|Superior Strategies to Encourage Reading and Enhance Comprehension
by Victoria, a primary school teacher.
How do you define yourself as a reader?
Are you an avid reader who reads every chance you have outside of work? Or would you rather define yourself as more of a newspaper or magazine reader? Just like us, every one of our students possesses different reading interests. Not every student is realistically going to devour every single Harry Potter book or excitedly head over to your classroom library to peruse the historical fiction books about World War II. Additionally, not every student is going to understand every word he or she reads. Their fluency or prosody may be strong, but their comprehension may be a struggle.
Here are some ways you can make reading better for your students and enhance their comprehension in the process:
GENRE EXPOSURE / GRAPHIC NOVELS
First, expose your students to several genres and styles of literature. Writers use different tones when they write specific genres, particularly historical fiction. It is interesting to study word choice used in descriptions, dialect, and implied feelings through quotations. Keep your classroom library rich with literature; this year, I have found it particularly useful to organize the books by categories in bins. For those students interested in A Series of Unfortunate Events, for example, they have ventured to read other similar books by searching through the bins of fantasy books. They have also become interested in particular authors; I have heard a few students in conversation saying these exact words, \"I want to head over to the Andrew Clements bin because I like his style of writing.\"
Show your students that there are so many non-fiction books that connect to what they are learning in science and social studies.
Besides that, it is imperative that you read to your students often.
BECOME A MAGAZINE COLLECTOR
The only magazine my classroom subscribes to is Scholastic Storyworks, yet I have also acquired issues of OWL, Ranger Rick, Boys\' Life, National Geographic Kids, National Geographic Explorer, and more through Friends of the Library sales, thrift stores, and other teachers. Acquiring magazines in your classroom can help engage students who are not enthusiastic about reading longer books. Additionally, magazines are full of text features that can help your students to become great \"previewers.\"
Scholastic Storyworks, in particular, has online resources that you can use in conjunction with the articles in the magazine.
ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO RESPOND TO LITERATURE IN VARIOUS WAYS
Encourage students to respond to literature in a variety of ways. Sometimes give them the freedom to make a choice about how they respond to literature. Other times, you may desire for them to do something specific. Encourage your students to become writers, and prove to them that you are a writer as well!
WHY, OH WHY, OH WHY?
Are your students curious? All right, that wasn\'t the greatest question. Students obviously are curious about many topics. Have them develop \"why\" questions and encourage them to type in their questions to Google.com or another search engine to find answers.
ONLINE FIELD TRIPS
Taking online field trips, too, develops schema.
\"ROLE MODEL\" IS THE WORD
Encourage your students to become role models by starting a Book Buddies program with a younger class. My students have been Book Buddies with a kindergarten class since the fall of 2005. When we head to Book Buddies once a month (as much as twice a month), my students read a variety of literature, encourage the kindergarten students to write with details, teach them science concepts, and complete hands-on math activities with them. We always try to accompany our lessons with some sort of literature connection. Though my students are not reading books on their level when they read to the younger students, they learn how to be teachers and find ways to help their kindergarten students to understand what they are explaining to them.
Adapted from Scholastic.com