All Info About Teen Reading

A companion blog to All Info About Teen Reading

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Five More Ways Teachers Can Encourage Teen Reading

Of course, I couldn't stop at just Five Ways Teachers Can Encourage Teen Reading. So here are five more ways teachers can foster an interest in reading in their classrooms:

  • Create a literate atmosphere
    Find ways to encourage a love of reading, books, and words in your classroom. Create a bulletin board of your favorite books and then ask students to add their own. Hang up posters of books and authors. Create a word or quote of the day and discuss it with your students.
  • Don't quiz the students to death
    Quizzes can be an important motivator to complete assignments and to check for understanding, but every once in a while, allow students to read just for the sake of reading. Maybe it's a different viewpoint on a scientific debate that you want them to consider or an enjoyable short story. Try to let them just read it and soak it in. Or consider alternative ways of assessing student comprehension, as discussed in the next two points.
  • Consider open-ended assignments
    Open-ended assignments can be written, such as projects that ask students to create their own interpretations of a work or they can be verbal, such as class discussions where students are allowed to take the lead and discuss the reading as they see fit. The idea of using literature circles in English classrooms has been big in the past several years, and part of the reason why they were so highly touted is that the discussion groups asked students to talk about books in ways that people really talk about books. You would never turn to a coworker and ask them to outline the three central themes in the book they were reading, providing two examples of each. But you would probably talk about those themes as you discussed your overall impressions of the book in a free-flowing conversation about your reading. This isn't to say that you should give students total control with no intervention on your part, but a little freedom in an assignment can free up students' thinking, creativity and enjoyment of reading.
  • Allow for different learning styles
    When assignments to assess students' understanding of a reading, allow for different learning styles as much as possible so that everyone will have a chance to express themselves in a comfortable way and they won't think of reading as a chore that always leads to unpleasant activities. Some students are visual learners and would be better able to express themselves through a drawing or graphic organizer such as a flow chart. Other students are more reflective by nature and thrive on introspective journals. You don't need to redesign your entire curriculum, but a few options sprinkled throughout can work wonders for reluctant readers.
  • Use young adult literature in your curriculum
    While there is certainly a time and a place for the classics, honestly ask yourself if there aren't some course goals that could be met through using books written especially for teens. These books will be more accessible to more readers and can still be just as useful as other pieces of literature in teaching thematic and writing-related concepts. If you're just not familiar with teen books, ask your librarian or media specialist if they have any ideas for recent young adult releases that would fit your needs. If you would like some ideas on young adult literature that would complement your English Language Arts curriculum, a great resource is Joan F. Kaywell's Adolescent Literature As a Complement to the Classics.

Even more ways to encourage reading deserve even More Creative Book Reports Ideas. Add more interest to your class assignments by going beyond the basic book report.

Share your own ways for encouraging teen reading in the comments!



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