Whenever we as educators try to delegate work to our students, in hopes that they will peacefully and quietly work independently, we are sure to encounter some roadblocks. However, while the 100% serenity and engagement reading groups of our dreams may still be a bit out of reach for most of us, it is still possible to pull off multiple reading groups successfully without having to rack our brains too much.
Here are some tips to make this dream a reality:
- Create a desirable reading library - t this point in the school year, you probably already have a grasp on who and where your students are as readers. With that in mind, the first thing you should do is build a library of books, articles, magazines, and journals that appeal to all of your readers, and their reading levels, but meet the content you seek. The Big Universe cloud-based ebook library makes this task easy for educators, giving the ability to create bookshelves and even suggest/assign specific books to specific students. Students can also create their own favorites library, allowing them to take on ownership of the selection process. Bored readers are off task readers. Just because something seems interesting to you, or the content producers, does not equal interest for your students. If you can, include them in the process of choosing, set the limitations and allow them to hunt for texts that meet those limits with you.
- Create comfortable reading environments - once you have your texts in place, give your students some places to get cozy. Chances are you do not read for enjoyment sitting on some hard chair in a room filled with fluorescent lighting. I know I personally find that uncomfortable and distracting, which means my students more than likely, find it uncomfortable and distracting. Bring in some lamps or turn off the lights and open the windows, to change up the lighting, and then allow kids to spread out, whether it is on the floor, bean bags, or something else. I have even seen a canoe with pillows in a classroom!
- Read together - Give students the opportunity to read with you if they want. Often times, we focus on reading with our lower readers, but in reality, many of our kids want to read with us, so when you can, spend time reading with your average and accelerated readers, or invite them over to join you with your struggling readers. Everyone needs good modeling, whether it is how to be a good reader or a good student.
There are scores of other techniques you can use to manage your reading groups, but these are by far some of the easiest techniques. So go ahead, put your kids in charge of that library, rearrange your classroom, and mix up those reading groups. You might be happy you did.
For more ideas, download our helpful infographic 14 Ways to Engage Students in Reading!