As reading teachers, we all have one big goal for our students – we want them to LOVE reading. In order for our students to grow into lifelong readers, we need to help them fall in love with reading.
Part of this process is helping students enjoy the books they read, and the other part is making sure they have the tools to actually understand what they are reading.
As you start planning out your reading instruction for this year, keep these three things in mind.
1. Help your students discover books they LOVE reading. This might be your most important job as a reading teacher. If you want to help your students become life-long readers, one of the best ways to do that is by helping them discover what type of texts they LOVE reading. One of my favorite ways to do this is by focusing on genre.
To help your students discover books they love reading, you can:
Give students a genre inventory at the start of the school year to see what types of books they enjoy reading.
Incorporate a wide range of genres into your read alouds so students are exposed to different genres on a daily and weekly basis.
Hold a genre tournament in your classroom and let your class explore/decide which genres they think are best.
Regularly do genre studies throughout the year so students develop a deeper understanding of the attributes of each genre.
The more you focus on genre, the more likely your students are to select books they love to read.
2. Provide students with resources that reinforce comprehension. Ultimately, we want our students to transfer what we teach them during our reading lessons to their independent reading time. IF you are teaching students how to make inferences, then we should expect to see them making inferences during their independent reading…IF you are teaching students how to ask and answer questions, then we want students to ask and answer questions on their own without being prompted.
In order for students to get to the place where they are independently applying the skills we teach, we need to provide them with support and resources that will remind them of EVERYTHING we have taught.
To reinforce the comprehension skills you’ve taught, you can:
Give students strategy cards to remind them of all the strategies they can use during independent reading time.
Have students glue copies of anchor charts in their reading journal so they can refer back to them after your reading lesson.
Share question and thinking stems to prompt students to apply these strategies to their independent reading.
Have students use stop-and-jot resources during their independent reading time to encourage them to apply these strategies.
Providing students with resources that reinforce their comprehension will help them be more confident when they apply these skills to their independent reading.
3. Get parents to play an active role in their child’s reading growth. Parent engagement is so incredibly important, especially in the area of reading. If we want our students to become life-long readers, then they need to be reading independently at home on a regular basis… and some of our students are going to need a little help from their parents to make that happen.
To get your parents to be actively involved in their child’s reading growth you can:
Send home regular updates about what you are teaching during reading.
Provide book recommendations so parents know what to read with their children.
Give parents reading challenges to do with their children at home.
Equip parents with questions they can ask their children to support their reading growth.
One way I like to do all of these things is by sending home Reading Comprehension Parent Letters. These parent letters explain a specific reading strategy, include question stems, and provide a list of books parents could check out from the library to help their child practice that comprehension skill. They are a quick and easy way to communicate what you are teaching with your parents.
Hopefully these ideas help you feel a little more excited and equipped to help your students grow as readers this year. Regardless if you are teaching in person or virtually, these three things will help your students grow as readers.
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Reading Genre Inventory
This reading inventory is a fun way to help students figure out what genre they should read next! Students can go through this “choose your own genre” inventory several times and get different answers each time. It’s such a fun way to help students explore different genres.