One of the most challenging things in the classroom is how to keep students engaged in what they are reading. Many students go through the motions or either simply don’t enjoy reading because they have been made to do it so often. However, from a teaching standpoint, reading is one of the most important things a student can ever learn to do. So how do we bridge this gap?
Below you will find 5 strategies to keep readers engaged in the classroom that you can implement today!
1. Have your students read something that they are interested in.
Students have a wide variety of interests. If you can’t get a child talking in your class or on Zoom about what you’re discussing, I guarantee you can get them talking about something they are interested in. So, why not let students read about what they are interested in?
Comic books and graphic novels are some of the most popular options to read with students, especially boys. Many teachers find it hard to justify letting their students read these types of books, but reading is reading. It's a simple recipe to get kids reading more. The more kids enjoy what they are reading, the more they read, becoming better readers, and eventually leading them to read different/harder books!
Even with texts that look more friendly to students, they are still learning words, word families, and sentence structure. So, don’t be afraid to let your students read what they are interested in.
2. Be the Example!
If you want your students to be readers, then you need to be a reader yourself. A great thing for your students to see is their teacher reading. One of my favorite things to do in the classroom in downtime or at the end of the day is to have free reading time. I let my students sit wherever and however they wanted, they could even take their shoes off, but they had to read. Then I take out my giant chapter book and took advantage of the time to read what I enjoyed. The kids loved seeing how big my books were and it motivated them to keep going on their reading journey.
3. Read to your Students
Teachers are the world’s biggest actors. Many times, teachers have shared reading or read aloud time in there day and this is a great time to get your students interested. Make the voices change, change up your pace and tone, get them excited and wondering what is going to happen next. Then, offer students the opportunity to read the book for themselves after you've read it. They will love this!
This way of keeping readers engaged is even more effective if you pick books in a series or the same author. Imagine, you start them off with book one, they enjoy the characters and then they'll want to read more books about the same characters!
Here are some book series that are super popular with 2nd and 3rd grade:
4. Make reading colorful
Another way to keep readers engaged and make reading fun is to use colors and color-coding. Kids love any chance to use a highlighter, pen, or marker, so take advantage of that! This is especially key when reading fictional or nonfiction texts with comprehension questions. (Pssst… It's a good test taking skill too!) Encourage your students to mark up the text when closely reading the passages to find text evidence to support their answers!
5. Make reading relatable
Finally, one of my favorite ways to keep student engaged in reading is to make what they are reading relatable. One of my favorite sayings is to make sure a student finds themself in a book, make sure they are represented. Think about this resource (Fiction and Nonfiction Passages Pet Themed) for example. It involves something that a lot of students can relate to, having a pet. If they can make a connection to it, they will enjoy it more.
You can actually try some of the Pet Passages with your class for FREE before committing to the whole resource! Sign up below!
Here's what teachers are saying about it:
Missy~ Grade 2 teacher “My students love animals and these passages worked out great during remote learning since our class time was shorter. We ended up doing some writing prompts to go along with this activity. It was great to see the students engaged.”
Kelly ~Grade 3 teacher “I love these passages! They work so well for my third graders remotely. Our small group reading time is much shorter on our remote schedule, so these short passages were perfect. Also, the students really enjoyed the pet theme!”
Above you have learned 5 reading engagement strategies. Don’t be afraid to act silly and get students involved. If you love reading, they’re going to love reading. Try out these strategies in your classroom today!