Julie Yaeger is the Executive Vice President at Teaching Channel and a former 1st and 3rd grade teacher who holds a K-12 Reading Endorsement. Here she shares tried and true strategies for getting students to read and write, no matter what the literacy model.
My Top 5 Strategies to Get Your Students to Read and Write:
- Set aside designated time for your students to read.
I set aside time in my first grade classroom starting day one, with three (long and difficult) minutes, but my students eventually achieved stamina for 30 minutes of silent, individual reading by years end. Many adults don’t have that stamina, but my students crushed it! Remember, too- the variety of formats for reading is vast. The format doesn’t matter- just encourage students to read something that fits their interest.
- Read aloud to your students, no matter their age.
Ignore the eye rolls- all students need to hear words being read. It can be online, the newspaper, magazines, or comics; early childhood or high school students: just read aloud. Even older students get excited when they are read to!
- Think alouds!
Share what you are thinking about the passage: what you are visualizing, what questions you have, and what you predict will happen next. This is especially helpful for struggling students who may have difficulty with comprehension.
Then, have your students think aloud about their reading.
Invite students to visualize out loud as they read, including what the characters look like, settings in the text, and any questions or predictions they have. Younger or struggling students can illustrate their thinking on large paper or in a notebook, or students may write notes on sticky notes within the book.
- Students – and you! – need to write daily.
This may look like a few words on a large picture for your younger or students who struggle, or the writing may take place in a designated online or hard copy journal. No need to complicate the process, just get them writing. Sometimes having 1 or 2 writing prompts ready can help students become “unstuck” when they don’t know what to write. Much like #1, help students build writing stamina by slowly extending the time for individual writing. Be sure to also write with your students when they are writing, then share your writing, edits, rewrites, and drafts. Students need to see and understand writing is an ongoing process. By watching adults modeling their own struggles and thoughts you are offering a safe space in which students can be vulnerable.
- Connect with authors.
Nothing gets a student or adult as fired up about books than hearing directly from the author. When you see an author in person, you can’t help but feel a deeper connection and want to dive into all of their works. Kids get that excited, too! Read through this post from We are Teachers for ideas on engaging with authors virtually!
Get creative! Make sure the activities you plan for students are also activities that you would also enjoy. This should not a chore but rather a time of revelation and growth!