Finding Time For Free Reading In The Classroom

A book is a device to ignite the-4The Greatest Gift Is A Passion For Reading

A student’s confidence, skill, and passion for reading must be built with practice. Unfortunately many students do not read at home. The only way to guarantee that students are reading regularly is to make time in the classroom setting. But with increasing constraints in the classroom it can seem like there is less time everyday for student free reading time. Here are a few ideas to help you find time in the day where you can encourage students to read.

For these ideas to work students must have their books easily accessible. You might choose to give students the responsibility for bringing their book with them, or you might prefer having a ‘book basket’ with a variety of choices to pass out to students at opportune times.

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1. School Assemblies: Instead of struggling to manage student behaviour as they wait in boredom for an assembly to start, pass out books and have them silently read.

2. Morning Work: Many teachers use morning work in the first 5-10 minutes of the day to help students settle in and complete attendance. Turn this time into an opportunity for individual reading.

3. Bus: Do you have a long bus ride for a field trip coming up? Give students the option of reading.

4. Early Finishers: Replace a chorus of “I’m done, what should I do now?” with a routine where students who have finished an activity read silently as they wait for the rest of the class to be done.

5. Lines: There are many times we find ourselves waiting in lines. Waiting to go out for recess, waiting for a special event, waiting in a bathroom line. When students make it a habit to carry a book with them these moments are no longer wasted time, but rather opportunities to accrue reading time.

6. Lunch: Though most students likely won’t want to read while they eat, this can be a time to sneak in some promotion. Play an audio book in the background, or watch a video of an interview with an author. Some students might listen in and become interested in reading the book themselves.

7. Use Reading As A Reward: While reading in itself might not entice students, taking silent reading outdoors can be a great change of scenery. Reward students at the end of the day with the chance to read outside before the bell rings.

When do you squeeze in reading time with your class? I’d love to have you link up this Story Sunday, or comment below.



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Story Sundays are about exploring the conversation surrounding how a love of reading can be fostered in children, and how this passion can be ignited in the classroom.

  • Do you have any great strategies for encouraging a love of reading in your classroom?
  • What are you reading in your classroom right now?
  • What activities do you use to engage students with a story?
  • What books have personally inspired you as a teacher?
  • How do you make reading exciting for your students?

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear them when you link up during Story Sunday.

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