Our school has a strong reading culture,but in recent years our secondary students were reading less. Books have a hard time competing with technology, homework and social lives, so our teachers knew something had to be done. Last year we made it our mission to reignite our students’ passion for reading. We made a number of small but effective changes – taking away reading logs, setting personalized reading goals, giving students time for independent reading, sharing our love of books, and modelling, modelling, modelling. In a short time, we turned things around and kids were crazy about reading again. (You can read about our process here and here.)
Now our goal is to keep that energy going. Our 11th and 12th grade Language Arts teacher, Jean, came up with a number of ways to start the reading year off with a bang:
Jean wanted to advertise the books we have in our library and came up with a great idea. She asked teachers to come in and make short videos about their favorite books. She then uploaded these to YouTube and created a QR code for each one using a QR code generator: http://www.qrcode-monkey.com/.
Jean made mini posters with the book covers and the QR codes beneath them. She hung these around the classroom so that using a QR reader app on their smartphones, students could easily watch the book talk video for any book that interested them.
Introducing new books
Putting our new books on a table and letting the kids browse through them really got the reading juices flowing! Seeing the looks on their faces, listening to the conversations (Hey look at this one. Have you heard of it? It’s supposed to be great!) we knew they were hooked.
As a way to help her students get to know the books in her classroom library, Jean set up a scavenger hunt. It was wonderful to see kids browsing through the books, sharing titles with each other, and jotting down titles they were eager to read.
Knowing that her students need to see her as a reader, Jean put up a poster with the reading she had done over the summer.
Making reading the most important thing we do
Watching Jean’s students in action, I know she’s creating life-long readers… and isn’t that the goal of every Language Arts teacher?