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5 Really Good Reading Ideas for the Elementary Classroom

Juvenile Non-fiction - May 2010

Image by Pesky Library via Flickr

Sometimes all you need is that one new lesson idea to launch a whole host of creativity. When some of our Really Good Teachers share their best ideas, you know you are bound to find ones that will work for you. Check out the tips for nurturing a love of reading in your students from teachers just like you.

Give Kids Reading Role Models Who Live Close to Home

“At the beginning of the year it’s a great idea to demonstrate that reading is important for everyone – even and especially for parents,” says Amy, a 2nd and 3rd Grade Teacher from Zanesville, Ohio. “In addition to preparing reading surveys for the students to complete, we also prepare and send home a similar survey for the parents. We ask parents to tell what they read now, what time of day they like to read, and what they liked to read when they were little. We have even had the parents send in pictures of them reading when they were children. We then invite the parents to visit our class so they may read books to the class. By viewing their parents as readers, the kids become more motivated to become avid readers themselves!” TIP: Use this idea when you start back to school in January after the winter holidays.

Unique Read-Aloud Program Brings the Community Caring into the Classroom

“To promote a lifelong love of learning, and to emphasize the importance of community involvement in school, we have developed a “Guest Reader” program,” explains Leigh, a 1st and 2nd Grade Teacher from Troy, Ohio. “The program is as simple as crafting and sending out a letter inviting people to participate; I am always genuinely surprised and appreciative of the amount of support I receive.

Photo by RachelH_ (flickr.com)

Community members (e.g., fire fighters, police officers, city government officials, cafeteria workers, school administrators, businessmen and women, etc.) are often willing and eager to give of their time as Guest Readers by sharing their favorite children’s book with our class. So that we may learn more about each of our Guest Readers’ jobs, as well as how education helped them further their careers, we prepare questions for our guest to answer.

This program provides a wonderful opportunity for children to practice manners, listen, communicate with adults, and prepare a follow-up thank you letter. It’s also a great opportunity to compile annotated photos of each visit into book format for the classroom library.”

Celebrate Reading with Character Doubles

Sheila, a 2nd Grade Teacher in Fairport, New York brings books to life for her students! “Each November I plan a “Dress-Like-a-Character Day” to celebrate National Book Week. Students must each read a book, choose a character from that book, make a list of the traits and qualities of that character, and then write a short report as if the student was that character. For the presentation, students dress like the character, act like the character (using props if desired) and pose for a photo that’s added to a bulletin board display, along with a character trading card, filled with information on the character. My students’ favorite part is seeing their teacher dressed like characters ranging from Miss Frizzle to Corduroy! It is a great way to promote reading and it is fun!”

Weekly Club Encourages “Book Talks!”

Photo by Dartmouth Public Libraries (flickr.com)

“At my school, I’ve established a Weekly Book Club designed to inspire and excite students about recreational reading,” says Dee, a 1st Grade Teacher in Galesburg, Illinois. “Each week, club members take home a book, read it independently, and, after a week passes, return it to the class. Before selecting new books, we spend about 20-30 minutes discussing the one we just read. Students who used to be reluctant readers now look forward to participating in our Weekly Book Club.”

Paper Chains Build Literacy Connections

Jennifer, a 4th Grade Teacher from Egg Harbor, New Jersey, links literacy together for her students! “To help my students connect with the stories, chapters, passages, and poems we are currently reading together, I revisited the classic paper chain craft project and recast it as our ‘Literacy Links Chain.’ I used my computer to create paper strips printed with directions and spaces for students to record their names, the literature source they chose, plus an invitation for them to relate their connection to the literature. I collect the completed papers and read each one aloud. We then loop the links together and fasten in place to create a chain of Literacy Links. We display the chain around the walls of our room and add to it all year long.”

What are some of your best reading lesson ideas?

Leave a comment and share them with us below!


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4 comments
Joanne M.
Joanne M.

Thanks for sharing such wonderful ideas. What a great way to get parents more involved.

Twila claycomb
Twila claycomb

Thank you for the great ideas. Getting parents involved so early in the school year in their children's work, and especially reading, is so important. I especially liked the idea to have parents fill out a survey of their own reading habits, and books they liked as children. This will hopefully motivate them to try to locate those favorite books and read them to their own children. That is what heritage is all about.

Rhonda P.
Rhonda P.

I am the Math teacher, but I like for my homeroom students to participate in the Scholastic Reading programs yearly. This year we are participating in the PAWS for Reading program. For every 20 minutes logged in, Scholastic donates one book to those in need. They have donated over 1,000,000 books so far! My students are so excited to be helping out those who need books!

Susan
Susan

We partner our grade 4-5 students as reading buddies with the kindergarteners. They are great 'local' role models and it is also a wonderful time to teach character education. The "big" kids love it as much as the little ones.