Any teacher is familiar with the idea of children who don't want to read. They find the idea boring, useless, or irrelevant to them. As frustrating as it can be, there is hope. Try these seven tips out in your classroom, and show those students just how rewarding reading can be.
1. Lead by example
The first thing you should do is show your students how much you love reading yourself. When it's time for your children to read, don't use the time to grade papers. Instead, let them see you take out a book yourself and enjoy it. Talk about what you're reading, and how you like to read at home. They'll soon see that reading can be for fun, too.
2. Let the students pick what to read
Remember when you were at school, and you had to read something that was picked out for you? It's likely that you didn't enjoy the experience at all. Instead, give your students a range of books to choose from. Because you picked the range, you know they're all appropriate, but the students will love the sense of control they have over their reading choices.
3. Let the students read the whole book first
It sounds counterproductive, but if you're planning to deconstruct and analyse a book, let your students read it properly first. It's frustrating if you're getting into the story and you're being stopped every few pages to discuss it. There's plenty of time to go back over certain passages later on.
4. Invite a local author into the classroom
Ask around and see if there's a local author who'd like to come and talk to your students. It can be fun to hear about what goes into creating a story, and it'll bring books to life for your students. It may even inspire a few to try writing their own stories.
5. Have your students create an e-book
There's no better way to get students interested in books than letting them make one themselves. There's lots of free tools online that can help them write, create and format their own stories into e-book format. Then, they can download them at home to read on tablets and e-readers. It's a great way to show their parents what they've been learning at school, too.
6. Allow your students to dislike books
It's highly unlikely that you've loved every book you've ever read. If your students dislike a book they're reading in class, let them express their distaste for it. If they say they don't like it, ask them to explore why that is. Do they not like the characters? Is the plot too slow for them? Are they unable to relate to it? You'll help them learn to critically dissect a book if you allow them to dislike it.
7. Create a class library
Fill your classroom with books, and your students will be much more willing to read. You can treat it like a proper library with lending times and stamps, and let students take turns being the librarian.
Try these tips out, and you'll find your reluctant readers will soon be ploughing through books like there's no tomorrow.