stand alone book or series but now I realize the power of a great series.  You read the first one and get hooked and you have many more books to read.  I try to purchase as many quality series as I can and introduce them to the students.
  8. Keep a read next list.  In the back of our thoughtful logs we have a “What to read next” list that the students add to whenever they come across a new book.  This way even if a book is currently being read they don’t forget about it.  
  9. Give them ownership.  I don’t force students to read books they don’t like and we discuss what giving a book a fair chance looks like.  Students have to know it is ok to abandon a book that is making them dislike reading, why waste their time finishing it?  We can do mandatory texts in small group instruction instead.
  10. Talk books.  We talk about our books when we are waiting in line, walking to lunch, coming in in the morning and leaving at the end of the day.  I am always asking students what they are reading and whether they like it.  They love giving me recommendations this way and also showing me how much they read last night.

What have you done to ignite a love of reading in your room?
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8 thoughts on “10 Things That Helped Us Love Reading More

  1. Alie Q says:

    Hi Mrs. Ripp,Great post. Have you read Nancie Atwell's *The Reading Zone*? It is my go to book about all things good when it comes to teaching reading. (And a quick read, unlike many other uber-prescriptive reading programs.) It sounds exactly like what you're doing.(Love your blog. I have it filed under 'Intraspective Teachers' on my RSS feed, one of very few in that category.)

  2. Alie Q says:

    Hi Mrs. Ripp,Great post. Have you read Nancie Atwell's *The Reading Zone*? It is my go to book about all things good when it comes to teaching reading. (And a quick read, unlike many other uber-prescriptive reading programs.) It sounds exactly like what you're doing.(Love your blog. I have it filed under 'Intraspective Teachers' on my RSS feed, one of very few in that category.)

  3. I love your ideas for motivating students to read more! I love the idea of showing students movie trailers of books! What a brilliant idea to get students excited about a book! I am excited to try your other suggestions for motivating students to read. Thank you!

  4. Tom Whitford says:

    You are such an amazing teacher. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and ideas with all of us. I can only hope that my teachers will follow and learn from you and become inspired to share and reflect like you. Some great ideas here that I try to employ in my role as a principal….you never know when I may be able to affect the life of a child as well. I will wait patiently for your future book as I know you have it in you (but please don't give up teaching).

  5. Mrs. Ripp,My name is Michelle Vajgrt and I am a junior elementary education major at the University of South Alabama. I'm a student in Dr. John Strange's EDM310 class. As a mini project, I have been assigned you blog to follow and comment on from time to time. On my blog is a link to our class blog. The link to mine is http://vajgrtmichelleedm310.blogspot.com! I absolutely love the topic of your most recent blog posts. Reading is something I have been passionate about as far back as I can remember. As an education major I have all of these seemingly wonderful ideas for my classroom, but I never know how it is going to actually work out. It is so hard to "force" a student to want to read a book. Reading about your students' love of reading is inspiring. You have listed 10 simple suggestions to follow to ignite the love of reading. I plan to implement these in my classroom. I especially love number nine, "Give them ownership." I remember getting discouraged when a teacher would force me to read a book I did not like. Sometimes, by giving the book a fair chance, I would fall in love. Other times, I would have to force myself to even want to pick up any book again. Does having small groups help in your classroom? I feel as though this would be helpful in more ways than just the love of reading. In small groups, it seems like everyone has a voice to be heard. I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future!

  6. Stacy's blog says:

    I enjoyed reading your ideas on motivating the students to read. My students this year started to share their book choice with their classmates. They also share what they have read after a week or so to see if this is a book they want to continue reading.

    • Deb Olbrias says:

      I’m a fifth grade teacher in CT, and I really enjoyed your blog about 10 things that motivated me to read. I’ve found that book trailers work really well as a means of motivating children to read. I recently learned how to make an Animoto and embed it into a blog. I look forward to teaching my students how to make their own Animotos about books they have read and loved. I hope to use these to encourage future students to fall in love with reading. Have you ever read the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio. If not, I suggest you visit my blog where I embedded an Animoto of the book. It’s such a lovely book about accepting yourself and others around you. Visit my blog at Olbriasdeb@gmail.com

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