The traditional model goes something like this:
- Teacher posts today’s chapter on the board and calls out the first student to read by random (but it’s not really random because it’s the person he or she always calls on to start off, because they are the one that won’t complain).
- Student reads a page or two with no feeling at all, only stopping if the teacher tells them to.
- When their work is done, teacher selects someone else. It’s either another safe choice or, as punishment, the kid that was fooling around during the first passage. This continues until the end of the chapter or the class, whichever comes first.
No wonder students aren’t engaged with reading. The good news is here are 13 ways to reinvent your in-class reading time.
- Workshop – Students read what they want instead of what you tell them. Anything goes. Face it; some kids just don’t like books.
- Book blind date – Cover a selection of books so that the covers and titles can’t be seen, then have students pick a book at random for open reading time.
- Book talk – Think of it like a living book report. Instead of writing what the book was about, the student’s job is to sell you on reading the book…by any means necessary.
- Book trailer – Making videos is easier than ever. Students make a trailer for a book they just read in an effort to entice other readers.
- Online book club – Start a Facebook group or similar social tool to facilitate students talking about their outside reading.
- Wiki page – Have the students contribute to a Wiki page about the book they’re reading. Another replacement to the traditional book report.
- More non-fiction – The next generation standards call for more non-fiction and informational texts. Pick something fun and go for it.
- Character’s Facebook profile – Create a profile page for a character from the book. It can either be real (check school/district rules) or on posterboard.
- Communal story – One student contributes a line to a story, then passes it to another student until they have all contributed and the class has one full story. Usually this is considered a writing exercise, but students still have to know about plot, characterization, and other reading skills in order to participate effectively.
- Illustrate a scene – A simple retention strategy, but teachers don’t realize that students of all ages like it—high schoolers in particular.
- Poetry tournament – Organize poets into a bracket-style tournament and spend a couple of weeks reading their work. Students vote on whose work they like the best until they have a champion.
- Bumper stickers – Each student creates a bumper sticker that a character would put on their car. Make a car outline and put the stickers up on the wall.
- Graffiti board – After reading, let the students write quotes they liked on the board. Kids like expressing themselves and will be reading more closely to find the perfect quote.
All the support you need for reading instruction can be found in our Classroom Direct online store.