The best way to become a better reader is by reading. This statement is true, but how do you get your reluctant readers to read? These are my go-to tips for students who need help finding the right book.
Use Engaging Materials - Mental Floss states, “Graphic novels are a great place to kindle a child’s interest in pleasure reading. Scads of research support the theory that well-made comics can engage uninterested readers better than anything else.“ Being able to assign reading materials to students through Big Universe, is an easy way to help students find materials that they will love to read including graphic novels.
Use Devices- According to recent poll, “Between 2011 and 2016, the number of Americans who read books on tablet computers has increased nearly fourfold, while the share who read books on smartphones has more than doubled.” Students love being on their devices, so find reading apps or website that capture students’ attention. A recent study found that students who use Big Universe, have a greater increase in their reading skills compared to non-Big Universe students. Find the complete study here. I encourage my students to bring their devices to school so they can access ebooks at school.
Interest Based Research Groups- This type of flexible grouping allows students to study topics of their choice. The students are supported as they read from materials that challenge their reading ability. When students are interested in what they are reading, they tend to stay focused and read materials that are above their reading level.
For these types of group research projects my students must have one book source, an encyclopedia source, and a website. By requiring a book source, it weeds out inappropriate topics. Approval is needed prior to beginning their research. These are the steps I use when starting these projects.
- Survey students' interests.
- Make partnerships based on topics.
- Set expectations such as due date and number of references.
- Prepare “links” to resources on your classroom website and let them explore these resources.
- Have students take notes digitally. (Remember to cite your sources!)
Make Recommendations based on their likes- Before I recommend a book to a student, I ask them “what is the best book you have ever read?” This gives me an idea about their favorite genre. I can then help find books similar to those. Being able to filter books by topic allows students choice in their reading. I have them read the first sentence and check to see if it “grabs” them. If it does; it’s a keeper. I also teach them how to search for books themselves and read the book preview.
As you can see, technology is a tool that helps our students become better readers. Even reluctant readers benefit from using various tools including technology. Selecting materials by reading or interest level and utilizing digital resources helps students become engaged. Engaged students are prepared to learn!
We love to hear from our readers. How do you use technology to teach literacy in your classroom?