Many students across the country are adjusting to a new school “normal” — some are in classrooms with a limited number of peers, others are at home 24/7, and others are somewhere in between. Because of these overwhelming changes, it can be difficult for students to find the motivation to read independently.
So how can educators support their students and encourage them to read more? Here are five strategies you can use to motivate your students — whether at school or at home — to engage with reading.
As we all know, students enjoy reading most when they can read topics that interest them. Students also love connecting with their friends over shared interests. Have your students engage with their peers — such as through a class book club — to share what their favorite reads have been. You can even create a running class list, using it to recommend different types of reading to your students throughout the year. By encouraging independent reading (or even reading with friends), students will engage more with reading.
While some readers (myself included) love the feeling of cuddling up with a great book and turning each page, anxiously awaiting to see what happens next, some of your students may not feel that same enjoyment from a physical book. E-books and audio books could be the key to motivating and engaging these types of readers. An e-book platform, such as Epic, allows readers to explore a wide variety of books and genres on their own devices, while listening to an audio book (check out Tales2Go) provides many mental and physical benefits for students. Providing students with options on how they can read and letting them choose the best tool for themselves can motivate them to read more.
Strategy 3: Collaborate with Your Local Public Library
Students typically engage with their local public library most during the summer, especially to participate in summer reading challenges. However, given the new normal, students and families are using public libraries more throughout the school year for books, resources, and content. Collaborating with your local public library will open new ways for you to engage with your students, such as setting up a combined school year reading challenge. You can even join in on one of our sponsored reading challenges, like the Back to School Challenge! Invite families, community members, and district leaders to participate as well. By working together, you can create a culture of reading in your community.
Strategy 4: Make Reading Fun with Goals and Challenges
Many students stop engaging with reading because somewhere along their journey, it became less fun. Reading challenges are an awesome way to make reading fun for your students! Using Beanstack, you can continue to engage students with reading — whether in the classroom, over virtual meetings, or somewhere in between. Our fun, enriching, and custom reading challenges motivate students to read more and build a love of reading. Plus, Beanstack allows you to gain valuable insights into your students’ reading habits, progress, and achievements.
Reading challenges also allow you to give students a reading goal. Studies have shown that students who set reading goals read 35 percent more minutes than their peers who do not set reading goals. With Beanstack, your students will be able to track their progress towards their goals and interact with their peers through our new Friends and Leaderboards.
Strategy 5: Encourage Families to Read Together
You know the old saying, “teamwork makes the dreamwork”? Well, now more than ever, children need their families to be a part of the reading experience. Readers do not need an elaborate tracking system at home; simple activities can be incorporated into the family’s daily routines. Think about dinner time conversations: instead of asking, “How was school today?”, encourage families to ask, “Who was the BEST character you met today?” Going a step further, prepare families to answer their own questions, inviting their child to learn about the book they are reading. Finally, students are not the only individuals in a house who should be reading. Encourage your families to set aside time each week to read together. Whether reading a book, a sports article, or an interior design blog, children need to see that their families value reading too!
Remember, throughout this school year, you are not alone! Connect with your colleagues, local library, families, and the Beanstack team to share best strategies and practices for motivating your students to read more. Happy reading!