Throughout my high school career, I’ve met a lot of kids that hate reading. But why? I always wondered about this. I’ve loved reading from a young age because that is what my parents taught me. But some kids don’t have that experience with their parents and instead learn what they know about reading from school.
But . . . school is terrible for reading. As someone who’s loved reading from before I got into school, I can tell you that reading in school is an absolutely terrible experience. Although, there are some things teachers can do to minimize that, and we’re going to go through those today.
1. Book reports are awful.
Okay, I know book reports are a tool teachers use to make sure their students are actually reading books, but trust me, even for us book lovers, they are tedious. If you absolutely have to use a book report, make it simple and fun, instead of an essay or something similar. If the kids hate doing the book report, they won’t read the book. The teacher could have them write a condensed version of the story, or have them put together a mini production of the book: whatever makes it more creative and fun.
2. Let students choose their own books.
In elementary school, my teachers would require us to read a certain genre of book at a time. It was not fun. I understand they were trying to make sure the students read a lot of genres to find what they like, but if you force kids to read a genre they don’t like, say, nonfiction (for me), they’ll think all books are like that, and they won’t ever want to read.
3. Make required reading fun.
High school curriculum requires certain books to be read. I read 12 Angry Men, the Crucible, How to Kill a Mockingbird, Fahrenheit 451, and many more in high school. Most of my teachers used the audiobook method. Instead of reading to us, they’d let a recording read to us. It was incredibly boring and took ten times longer than it would have normally. Since I’m a fast reader, I could have read the book two times over in the time it took my class to read it once. It was enough to make me want to fall asleep in class.
One method a few of my teachers used was playacting. Instead of simply reading the book or having it read to us via audiobook, they would assign us roles every day, and we would act out the book, with the teacher reading the narration. It was a fun way to read and learn, and it made the time pass faster. Teachers could use that idea or others to make the required reading more interesting.
4. Have books in the classroom.
A couple of my teachers had personal libraries we could borrow from, books the teacher had read and knew were good. Also, if the teacher has good books on hand, there’s a high chance the students, bored, might pick one up and start reading. Maybe that will light the fire of reading for a lifetime.
5. Recommend books to your students.
One of my teachers in high school would recommend a book to us after every class period. She would read an excerpt from the book, tell us about the author, and sum up the beginning of the plot. Surprisingly, I found quite a few good books this way; some of the books she used sounded interesting to me, so I read them. This one goes hand in hand with the last tip. When a teacher recommends a book, it would be best if they had a copy of it for the students to borrow.
And there you have it, five tips for teachers to make reading more enjoyable for their students. I hope these help teachers get the next generation just as addicted to reading as I am.