Friday, February 15, 2013

Ten Ways to Cultivate a Love of Reading

I love to read, and I cannot imagine why other people don't. Our house is filled with books, and I cannot imagine life any other way. Even with e-readers, books are warm and inviting and tempt with experiences and knowledge. I ruined my eyes with books.

Reading is the only required homework at HoneyFern: 45 minutes a day, anything. Comic books, bumper stickers, backs of cereal boxes, anything.

So I am loving this blog on ten ways to cultivate a love of reading, and I think HoneyFern needs to start some of these, including bookclubs and read-a-thons (maybe a sponsored read-a-thon to benefit an organization the kids choose?).

To this list of ten, I would add the following:

1. Allow e-readers if that works better for kids. I have a student with dyslexia that can change the color of the background on her e-reader to make it easier to read. I have another student who can download samples of a book before he buys it which makes it easier on the wallet. I don't personally prefer e-readers, but I think "kids today" prefer the screen. I will still always have books around, and I still buy books, but maybe for next year will look into e-readers.

2. Encourage kids to read in different places, or walk around while reading. Many active kids just don't want to stop to read; HoneyFern has a porch swing that is an awesome place to read, and if it's not bothering other students, I let them wander around the house to read.

3. Encourage interaction with the book. Many teachers still don't want kids to write in books, but I believe that is the best way to ask a question without interrupting the flow of the reading, make an observation or indicate confusion. I can also go through a student's marked-up book and see what they liked or don't get. A good teaching tool.

4. Read during the school day. If you say it's important, then make the time. Period.

5. Count everything read as reading. If they are researching, that's reading. If they are tweeting, that's reading AND writing. If they are editing a friend's blog or writing, that's reading.

And with reluctant readers, remember:

6. Patience + Persistence = Success/Time (TM. Srsly. That's my saying. Don't steal it.). Keep looking for books reluctant readers might enjoy, and let them read a little lower than they are capable of if that gets them to read. I had a student at the beginning of the year who "hated" reading, but now he is whipping through books at or above his grade level, because I let him explore, read what he likes, and then gradually moved him up to higher level books of the same type.

Reading is the greatest gift an educator can bestow on a student, the gift that keeps on giving. So go read.


  1. We use audiobooks to encourage our kids to read. It's not as good as books, but it's definitely a step up from the tv. There's lots of great sites to download them, but we use this one a lot because all the stories are original and free. Here's the link if anyone is interested.

    1. Audiobooks are great. I have used them in conjunction with the book for ELLs, too (listen and read along).