The holidays are over, and now is a time when people of all ages look at the year anew. January is a great time to reevaluate where you are, where you have been and where you want to be. This is true in our personal lives as well as our professional lives and is certainly true for our students. This January, consider using this as a way to revisit good reading strategies and encourage good reading habits. Here are four ideas to get your juices flowing.
1. Choosing Good Reads
Students need help with this every so often. They may start the school year off choosing books well, just like you instructed them to do and then, as with many things, their desire or energy to take the time and pick out a just right or high interest book to read on their own wanes. Use this new season to help them get back to picking out good reading material.
2. Set Aside Time
With a new year comes the desire to have improved habits. One of the most basic of these is putting aside time to do important tasks. Reading is one of them. If you haven’t already, find a time in your day to have sustained silent reading time where students – all students (and you as well) drop everything and read!
Students should also take this opportunity to set aside time on their own to read. You can have them record these times by blocking out a section of their student planners or keeping a reading log.
3. Respond to What You Read
Teachers have students respond to reading in a variety of ways: through writing, journaling, conferencing, blogging or in literature circles. Discuss with your students ways they can respond to the reading that they do. Make a list with your students and invite them to use one of these methods of response for what they are currently reading. You may have them choose one way and have it due by the end of the week or month, or you may choose as a class which method to use and stick to it. Either way, your students will gain a better understanding of what they read as they respond to and report out their thoughts.
4. Share with Others
Sharing what you have read is a great motivator for students to read. Many students love sharing their opinions and ideas with their peers. If you don’t feel you have the opportunity or the time to set aside to do this regularly in your class, have a station where students can do this on their own. Create a box or board where students can write a quick book review for other students to look at. The review can be anything from one sentence to a few paragraphs. It could include an illustration or a star rating. Create a simple, age appropriate form students can fill in and display for others to see and read. This may create some interest in your class to share great stories.
Using January as an excuse to build great habits is a favorite strategy of mine. I love how a new year has that great feeling to reinvigorate ourselves. Be sure to use that for your students as well!