posted January 16th, 2017 by Brian Neese
Reading is an essential skill. Yet many students at all levels of education struggle with literacy and reading comprehension. That’s why teachers are always working hard to improve their students’ reading skills.
In fact, teachers can instill passion and enthusiasm for reading in their students. The following activities explore ways to approach reading in the classroom.
One way to encourage children to read is to include them in selecting the books they are going to read. This will help them stay engaged with books and encourage them to explore new titles.
“Stories for young children should be of all kinds — folktales, funny tales, exciting tales, tales of the wondrous and stories that tell of everyday things,” the U.S. Department of Education says in Reading Rockets. Finding books that produce excitement, humor or some other feeling is a top priority. “For children, reading must be equated with enjoying, imagining, wondering, and reacting with feeling. If not, we should not be surprised if they refuse to read.”
Teachers can let students choose books that are read in the classroom (usually from an established list of recommendations based on age, grade level or reading level). Teachers can also promote and encourage students to look for books they can read at home, such as by visiting the library, asking family and friends for suggestions, and looking at book reviews in newspapers or online.
Some of the best reading activities for kids involve ways to bring stories to life. Creative activities help make books more interactive and fun.
Teachers can explore using art to support ideas and concepts in books. Activities include looking at how illustrations relate to the book’s content, drawing characters and scenes from the story, coloring pictures, etc. Students can perform these tasks to put a creative spin on what they are reading, which will improve comprehension.
Teachers can also help students notice and understand graphics as they read, such as maps and charts. The educational publishing company Scholastic offers a few ways to support graphical literacy.
Keeping a journal helps children record their thoughts, and encourages learning and sharing. By combing reading and writing, this activity builds skills in multiple areas of literacy.
Journaling can include recording students’ school or home activities, such as making a new friend or how they felt on the first day of school. Students can come up with their own ideas for journaling, or start a weekend journal that captures how they spend their time away from school. Students who travel can be encouraged to keep a trip journal for vacations, or even everyday outings that includes pictures of daily events.
Teachers can encourage students to share certain parts of their journals when or where appropriate. Or, teachers can create assignments or activities based on the journal, such as asking students what the most difficult part of keeping a journal is or exercises that will help students organize their stories.
Classroom games that exercise literacy skills can be a great way to motivate young readers. Education World offers a number of ideas from teachers.
Teachers play a significant role in how children approach reading and literacy. By finding ways to encourage children to enjoy reading, teachers can build a firm foundation of reading that will last a lifetime.
Southeastern University offers online education degrees that help teachers make a greater impact in students’ lives and education. Programs such as the online Master of Education in Reading Education and the online Master of Education in Elementary Education focus on literacy skills. They take place in a flexible and convenient online learning environment.