In a world filled to the brim with technology offering to solve this problem, fix that for you, do everything a million times quicker and generally ‘make your life better’ its easy to loose sight of a more simple time where if you wanted to know something, you would look it up in a book and that would be that.
For children, and indeed teachers, it must be even more overwhelming to succumb to the sea of technology which is engulfing us every single day.
Technology is fantastic, it has transformed our lives and really does make everything seemingly instant and easier in a lot of cases. However this blog is for all you teachers out there who enjoy a good book and includes a few tips on how to keep reading and learning from paper present in your classroom.
- Start a book club
If you’re stuck for ideas then here’s one to get you started; encourage your students to join a book club or even start one yourself.
Book clubs will encourage your class to really get involved, read and discuss their favourite books. It will also set them up for the important skills they may need for analysing text in exams as they grow through school. Book clubs are also very social gatherings, so your class can have fun whilst expressing themselves creatively, it may result in students starting to read and explore literature outside of their preferred or normal chosen genre, it will also allow them to develop their reading ages and opinions about different works. So get going, if there isn’t a book club or group at your school, talk to the head about creating one, its bound to be a big hit.
2. Make a fun themed day out of it where children dress up as their favourite characters
Sometimes to get your class to get into the spirit of something, you have to dress it up a little (literally!).
So why not transform an English class into a fun filled session where your class can come dressed as their favourite character from the book you’re teaching?
Get each pupil to stand up and tell the class why their favourite character is the one it is and maybe even start a debate within the class. It will get your students thinking and will get them thinking about books, characters and plot lines differently. It will also get the class thinking about reading in a more ‘fun’ way and stop them associating it with it being a chore and they may even start reading for fun.
3. Share your own favourite book and have a show and tell
Ask your class to bring in their favourite book and have a show and tell session. Get each child to stand up and present why they like their favourite book, who their favourite or least favourite character is, why they think the plot line is gripping and what makes the book different to any other.
It will inspire passion within your class and get them talking about literature that really matters to them personally. If you have members of your class who really hate reading then an excercise like this may get them interested and wanting to try reading one of their classmate’s favourite books. You could also ask the class what their favourite films or TV programmes are and set a fun task of reading the book version if one exists. Share your own personal best book with your class and join in with your own reasons on why it matters to you as you will then be setting an example and possibly inspiring your pupils with your own enthusiasm.
4. Visit the library
If you are allowed to suggest school trips but are looking locally, try your nearby library. Sure, libraries are facing cuts nowadays due to so many people buying and reading books on kindles but libraries are still very much a part of local community life.
Take your class to one and get them to pick out something to read. You could even recommend a few books for the class to read in small groups. Sometimes a trip outside the school boundaries allows children to get into a completely different frame of mind and they may feel inspired to pick up a book and read. Also in a library, surrounded by books, books and more books, they’ll be pretty bored if they don’t pick up something to read.
5. Encourage revision from books as well as internet
When revising, try to recommend books as well as internet recourses. Yes, the internet is fantastic for past papers, ideas, alternative views and help but sometimes its nice to combine books and incorporate reading into revision too.
You’ve heard people say sometimes you really cant beat a book, and this is true for revision aswell.
Try and incorporate different revision styles as this mix up is likely to get content to stick. Just staring at a computer screen may not be helpful and students might be tempted to have a flick through facebook or twitter however introducing books to their revision timetable may help them focus a little more.
6. Dedicate some time for reading each day
A good way to get your students in the frame of mind to want to read everyday is to set aside some time each day for them to do it in. Maybe some of your pupils would rather be doing something else in their free time than reading as a lot of children associate it with learning and school. However, setting aside some time in the school day to read may lead them to realise that they look forward to that time each day and maybe encourage them to read alone or in their spare time.
Even ten minutes reading time can really encourage your class to pick up books elsewhere and read at home, it doesnt have to be a lot, it just needs to be a start. Set aside a reading slot during form time or start a conversation about yours or their favourite literature. Encouraging daily reading or talking about books, even if it is just a few minutes at the start or end of the day will set them in good stead for the future and might even get them to discover something they can relax and enjoy.
7. Embrace technology
It should be noted however that technology has revolutionised our lives completely and sometimes we should embrace it. Some children for example feel less overwhelmed reading a novel on a kindle rather than a book. When you have a massive novel in your hands, sometimes your brain cant be beothered to even start it as it looks like too much hard work, however something like a kindle is less scary for readers who are starting off a little more reluctant. You can see the actual pages and you are able to loose yourself in the story without worrying how many pages you have to get through. So, if your class are feeling overwhelmed, maybe suggest something like this, or suggest reading apps or reading on their ipads/phones if they would prefer.
These top tips above are sure to invoke enthusiasm in you as a teacher and your class and hopefully swerve them onto a path jam-packed full of books and reading. Loose yourselves in the stories, have fun and inspire each other. Books are a really great thing after all and your class may even find that they’ve discovered a brand new hobby.