20 Ways to Encourage High School Students to Read More

high school student reading list
Masthead Waves

Busy high school students sometimes need more motivation to read as extracurricular activities and social events take center stage. Yet reading is still just as crucial, playing an important role in students’ development and helping prepare them for a successful future beyond the classroom. To help keep high school students engaged in reading, discover 20 effective strategies to motivate them to develop a love for reading and improve their academic performance.

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Create a School Reading Culture

Establishing a reading culture from elementary to high school can inspire students to read more. However, creating a reading culture in school involves fostering an environment where reading is valued and celebrated. Here are some tips to help create a reading culture in your high school:

  1. Set aside dedicated time for independent reading: Incorporate a daily or weekly silent reading period where students can choose books of their interest and read quietly.
  2. Display books prominently: Create attractive displays of books in the library and classrooms to catch students’ attention and pique their interest in reading.
  3. Invite authors and guest speakers: Arrange author visits or guest speaker sessions to inspire students and show them the possibilities of a career in writing or literature.
  4. Incorporate reading into other subjects: Encourage teachers of various subjects to incorporate reading assignments or related texts into their lesson plans, making reading an integral part of the curriculum. 

Even small changes make a big difference. By implementing these strategies, you can create a positive reading culture that motivates high school students to engage with books and develop a lifelong love for reading.


TIP: Encourage students to track the reading they engage in during their classes. This practice fosters a broader understanding of reading beyond the books they choose to read independently.


Utilize Diverse Reading Materials

We know that students tend to read more when given a choice in what they read. By presenting a broad spectrum of reading options, you can cater to the varied interests of high school students to help ensure that every reader finds something that resonates. Here are some ways to use different kinds of reading materials:

  1. Offer a range of genres: Stock the library and classrooms with books from different genres such as mystery, science fiction, fantasy, nonfiction, and more to provide options for every student.
  2. Incorporate multimedia resources: Introduce students to ebooks, audiobooks, and online articles to expand their reading options and accommodate different learning styles.
  3. Include culturally diverse literature: Ensure the reading materials represent diverse cultures and perspectives, allowing students to explore different worldviews and gain a deeper understanding of the world. 
  4. Provide access to magazines and newspapers: Make magazines and newspapers available to students, as these can offer engaging and relevant content on current events, popular culture, and more.

Diversifying reading materials is a great way to meet the individual preferences of high school students. In turn, reading is more enjoyable, and students are inclined to read more. For help organizing classroom books, check out our Classroom Library Connector. This makes it easy for teachers and librarians to maintain library lists and for students to view available titles. 


TIP: Well-organized materials and attractive displays can have a significant impact. Engage student volunteers to assist in “merchandising” reading materials by maintaining order and crafting handwritten reviews on signs for their favorite titles.


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Incorporate Technology in Reading Programs

Students today are more savvy than ever in the world of technology, so why not meet them where they are? Integrating technology into reading programs can enhance students’ engagement. Explore these strategies to incorporate technology in reading programs:

  1. Use e-readers and tablets: Provide access to e-readers and tablets in the library or classroom, allowing students to read digital books and access online reading resources.
  2. Explore educational apps: Recommend educational apps that promote reading skills, vocabulary development, and comprehension to supplement traditional reading materials.
  3. Create online book clubs: Establish virtual book clubs where students can discuss books, share recommendations, and engage in online discussions to foster a community around reading.
  4. Encourage online research: Encourage students to research topics related to the books they are reading, allowing them to delve deeper into the subject matter and make connections to real-world issues.

Harness the power of digital resources. Taking a creative approach and incorporating technology in reading programs can help make reading more interactive, accessible, and enjoyable for high school students. Additionally, with Beanstack, students will enjoy logging their reading. Logging sessions are quick and easy for readers of all ages, and for users that download the app, reading can be logged from anywhere! 


TIP: Set a timer to prevent technology from becoming a distraction and help students stay focused on the task.

Organize Reading Challenges and Incentives

Make reading fun by organizing reading challenges and offering incentives. These are powerful motivators no matter the age or grade level of the reader, inspiring high school students to read more and helping them develop a habit of reading for pleasure. Consider the following tips for organizing reading challenges and incentives:

  1. Set reading goals: Encourage students to set personal reading goals, such as reading a certain number of books or exploring different genres.
  2. Create friendly competitions: Organize reading competitions among students, classes, grade levels, or even students vs. teachers, incentivizing and rewarding those who meet specific reading milestones.
  3. Recognize achievements: Acknowledge and celebrate students’ reading accomplishments through certificates, awards, or public recognition.
  4. Collaborate with local libraries, bookstores, and small businesses: Partner with local libraries or bookstores to provide additional incentives such as free book vouchers or discounts to encourage students to read.

Reading challenges and incentives create a sense of excitement among high school students, encouraging them to read more and engaging them in the process. Use these tips to help high school students grow a love for reading. 


TIP: Reading competitions and small incentives like candy can motivate students who aren’t naturally engaged in reading as they compete with their peers and work together toward a common goal. 


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Promote Book Clubs and Discussion Groups

We know many high school students have busy social calendars, but reading can be social, too! Promoting book clubs and discussion groups can create a social and collaborative reading experience. It allows students to build community, discuss important issues, and develop strong reading habits. Here’s how you can promote book clubs and discussion groups:

  1. Start a book club: Establish a book club where students can meet up and discuss books, share their thoughts, and recommend new titles to each other.
  2. Assign book discussions in class: Incorporate book discussions as part of classroom activities, allowing students to engage in meaningful conversations about the books they are reading.
  3. Facilitate author Q&A sessions: Arrange virtual or in-person Q&A sessions with authors, allowing students to interact directly with the creators of the books they love. 
  4. Encourage peer-led discussions: Empower students to lead their own book discussions and encourage them to explore different themes, characters, and literary techniques.

Promoting book clubs and discussion groups can allow high school students to engage in meaningful conversations about literature and take ownership of their learning. Better yet, students can create reading lists and stay organized in Beanstack. If you are looking for resources on titles for students to select from, Beanstack offers free reading lists created by today’s popular YA authors


TIP: Let students celebrate once they complete their books with a snack or beverage inspired by a character or the theme of the book they just completed. We often hear from our clients how much kids love food!

Inspire Students to Read

Reading is a valuable, lifelong skill, and it is important to continue inspiring high school students to read. Although it may appear challenging, inspiring teenagers to immerse themselves in the world of books is entirely achievable. You can significantly increase reading engagement among high schoolers by leveraging these insights and strategies. Contact our team today to see how Beanstack can support your reading mission. Together, we can help inspire a love for reading in all students.

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