Encouraging Positive Attitudes About Reading

Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany has taught special education in grades PK-5 and has a master's degree in special education.

We can all agree that reading is essential for our students. How do we help them develop positive attitudes towards reading? This lesson contains a number of ideas to get you started promoting positive reading attitudes in your classroom.

Attitudes Towards Reading

How do your students view reading? Do they view it as a chore or a bore? Do they understand the excitement of getting lost in a good book and the value of having access to vital information that can improve their lives?

As a first step to promoting positive reading attitudes in your students, you might want to assess their current reading attitudes. What do they think about reading? Ideally, you can conduct individual interviews with each student. If time is short, you can also consider giving the students surveys to fill out. Look at the image for some sample questions as you prepare your interviews or surveys.

Sample Interview Questions
interview questions

Classroom Environment

In order to encourage students to read, you need to have ample reading material available. Make sure to have quality literature. Once you have surveyed your students about their interests, make every effort to acquire books, magazines, and articles on high interest topics at a variety of reading levels. Make connections with local libraries and other organizations that might help. Work with your school's librarian or computer teacher to help students find appropriate online articles on topics of interest.

Another facet of the classroom environment is creating a comfortable reading space. Make a corner where students can sit with a book to enjoy quiet reading time, and make that area accessible at a variety of times throughout the day.

Classroom Norms

Make an effort to actively and obviously value reading in your classroom. Students need adult models of good reading behavior, so talk about books you are reading. Ask students about books they are reading, and encourage sharing. Invite other adults to the classroom periodically to recommend a book or read aloud to the class.

Remember to provide struggling readers with the opportunity to succeed. Help them to make connections between their reading and their own lives and prior knowledge.

Create an interactive display in the classroom where students can add elements from their reading. For example, Mrs. Connelly has a quote board where students post their favorite quotes from their reading. Once a week, she asks students who have added quotes to share their quote and give a brief explanation of why they liked it.

Celebrate your students' reading. Mr. Matthews and his class hold a literary themed party on the first Thursday of every month. They may have a special snack or do a special activity related to a book that most of the class has read. Last month, several students read The Secret Garden, so the class planted flower bulbs outside of the school.

Classroom Reading Activities

Consider scheduling a daily or bi-weekly period of independent reading. In addition to students spending time reading books of their choice, an independent reading session can also include some of the following elements.

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