In India, making the choice to read for leisure as opposed to reading to gain knowledge is frowned upon. The very act of reading is seen as “wasteful”. But the benefits of reading far outweigh the demerits.
For the young, reading helps them expand their vocabulary, improves their ability to focus and concentrate and improves their analytical thinking skills.
For the old, reading stimulates the brain, reduces stress, and expands ones’ horizons. And yet, reading is a critical skill that many of our students lack.
Here are 7 ways in which you can instill a love for reading in your students.
1. Get rid of the myth that reading is something that only people who enjoy English do- Reading is somewhat negatively associated with a student’s ability to perform well in the subject English. Let your students know that anyone can read. All you need to possess is the desire to read. Talk to them about the different kinds of books that are available with regard to the subjects that you teach.
2. If you read, then so will your students – You cannot motivate your students to read if you don’t read yourself or enjoy the act of reading. Talk to your students about your favourite books, favourite magazines, newspapers etc. Talk to them about the type of books or articles that you enjoy reading or the subjects you enjoy reading about. You can even read out passages from your favourites books or articles in class. Invite your students to share their favourite books or articles with you. The more you share, the more motivated students are to read.
3. Reading is the only way to understand a book – Reading is not something everybody enjoys because it can get taxing if you don’t have the patience or the interest in looking at a few hundred tiny words on a page. For some children, sitting still and quietly reading is quite simply very hard. But there is an alternative: audiobooks. You can find audiobooks by the dozen online. Or you can even borrow them from your local library and play them during class. That way your students can enjoy books without having to read them.
4. To Write Better, Read More And Vice Versa – Reading and writing are kind of inexorably intertwined. You cannot do one without being good at the other. It is completely another thing though that you may not enjoy either reading or writing. But assuming you want your students to write better, than tell them that reading is the only way to improve. If you want your students to read better, then ask them to write more.
5. Don’t Follow The ‘Must-Read Absolutely’ Book Lists – A lot of book lists’ list seminal classes that remain popular to this day and age. However, it does not mean that your students might nessecarily enjoy reading them. Don’t force your students to read classics, not unless they want to. You can however drum up interest reagarding those classics and maybe your students might enjoy reading them.
6. Have Reading Challenges – While reading is not a competitive activity, you could turn it into one if you want to ensure that your children are reading. Make sure you test them on what has been read afterwards, so that there is no smart aleck who skips to the last page and says that they are all done.
7. Make The Library A Welcoming Place – Most libraries are not fun places to be, especially in school. You are given a book to read regardless of whether you are interested in reading it or not. Instead of dreading library periods because it means absolute silence and a book in which the student has no interest, students should enjoy visiting the library be it for doing some research or reading for leisure. When it comes to library periods, give students five minutes to pick a book of their choice and allow them to read in relative silence. Before the period ends, make them close their books and allow them to talk to each other. Let them know that the library will always be open to them, as long as they have free time and are not missing any other classes.
How do you get your students to read? Do you think reading is an important skill to cultivate? Share your suggestions and opinions with us in the comments section below!