Unit II: Building Excitement
In your digital journal, make a list of all the things you currently do to incorporate reading in the classroom. Now divide your list: what things are you currently doing to encourage reading academically, vs reading for pleasure?
Use your digital journal to keep track of ideas and resources for Building Excitement.
Building Excitement for Reading
You may record notes from the following section in your journal.
Now that you’re convinced, it’s time to get students interested in reading. Some students take no convincing - for others, this will be like pulling teeth. However, we press on, because:
- Students learn better when they take control of their learning (Richmond, 2019).
- Students are invested when they are given room to explore (Cox, 2019).
- Students will read more when they are given choice. (Fisher, 2016)
The following activities build excitement by allowing students to do all three. These suggestions are organized into the following categories:
- Directing Students to Resources
- Modeling Interest
- Developing a Library
- Learning about Libraries
Direct students to online resources where they can browse for books.
On Goodreads, students can create a profile, choose their favorite genres, and begin browsing books. They can review books they have read, and add other books to their “shelves”. Students enjoy looking at the covers of books and browsing through genres they are interested in. Importantly, students should use the “set a goal” feature to set a goal for how many books they want to read this year. Students can share their goals in class, and the teacher can share their own goal too! Check out the link, and try it out for yourself! Create a profile and begin building your book lists and shelves. Set a goal for yourself!
This site has some other ideas for using Goodreads https://www.weareteachers.com/goodreads-in-the-classroom/
Another online platform for book recommendations is called What Should I Read Next. You can introduce this site to students to generate book recommendations and allow them to explore. https://www.whatshouldireadnext.com/
Model your interest in books
Teachers should model an interest in books by doing book share-outs. When the teacher shares with the class about a book he or she enjoyed or wants to read, it communicates to students that books are valuable and normalizes a culture of reading. Linda Gambrell calls this exercise "Blessed Books": taking 3-5 minutes a day to share a few books you enjoyed, or want to read. You can tell the class, “Here’s why I love this book” or, "Here's why I want to read this book". Ask "Who would like this book?" and pass it around. Put the book on a special shelf, face forward. It is powerful to invite students to share in front of the class about books they have enjoyed, and to invite other teachers to swing by to share their favorite books as well.
Have a Book Wall of Fame - display pictures of other teachers on campus holding their favorite books. Students can submit pictures of themselves holding their favorite books too!
Display books prominently in the classroom, and choose some to face outward to the class. These should be changed monthly to keep the display fresh!
Students can leave a sticky note in the back of a book after they have read it, one sentence about the book and who they think would like it. Sticky notes could be displayed on the wall of fame instead.
Develop a classroom library
In addition to choosing their own books, students need to have access to books to choose!
- Here are some ideas for where to get the books to start your classroom library, such as garage sales, Amazon wish list or donors choose, sending a letter home at the beginning of the year, ask students to donate books they enjoyed at the end of the year: https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/blog-posts/scholasticcom-editors/2018-2019/24-Tips-to-Help-Set-Up-a-Classroom-Library/
- Here are some ideas for making your classroom library dynamic: http://www.teachhub.com/create-inviting-classroom-library
You will have to figure out how to manage your check-out system. To some extent, the teacher has to decide that it's ok if the books don't all make it back. It may be useful to have the students check out books and check them back in. The teacher can facilitate this, or a checkout form could hang on the wall and students could check in and check out books by themselves. One online management tool is the Classroom Library Manager from Booksource: https://classroom.booksource.com/Classroom/Create-Account/login-security.aspx
Discovering the Library This project can be an opportunity to teach children and teenagers WHAT a library is, and what services libraries provide. If you are able, take a field trip to your school library - better yet, take them to a real, local library, and demonstrate the checkout process.
You may even be able to bribe students with a trip to the mall. Many libraries operate small lending rooms out of closed stores in malls. You can find out where those are by visiting the American Library Association's website: http://www.ala.org/tools/library-branch-mall
You may even be lucky enough to have an automated library kiosk in your local mall, like this one at the Sierra Vista Mall in Clovis, CA: http://www.fresnolibrary.org/branch/srv.html
In your digital journal, record which of these ideas you are interested in incorporating into your classroom.
Proceed to Unit 3: In Practice