The title probably seems more than obvious to many of us, but do you really show your students that you are a reader? How, exactly? Teachers as readers. Yes, we really do have more power over our students’ reading than we realize. Read on to learn more!
Let me say that I was guilty of not doing this. Yes, I would have occasional conversations with students and tell them what I loved about a book. However, these conversations often seemed to take place with small groups of students. And I can remember the first time I told a class that I didn’t like the Harry Potter series. You would have thought their world was coming to an end! (That one actually ended up working in my favor because many of my students who had read it started defending it. Then students who had never touched the books decided they might be worth a try.)
Anyway – off track – my point is that I needed to get better about showing students that I read. So I started a “Look What the Teacher’s Reading” spotlight.
The kids love looking at what I’m reading. AND – they hold me accountable. They all know that I track their book and what page they’re on each time we conference, so they’ve started looking at what I’m reading. (fyi – start using a sticky bookmark, as regular ones may accidentally be knocked out as students look at the book *just some experience talking*)
One student noticed that I’d read 2-3 of the same genre. She said, “You tell us to try different genres. Do you?” Darn. Caught at my own game. That’s when I knew it was time to switch it up a bit. I’m not a big fan of fantasy books, but I grabbed one out of my library and read it. The students were so excited! Kiddos who had never read a fantasy book before decided to try it since I had. And when I read a biography, many of them did too! I know I shouldn’t be amazed at the “power” I have in my students’ reading, but I am. And I love that I am impacting them in such a powerful way!
Another thing I make sure to do is really show them the types of books I’m reading. This school year I read everything from Junie B. Jones (to show my 4th/5th/6th graders that sometimes our brains want to read something easier for a break) to professional teacher books to the books my students are currently raving about (sometimes I even had a magazine or two for good measure!). Showing the students that I’m actually a reader, and that even I forget to take my book home some nights, made them better readers as well!
My ultimate goal was to create a fancy little shelf in the classroom to highlight the book/s I was reading. As you can see, that didn’t happen. However, it was still effective! =)
Hopefully this simple trick works for you. I know how hard it can be to take the time to read during the school year with the other 1,001 things going on at any given moment, but I hope that doesn’t stop you! Pick up a book and read to motivate your students (and possibly your own children as well)!