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Encouraging students to read outside of lessons

 

Encouraging students to read outside of lessons

 

Generally, reading brings a significant number of benefits, especially for students who are currently within an important stage of their lives, education. With the distractions of mobile phones, TVs, and game consoles, teachers have struggled to motivate their students to read outside of lessons. Here’s a guide on how to promote an environment which inspires reading more often, and the truly valuable impact it has on the student and their learning.

 

1)    It enriches a student’s creativity.

Reading is an activity which exercises and trains your brain, more specifically, your imagination. Now, just like your body needs exercise daily, so does your brain. It is essential in improving one’s creativity, predominantly through the directly proportional increase of focus and concentration. By reading just a couple lines from a book, you are composing thoughts and opinions, and building an image in your head. The more you read, the better you become at understanding the concepts and ideas the author proposes, which ultimately has a knock-on effect for your creativity.

 

2)    It increases a student’s knowledge and vocabulary.

An academically smart student, the majority of the time, has their vocabulary up to scratch. By continuing to read, the student is discovering new words, phrases and overall grammar, that’ll help benefit the standard of their work within class, and the work they complete at home. By having a large range of vocabulary at their fingertips, they will become a better communicator. Good communication is one of the key skills a successful person possesses, with it producing an improvement and boost in confidence too.

 

Now that we know just a couple of advantages of reading, and their impact on academic progress, how can teachers encourage it?

 

1)    Do in-class reading activities.

This can be done either as a group, choosing one book to read, or having students read individually, both of which have the same effect on their enthusiasm to read outside of lesson. Firstly, this gives less experienced readers a taste of what reading is like, and what benefit it brings. It also allows the less-motivated students to see others doing the reading, therefore they become more motivated to do the same thing. Using the first or last 10 minutes of a lesson dedicated just for individual reading, will design clearer goals for the students, in terms of progressing in difficulty.

 

2)    Book reviews.

These are a great, simple way in getting students more engaged in reading, and expressing how much they enjoyed, or disliked a book. They can be incorporated easily within a lesson. It requires something on the lines of a system, that allows students to read each other’s reviews. Therefore, a small judgement can be made on a certain book, whether they’ll enjoy it, or not. This simple, but effective method is a fantastic way of getting your students to participate in reading activities.

 

3)    Feedback is key.

Although it is important to focus on the less-motivated students, recognising the quality in the top readers of the class also plays a part in maintaining motivation. This can be done through certificates, being rewarded to the top 3,5 or 10 readers of the class. (The top 10 readers who have read the most words is a good example). A certificate for the most improved reader is another way of getting students to try harder to read more. They want to gain these achievements and will therefore put in the effort to. Overall, this is a great way of encouraging friendly competition, whilst also keeping the main goal and reason to why we are doing these activities.

 

A good reader is a good student, and this cannot be stressed enough. Training our students to become better readers has a positive impact on their academic progress. So let’s get our students to pick up a book, and you can see just how well it affects them.