“Literacy unlocks the door to learning throughout life, is essential to development and health, and opens the way for democratic participation and active citizenship.”
—Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations
1. Make time for reading!
Though it may seem like an obvious suggestion, this one is incredibly important. In order for reading to really become ingrained into your scholars every day habits, make sure to establish a certain period of time when your scholar knows that he or she must read. By establishing a routine time to read, your scholar can look forward to a reserved reading time and will in turn encourage them to take initiative in choosing reading material that interests them. If you like, integrate this habit into activities you already do, like having your scholar read on the way to and from school, during snack time or 30 minutes before bed.
2. Accountability matters.
Aside from simply asking your scholar to read, it is important to hold them accountable for what they read. By doing this, you’re checking to make sure that your scholar is understanding the things they read. You can verify their understanding and boost their confidence by showing genuine interest in what they’re reading and asking questions. Rather than logging hours, have your scholars track their reading by writing down interesting or inspiring thoughts or quotes that they pick up each time they read. By taking an active role, you’re not only checking comprehension but you’re helping flex your scholars’ analytic and summarization skills. The point is to make sure that your scholar is truly engaging with what they read.
3. Create opportunities to interact with literature.
Make it easy for your scholars to get their hands on some reading material! Constantly introduce your scholar to literacy rich environments. There are many ways to do this that don’t necessarily require you to constantly purchase books. Look for ways to take advantage of the many resources offered on your campus. You can download a vast array of e-books onto a tablet, visit your local library for physical copies, or purchase books at bookstores or book fairs.
4. Lead by example.
Set the precedence. “Children learn an incredible amount from the adults around them, so seeing a parent reading for leisure is a great motivator for children.” Says Monica Warren, Elementary Curriculum Coordinator. This is especially effective with young scholars but you can also influence older scholars in the same way. Make reading a family activity by merging it with everyday activities. If a book has been made into a movie, make it a point to read the book before you see the movie or encourage your scholars to create a book club with their friends. A love of reading can be made especially contagious if everyone around them is doing it as well.
5. Encourage personal choice.
Encourage your scholars to read what they are really interested in. Whatever their passions are, be it sports, fantasies, or biographies make it clear to your scholars that they should read things that really interest them. “Let your scholar read their favorite book over and over and over again if they want to.” says Monica. In turn, scholars will be more likely to pick up a book of their own accord. This could also inspire an interest that they may want to pursue in college and ultimately as a career!