Every night, we are asking our students to read at home. As teachers, we want our students to be better readers! But sometimes, this just doesn’t happen. Why aren’t our students reading at home? How can we help them? Read on!
No Access to Books
As teachers, we hope that all homes are full of wonderful collections of books. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. While some students have shelves full of books, other homes might only have a handful (or none at all). It’s hard for a child to become a reader, if they don’t have anything to read.
Especially these days, when children have more access to technology than ever before. The print climate in homes is decreasing faster than ever. Newspapers are rarely delivered to front steps and magazines aren’t showing up in mailboxes anymore. Kids would rather buy a video game at the store than a book. They are more inclined to pick up a phone than a new story.
Don’t Know How
In school, we have a fairly structured reading routine. A time when students know when they should be reading, what they should be reading and where they should be reading. But, what happens when they get home? That structure might not be there. I recently shared a lesson on how to read at home.
Parents Are Unsure
Unlike teachers, parents don’t take a course in how to read aloud to their children. It can be an overwhelming concept, especially as children get older. Parents often think that once a child can read on their own, that’s all they should do. In this post, I delve more into the myths of reading aloud at home.
Too Much Homework
When students are taking home so much work, reading becomes one more thing to “get done.” Students are dreading the thought of picking up a book because it’s just another requirement. It loses its appeal as an enjoyable experience.
When we require students to answer comprehensions questions and fill out endless logs, we are telling them that reading is another form of work. We are taking away the pleasure of reading by turning it into an assignment. Students are reading by the clock – checking how many minutes they have left instead of finding out what happens to their favorite character. They are reading simply to figure out the answers to the assigned questions.
No One to Talk To
“Reading is the most important social factor in American life.” ~ Jim Trelease
Children are social creatures (aren’t we all?). If they don’t have someone to converse with about their books, they may lose interest. Parents are working hard and aren’t always available to sit down and read with their children.
What Can We Do to Help?
Provide Them With Books
If children don’t have books in their home or are unable to get to the local library, we can help them out by sending books home with them. I used Take Home Book Bags which provided students with a handful of different books each week, but also ensured that I wouldn’t lose any books from our classroom library.
Encourage Families to Get Involved
The books bags I used provide families with the resources that they need to interact with their children about books. It gives them books to read with their child, as well as questions to spark discussion (not comprehension questions) among the family. The book bags also provide a fun game connected to the stories and activities to bring books to life. This shows students that the end goal of reading is to enjoy the book and connect it to their life, not just to complete an assignment. It connects reading to their life and shows them what an enjoyable experience it really is.
Students want to share books with their families. They look forward to a time with their families that is uninterrupted by phone calls, television or email. When a parent reads with their child, the child has their full attention.
Share Books with their Peers
Students are eager to pick up books that their peers recommend. By using Take Home Book Bags, the whole class shares a collection of books. This provides students with the opportunity to read the same books as their friends. They can chat with each other about the books that they enjoyed (and even the ones that they didn’t) and recommend books to each other. To boost their interest in reading, they need to have conversations about reading.
The book bags made a huge difference in my classroom! I had more students reading at home than ever before and families were engaged in the whole process.
Want to try Take Home Book Bags in your classroom? Check out Take Home Book Bags in my TpT store!
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