12 Ways of Promoting Reading at Home
Having well-developed literacy skills is so incredibly important in a person’s life. Being able to read and understand what we’re reading, are skills we all use every day whether that involves reading a street sign, the new user manual for your microwave, or a newspaper. Millions of people in the United States still struggle with literacy, and a large number are considered illiterate. The amount of reading that occurs in school is not enough to ensure students are getting enough reading practice. That’s why it’s so critical for students to actively engage in reading at home. Students who read at home are generally more likely to be at grade level for reading, and also develop a lifelong passion for, and habit of, reading for pleasure.
With students’ and parents’ busy schedules, promoting reading at home can sometimes fall to the back of the priority list. However, the benefits of participating in at-home reading can’t be ignored. The following are some ideas for encouraging and engaging in at home reading on a regular basis:
- Enlist parent support with reading logs, letters home about it, e-mails, etc. When parents are continuously reminded about something, or given a specific responsibility (like signing off on a reading log), it increases the chance that they will make it a priority.
- Help parents out by allowing certain classroom books to be checked out and taken home (in case there’s no access to books at home), send home lists with book suggestions, and encourage book orders from Scholastic/book fairs/etc.
- Create a bulletin board that encourages students to read outside of school. Maybe set one up where students can post something about books they’ve read at home, books they suggest their classmates read, etc. Having a visual reminder about reading (as well as an interactive bulletin board) will encourage the students to keep reading on their own.
- Create a system to reward at-home reading. It could be getting to check out an extra library book, getting a new book, doing a class read-aloud, receiving a book gift card, etc.
- Talk to students about books you’re reading at home. This tells them that you are practicing what you preach, and that it’s important for adults to read at home too!
- Discuss with students why it’s important to read at home/outside of school. Students are more likely to engage in reading at home when they know how it will benefit them.
- Be genuinely interested/carve out time for students to share what they’ve been reading at home. Maybe choose two or three different students each day to share what they’ve read at home that week.
- Keep visual reminders of how often the students are reading at home. It can be a chart, jar filled with marbles, etc. Having something they can see and keep track of their progress on will keep them motivated to keep reading.
- Start encouraging reading at home early in the school year so it becomes a habit right away. If a child is used to being expected to read for 15-20 minutes every day after school, it becomes a habit and part of their routine.
- Enroll them in reading clubs from your local library, a website, group, etc. that promotes, encourages, and rewards reading out of school. Being a part of something like this will help keep them accountable for their reading, and they’ll be excited for whatever the rewards/prizes involved are.
- Engage in Reader’s Theatre at home as a family. Have the whole family read a book and then assign parts, make props/costumes, and act it out as a family. There are lots of great ideas for Reader’s Theatre online, or ask your child’s teacher for advice. Your child will love the opportunity to do something fun and creative as a whole family.
- Make everyday reading something that the whole family does. Read to your child, have your child read to you, let them see you reading a newspaper, or a chapter of your own book. When the whole family participates, it helps keep the child motivated.
Photo Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons and Porsche Brosseau
About Hannah T
I am a 2010 graduate with a degree and certification in Elementary Ed., and I have worked with students from birth to junior high. I believe that one of the most important qualities to surviving a teaching career is a sense of humor. I also strongly feel that students are most successful when they are active and hands-on learners. My Mom was a Special Ed. teacher for almost 30 years, and my Dad was an English major, so I enjoy bouncing blog ideas off the two of them. This usually results in an exchange of great stories with my Mom, and a correction in my writing from my Dad. When they're not available, the job falls to my rescue dog, Coozie.