Make 2015 a year of reading: 5 projects to start and schedule now

We know the advantages of getting our students to read so let’s use the motivational power of the new year to make 2015 a year of reading. Here are some easy-to-follow tips to help you set up a reading programme in class.

Here are 8 working tips:

  • do conscious planning;
  • create reading opportunities;
  • find inspiration in the school community;
  • consider your students’ individual interests;
  • be consistent;
  • dedicate time to extensive reading;
  • use exciting and varied materials;
  • set up a class or a school library of colourful, illustrated and approriate reading materials.

Now let’s see what you can start doing right now.

1 Set reading goals

Although extensive reading is an activity that should be free from limitating rules,  goals can be motivational in every aspect of our lives. Encourage your students to set their own reading goals, and set examples by sharing your own reading objectives for the year. Let your students get inspired by popular book lists.

Visualize your and your students’ reading goals, and record your achievements. You will feel proud to look at your reading calendar or planner at the end of each month or term and see how much you have accomplished. Ask your students to plan reading a book or chapter (graded reader, graphic novel, short story) each month.

2 Reading groups

If we want to consolidate our reading with speaking, it is best to create reading groups. You don’t necessarily have to be part of their discussions, let the students talk about their reading experiences together. Ask them to form groups based on their interests, or maybe you can suggest that four people with very different interests form  a group. At the end of each month give some time and space to these groups to chat about the books they have read, choose the one they like the most, and recommend it to others in the class. One sure way to make this work is by sticking to a schedule and monitoring their reading progress.

3 Reading Marathon Day

Give your students something to look forward to, and organise a Reading Marathon. The more people who take part, the better so get as many of your colleagues and classes involved. The enthusiasm will really get your studemts fired up. Read our post on organising a Reading Marathon for more ideas.

4 Get ready for seasonal and special events, film releases and authors’ birthdays.

If you follow this Blog or our Facebook Page, you will get weekly updates on cultural, literacy and popular events worldwide. Linking lessons or even single activities to a current event is motivating both for teachers and students. It makes classroom activities more real and gives our projects a nice framework, allowing students to become more aware of the world outside their course books and classroom walls.

5 Book Clubs

If you want extensive reading to be a really successful learning tool, you need to provide space and time for your students to connect speaking, writing and listening with their reading. If you also want it to be an easy and fun activity, you should start a Book Club where you can activate different language skills through entertaining activities and real discussions. Reading for pleasure is great, but discussing experiences, sharing opinions and expressing feelings about a book all have invaluable benefits in your students’ language development.

Book Clubs take some time and thinking to organize, but once they are set up, you will be rewarded with the results. Here are some free resources which will help you cut back on prep and make the most of your book club sessions  for the months to come.

Remember to come back next week for more on Book Clubs – we will have a special post!

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