Setting students up for independent reading success can be difficult. It requires going beyond opening the book shelf and saying “and go.”
Finding a book (and even curating a list of books) they want to read can be difficult for a teen.
For ways to find books for your students see the bottom of the post.
Here are some ideas to use to help studnets find a book they want to read:
Students share their favourite books in a book talk presentation. This way students are hearing from other students about which books are good reads.
I use the process & handouts outlined in the “Book Talk” assignment.
I use this as a formative activity at the begining of the year and again as a marked assignment later in the semester.
There are tons of book talks (done by teens) on YouTube. This is my favourite: Teen Booktalks – High School
You can also share samples (most novels have these on sites where their books are sold) of novles in your inclass library or school.
Publishers also have samplers, here is Penguin’s sampler of YA novels (includes Patron Saints of Nothing, The Stars and the Blackness Between Them, & more)
First Chapter Fridays are a great opportunity to share great books & get students excited about the books in the class library and give them books to add to their “To Be Read Next” lists (I use these ones from “SMART Goals Reading Works“)
Dont want to read aloud? Find first chapter readings on YouTube or use audiobook versions of the novel. See this curated list from Spark creativity.
Have them write and share micro book reviews.
I use the “Writing a #bookreview” assignment to support this activity.
Check out the blog post “Micro Book Reviews for Book Talks” for examplars.
Students can also share the books they are currently reading via a speed dating activity.
For instructions on how to do this see blog post “Choice Novel Speed Dating in your Secondary ELA Classroom“
If a student already has a genra they like, or a book they have loved in the past, and is looking for a book to read, try finding readalike resources for them.
Google “readalike by ____ (author/genra/book title)” for websites or check with your school librarian for school/board for resources
Here are some great ones that I share:
Prior to covid I had students write down & rate the books they finished during independent reading on poster sized construction paper titled “What We’ve Read in 2021-2022″.
This list of recommendations was posted in the classroom so students could get peer reccomendations when looking for a new book.
Once we went virtual I posted them on a padlet for online accessability
I give students access to curated books lists from various sources including those from:
- @projectlitcomm (on instagram or twitter, but you can also google their list): PowerPoint with book trailers (via twitter: @CarrieFriday)
For more on including diverse texts in your classroom see:
Create competition between students in the same class, between different classes or even across semesters.
Compete based on number of pages read, amount of books read, a scavengerhunt/bingo card with criteria (diverse genras, formats…).
Read more about it in the post “Competition Between Classes Means More Reading“
I hope these strategies help you put great books in the hands of your students.
To get access to books take your kids to the school library, take a field trip to the public library or start curating your own in-class library.
To learn more about how to get books for your students see:
- Finding Books for Your in Class Library
- THE WHY: Diversifying your High School Texts and/or Classroom Library (Part 1)
- THE HOW: Diversifying your High School Texts and/or Classroom Library (Part 2)
Have a creative idea that helps your students? Share on the comments.