How do you teach reading skills? Really Good Teachers from around the world shared their favorite techniques for developing a love for reading in their students. Their ideas range from everything from building fluency to increasing comprehension skills. Take a look at the ideas below and leave your suggestions for teaching reading in the comments below. We’d love to know how you teach reading skills too!
Reading Teaching Tips
Fierce Reading Fluency
Kids love to sing and Teresa, a 1st Grade Teacher from Cincinnati, Ohio, taps into their love of performing to increase reading fluency. Check out how she lets students unleash their inner performers!
“To work on developing reading fluency we set up a “low tech” hallway “recording studio.” The studio consists of a desk and chair with recording equipment: a tape recorder, headphones, blank cassettes, and a microphone. The studio is surrounded by a cardboard study carrel. The children read their books into the recorder and play back to see how they sound. Thanks to this simple idea, I have seen vast improvement in reading fluency. And, from time to time, I have been surprised to hear some great singing from “Idol Wannabes” as well!”
Catch Them Reading
Sometimes, secretly (or not so secretly!) celebrating students’ behavior is the best way to motivate them. This idea came from Devorah, a 1st Grade Teacher in Spring Valley, New York, who knows that a little mystery goes a long way in behavior management!
“My students had not been visiting our classroom library as often as I would like them to. So, to get students more interested and excited about our classroom library, I made up little awards that say:
“SHHH! It’s a secret! ______was caught in our library! I wonder what the book was about.”
The award features a picture of a detective. This award idea has definitely prompted more visitors to the library, as well as more discussion about books borrowed and read.”
Use Skits and Songs to Foster Fluency
Foster fluency with this fun idea by Linda, a 5th/6th Grade Teacher, from Fort Morgan, CO. “When focusing on fluency, I have children pair up and read aloud from poems and short skits. We also sing songs that correspond with units of study (usually related to social studies and science). I use my doc camera to display the lyrics on the screen and someone points to the words as we sing along. My students’ favorite song this year has been “The Ballad of Magellan.”
Celebrate Super Readers
Celebrate readers with this idea by Jennifer, a 4th Grade Teacher, from Skiatook, OK. “Need a way to celebrate the readers in your room? Why not designate one student Super Reader of the Week? Each week I watch to see when a student is working hard, then choose him or her to be our next Super Reader. During silent reading time, the Super Reader is allowed to sit in my chair or at any other special place he or she chooses. I also send home a reading pencil and certificate to let parents know they are living with a Suuuuuuper Reader!”
Aim for Success
Aim for success with this idea by Cherie, a Teacher, in Hummelstown, PA. “In your Reading Corner, display a large paper bull’s eye complete with paper arrows, each labeled with a child’s name. Then label each ring of the target with a separate step to a reading goal (a number of sight words needed to master, number of books needed to read, etc.) you display in the center of the target. As students complete each step featured in each ring, they move their arrows accordingly in an effort to teach the bull’s eye!”
Boost Reading Comprehension
Save money with this helpful idea by Anna, a 1st Grade Teacher, from Shelby Township, MI. “Story mapping is a great strategy for building reading comprehension. To simplify the process of story mapping, I created an interactive bulletin board that doubles as a giant wipe-off story map. First, I print up the story map elements (title, author, characters, setting, etc.) on computer paper and place each printed element into an individual sheet protector. I then display each “map mat” on my story map bulletin board, along with fun graphics. When the students and I choose a book to map, we use wet erase markers to add details to each story-mapping element. When we are ready to map another story for our bulletin board, we simply wipe mats clean and reuse. (Tip: Sheet protectors can be used for many purposes other than story mapping. For example, try them for turning worksheets into wipe-off practice pages.)”
Create Clever Seating for Reading
Need a clever seating arrangement? Try this fun idea by Christina, a Kindergarten Teacher, in Newport News, VA. “I find that plastic laundry baskets (the low, rectangular kind) are perfect for helping define the number of spaces available in the silent independent reading areas in my class. The baskets are sized just right for little kindergarten readers to sit in. I simply place the desired number of baskets in the center. When the baskets are occupied, students know the reading center is full for now. (Tip: To make certain everyone gets a chance at some basket time, try posting a class list in a plastic page protector along with a wet erase marker. That way, students can cross their names off when done. Also, you can use additional baskets to store books and related activities.)”
Promote Differentiated Reading
“Differentiated reading instruction became easier once I decided to teach my kids how to choose books that are just right for them,” explained Wendi, a 2nd Grade Teacher, from Windsor, CT. “After I’m certain my students know how to select books they can read and enjoy, I schedule time for them to read. (They love reading while sitting on pillows around the room.) By the end of the school year, my 2nd graders are able to read independently for about 45 minutes, allowing me time to meet with guided reading groups or hold individual conferences. There’s also time for “look books” where kids can choose to read and enjoy any book regardless of its level. All this reading is completely differentiated as it’s based on reading levels and individual interests. I believe this approach keeps students motivated, exposes them to more complex text structures, and enables them to share ideas with friends while reading together.”
Use a Karaoke Machine!
Get into the act with this fun idea by Janine, a Title I Reading Teacher, from Pataskala, OH. “I have found that Karaoke is a great way to increase students’ reading fluency and comprehension levels. It’s also the perfect entertainment for your end-of-the-year class party. Karaoke machines are available in a variety of price ranges and have a number of fabulous applications for the classroom. Plus, because the words change colors as you say them, the machines offer important visual stimulation. Here are some tips for incorporating Karaoke into the classroom:
• As you play songs, project the lyrics so students can follow along. Offer students copies of song lyrics to take them home for practice (providing some fun experiences with repeated reading); students can then point to the words in class during performances.
• Ask children to discuss the new vocabulary and feelings that come up when you explore music and lyrics.
• Look for books and DVDs that include captions or sing-along versions to inspire and guide children.
• Experiment with different arrangements of singers. Remember, children love to sing solo, in duets, and in groups.
What are some of your favorite reading activities to do with students? Share them with us below!