But wait, I love that book. Why don’t my students?

I love reading, I love finding a book that hooks me in and has characters that I want to meet in real life. My mum loves reading too but she is on a whole different level. She has learned to speed read and will choose to read over watch TV any day. Growing up, I was surrounded by books. My mum has shelves filled and she made sure to read to me each night. The way she would read Junie B Jones was my favourite. She became Junie B Jones; she would talk with her hands and change her voice to match each character. This would excite me to read books myself, I saw how much enjoyment my mum got out of it and I wanted the same experience. I think if kids see how much happiness reading can bring, it makes them want to try it out as well. I try to read different books to all my classes and read them with love & character voices. I found an app called Novel Effect which adds background sounds to help books come to life. I noticed that this hooked students in and I could read any length of a book to them.

We are also in an amazing time where reading can be available to everyone, with applications like Epic! Students can read books themselves, listen to audio books, or have books highlight and read the words to them. I use Epic! for many students to foster a love for reading, it gives students choice and allows them to find high interest books for themselves. 

In our library last year we created a “Bookstagram” bulletin board for students to take a picture with their book and give a reason why they liked it. Pictures were printed and put onto the bulletin board. I was excited to see even my students who were not avid readers want to read a book to get their photo on the wall. This year with COVID has been challenging, students aren’t coming into our library as much and there is no open book exchange so trying to get my kids to read feels much harder and they aren’t as excited to participate in the #bookselfie.

While looking through different resources for encouraging a school-wide reading program, I found a website that gave a list of 25 ways to promote reading and found that #5 was something I would try to do. “Create a ‘Caught Reading’ Campaign that features Teachers as Readers. Creating a school-wide reading culture is important to promote reading as a lifestyle. Students need to see their teachers as readers. Create posters of teachers and staff reading their favorite books and display them in hallways throughout the schools. You can also produce bookmarks that feature teachers’ favorite book picks to help guide students as they select books for independent reading” (Tyson). I think that this could actually work to promote reading in the library. When I go to chapters and I see a Heathers Pick or a Staff Pick, I will always read the back and the first beginning pages to see if it is something that interests me. I like seeing what interests’ others and by doing this in a school environment, students can choose books by their favourite teachers and then be able to talk about the books. This could be a way to circulate older books that aren’t going out as much as they once were. I created my own teacher recommendation via Canva to try this idea out!

Having interactive bulletin boards in the school hallway is another way to promote school wide reading. One of my favourite bulletin boards that I found was the tournament of books. This encourages students to read books that are on the bulletin board and then they can vote on which one wins each bracket. To make this accessible to all students, I would find books that can be read through Epic!, Audible, or books that classroom teachers would be willing to read to their classes. I think by tweaking it so all students can be a part of the tournament will create a school wide reading program instead of it being only for those who are eager to read. I found a ton of free templates for this on Pinterest but liked the brackets from Katherine Reed. Her school tried a school wide tournament and did a picture book bracket and a chapter book bracket. 

Photo from Katherine Reed

Something else I would love to try to promote a school wide reading program is creating a website or Instagram where I post videos that showcase books that students recommend and read part of the book to hook students in. This would be outside my comfort level but with many students learning from home and having technology at their fingertips, I think that this could be a fun way to interact with students in hopes that they see their recommendation next. 

I think to create school wide reading programs there needs to be eager staff that are willing to put in time and effort to foster the love of reading for students and help them participate in programs that TL’s are trying out. 

References:

Tyson, Kimberly. “25 Ways Schools Can Promote Literacy And Independent Reading.” TeachThought: We Grow Teachers, 2 Oct. 2020, http://www.teachthought.com/literacy/25-ways-schools-can-promote-literacy-independent-reading/. 

Reed, Catherine. “Book Madness: A Tournament of Books.” The Brown Bag Teacher, brownbagteacher.com/book-madness-march-book-display/. 

8 thoughts on “But wait, I love that book. Why don’t my students?

  1. Hi Lacey,

    I don’t know if you’ve ever read Donalyn MIller’s ‘The Book Whisperer’ but I think you would love it. You share many of the same philosophies. I agree with you when say that is important for our students to see us as readers. Many students aren’t surrounded by reading families and/or don’t have parents who are able to read to them at night.

    Sometimes teachers are the only reading role-models some students have, and it is important that we let our students see that. To show them that we are passionate about books, to discuss books we liked and didn’t and to share that part of our identity with them. It is clear that this is something that you live and breathe. Your students are very lucky to have you, and your school as well.

    I loved the notion of a Tournament of Books, I’ve never come across it in this type of context before and I think it is awesome! I also loved the fact that you focused on accessibility and made sure that students of all abilities would be able to participate. I can’t wait to try this someday.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi!

    I love the idea of Instagram or a website to reach students and share books – there are tons of excellent Book Educators on Instagram who you could draw interest from. A few of my favourites are @thebookwrangler, @booksofmelanin, @booksparks, and @kidsbookstagram.

    Novel Effect is also amazing! I use weekly with my upper intermediate students and they love it. Another great online book resource is VOOKS – where the storybooks actually come to life – it’s a great way to incorporate Adrienne Gears Visualize power as you can read the book orally, then go onto VOOKS and read it visually.

    Excellent ideas – and also really like the Tournament of Books idea – I think I might do this for a March Madness spin 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sasha!

      I will look into those Book Educators, I am excited to see the content they post. I have never used VOOKS but it sounds amazing. I am going to look into it tomorrow and see who I can use it with next week! Thank you 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Well done blog post full of good ideas, promotions, examples and resources to help others getting started on this topic. Your personal anecdote of your Mom instilling a love of reading in you really set the stage and offered a powerful example for us all to appreciate. Your interactive boards, recommendations, novel sounds, and others are all very realistic and practical ways to generate some buzz around reading, while sharing and role-modeling the best practices. A great tour through your program and library as well as a glimpse into a solid reading culture in a school.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello,

    I also really liked your idea of the bookstagram and # bookselfie hook. Your LLC sounds like an inviting and exciting place to be. I agree that COVID has really sucked the life out of many programs, teachers, and students this year. However, doing a whole school activity can bring some of that life and spirit back. At one of my schools this year I am leading a school wide mural project. It is an art project where each human in the building gets a tile to paint (restricted colors but they can do their unique pattern) and then when it all comes together it is going to make the world map. Just this small project is creating a bit of excitement and community even though each class is doing their part separately (cohorts). The painting stage is almost finished and I can’t wait to put it all together and be able to show the students the finished work! ( I know that isn’t a library example, but I am also the art teacher).

    Thanks for the ideas for making the LLC programming engaging.

    Andrea K

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Andrea!

      I LOVE the idea of the school mural project. I would love to see some pictures of your project if you have them 🙂 We have done whole art projects with our school in the past but a mural sounds incredible. I may need to subject a whole school project again to bring some positivity back.

      Liked by 1 person

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