Promoting a school culture that is rich in literature requires hard work and collaboration between the school, students, and community. There are so many ways to encourage a schoolwide love of reading and to build a network of support to engage students in reading. When looking to promote a love of reading in your school, it’s important to understand why reading is so important and to understand ways to promote reading schoolwide.
What are the Benefits of Reading?
The benefits of reading are many! In order to thrive and communicate effectively in the 21st century, being a good reader is key. Learning to read and learning to love reading is an important step in student development. According to the American Pediatrics Association, reading at a young age increases vocabulary and ensures academic success throughout a child’s educational career. Learning to read well can result in a high self-esteem, improved concentration, improved memory, and an extended vocabulary. Below are ways to promote reading schoolwide.
Ways to Promote Schoolwide Reading
Clearly reading is important and the earlier students learn to read, the better. The following are ideas for how to promote reading schoolwide.
Create Engaging Classroom Libraries
Classroom libraries that grab students’ attention can make students’ reading experiences. Classroom libraries that are organized so that students can find books on both their reading and interest level encourage students to want to read.
Model a Love for Reading
When students are able to see you read, you are leading by example! Instead of doing busy work, grading papers, or checking emails when students are reading silently, model a love of reading by reading a book. Communicate to students how much you are enjoying the book you are reading and why. You may be surprised by just how much this increases your kids’ curiosity and willingness to try new books.
Invite Guest Readers
A great way to promote reading school wide is to invite guest readers into the school. Guest readers could be parents, board members, or local government officials. When students see those outside of a school setting enjoying reading, they will be inspired to do the same.
There are many online reading programs available and many are free. By integrating online reading opportunities, students are able to experience reading both online and in hard copy form. Some students prefer to read online, therefore, exposing them to online opportunities will only encourage them to read more.
Use Visual Displays
The hallways and walls in a school often play a role in the school culture. Considering this, make reading a part of these walls and hallways. When students see large, artistic, attention-grabbing reading displays, they are reminded that reading is important at their school.
Seek Out Ways to Engage Reluctant Readers
Some students are just not interested in reading. It’s important to be aware of this and to understand ways to engage reluctant readers.
Let Students Share
Make time for students to share their favorite books with peers. This allows students to model a love of reading to each other.
Make Time for Read Alouds
There is so much research available on the benefits of read alouds in the classroom. Read alouds offer an opportunity to build classroom community while witnessing a quality representation of fluent reading.
Plan Exciting Events
Show students that reading can be fun by hosting reading-themed events. One Book One School is a neat concept that has swept schools across the country. This event consists of every grade level in a school reading the same book and then having schoolwide events themed around that book. In one school, for example, the book each grade level reads could be The One and Only Ivan. Students may have an assembly at the final chapter where the principal reads the chapter aloud and then the students watch the movie! In this case, the principal could also incorporate quotes from the book into morning announcements. The possibilities are endless.
Encourage Teachers to Expand their Knowledge
One way to increase a love of reading schoolwide is to give teachers an opportunity to increase their instructional capacity for reading instruction. This could happen in an inservice training or by sharing reading speciality program opportunities with staff.
When it comes to promoting a love for reading schoolwide, it’s important to make reading fun for students! The strategies above are great ways to kick-off a reading movement at your school. The benefits of reading reach far beyond language and literacy skills. Reading books encourages students to be intellectually curious, become problem solvers, increase self-esteem, and understand more about the world around them and the world far from them. Reading is an important part of education and an important part of understanding the world.