5 steps to inspire reading
Reading causes sparks to fly in the creative mind, and leaves the imagination bubbling with thoughts of adventure. Important for a student's development, students should be encouraged to read in school and at home. To help get students excited about reading, we have pulled together some ideas to inspire them to take themselves on a wondrous adventure.
‘“..over there, it’s over there!” With a frantic warning he gasps for breath and keeps running. The wisps of the long grass scratch his ankles as his legs glide past one another in hurried movement. With the sun’s blazing heat warming his skin, and his panicked heart thumping against his chest it becomes harder to breath. Each time he hits the ground with a new step, he feels his legs become heavier and heavier. As he scurries his mind to map out a hiding spot, he feels a tightening on his left shoulder. An intense pressure, his voice pains out in agony and he is pulled backwards. As he crashes to the ground he catches a frightening glimpse and screams ”Who are you?!”...’"
Did you see that scene play out in your mind? Is your imagination trying to piece together what could be happening? Since reading sparks creativity and takes your thoughts on a wondrous adventure, so too should the ways in which we try to encourage students to read - our 5 steps below give some motivational ideas to inspire students to read and keep reading.
1. Set the scene
A cosy nook by the window for the romantic novelists, a spaceship made from an old box for the sci-fi lovers, or a castle made from a tent for the fantasy princesses. Set the scene to create a place students will love to read. Get them involved in creating their reading lands and if you don’t have room for too many at one time, then pick a new theme each month.
2. Provide lots of choice
The modern Matildas of today might prefer to read from an iPad than a physical book. Some students will favour visual stories and some thick-spined novels. Make sure to offer a variety of options as well as different genres. Different reading abilities exist within the classroom, and to keep students maturing in reading ability it’s important to give them stories and different means of engagement that inspire them to read more.
3. Keep the spark alight
Lighting the spark and keeping the fire lit requires a fine balance of building intrigue and maintaining interest. Keep your students excited about reading by creating shared experiences.
- Form book clubs by splitting the class into smaller groups. Each week they can share their thoughts on what they have read so far and where they think the story will go. Mix it up with activities and ask students to ‘guess’ the ending by writing their own version. They can compare each others’ perspectives and have fun in seeing who was right.
- Create echo circles to aid development in reading fluency. Read a piece of the story aloud and ask the class to imitate your tonal expression as they echo back in unison. Hearing words expressed helps students to comprehend meaning. Take it a step further and get students excited by turning them into the characters - divvy the class up into smaller groups to read the part of one character, as the class tells the story together. This technique ensures students do not have to feel anxious at reading out loud on their own, but still facilitates the development benefits linked to shared story reading - learning correct tonal expression, hearing different perceptions and increasing word familiarity.
4. Inspire with imaginative activities
The more a student reads, the more words they learn, the more automatic their minds become in recognising words, and the more they mature in their level of understanding. Writing activities can be combined with reading time to allow students to formulate their thoughts and spark their inner author.
- Review a story & create your own spin - ask students to write a book review, a short story follow up, or an alternative ending - this helps them to put down their thoughts and understand what they have read.
- Rewrite from another perspective - ask students to rewrite a chapter from the perspective of a different character to get them to think perceptively from different viewpoints.
- Turn the story into a play - ask students to turn the story into a play or a news article so they can discover different forms of content.
- Find your favourite author - help keep students inspired by encouraging them to look up different authors and their motivations behind their stories to help them find one they can relate to.
5. Use tools to help create avid readers
There are a variety of tools to help you create a learning environment which includes all types of readers, keeps interest with differentiated reading, and promotes comprehension. Hear from a series of experts, Christine Pinto, Tim Rasinski, and David Paige, as they share tips, tricks and online tools in our recorded webinar series on reading fluency.