Literacy: How to Inspire Students to Read in the Era of the Internet

Apr 6, 2018 by

As time goes on it seems to be an increasingly difficult task to inspire students to read and enjoy literature. Its not that they arent reading at all, in fact, they probably read more words per day than any other generation.

However, this comes from their Twitter feeds, websites, and other poor quality sources. Theyre reading 100 memes a day instead of a short story; fan fiction on Reddit or Tumblr instead of a book.

While this isnt all bad, in the era of social media attention spans have decreased, making it more difficult for children to focus on traditional reading.

As teachers and parents, how can we counter that? Lets take a closer look …

1) Sell Reading and Read Yourself

Today’s students are plugged into the internet and that’s their world. If they’re never shown the example of reading, its benefits, and the joy it brings, it just won’t occur to them.

Its therefore important to have a book on the go and to let students see it. When they are working in silence, sit back and read some pages instead of marking papers. Comment on how good the book is and recommend it to them.

Tap into their ego and suggest that intelligent people take the time to read books and rave about the benefits of a traditional book.

2) Allow them to Enjoy the Book First

As soon as something becomes school work’ and is formalized in the classroom, children take a natural disliking to it. So, before you break down a book, it’s genre, plot, and literary devices, allow students to read it fully themselves first. Let them enjoy the natural fun of reading before zapping all the pleasure out of it during lessons.

3) Embrace Technology

Yes, physical books are charming and many of us prefer to hold one in our hands, but technology has advanced and it would be a disservice to ignore it. If you can get children reading on a Kindle or other e-reader, its better than not reading at all.

Many devices and apps come loaded with the classics, you can track reading progress, and there are even educational versions with added information so students can self-learn.

As a parent, you may be worried that tablets and Kindles are expensive, but there are many ways to quickly make money.

4) Guest Authors

If you want to inspire a love of reading in your students, there’s no better way than inviting an author to come and talk about a book you’ve read in class. They will be able to share what they love about literature and encourage and advise students about their own writing.

5) Book Club

Theres only so much time you can spend reading in class and while some students will read on their own time, setting up a formal book club is a great way to keep track and nurture their reading ability and comprehension.

Set a book every week or fortnight, bring everyone together, and discuss.

6) Let Student Choose Books

Although you may need to stick to one book for certain lessons, whenever theres an opportunity you should let students themselves choose what they want to read. For an in-class book you can have a number of titles that can be selected via a vote, but for books read at home, let each student choose based on their own interests with a little a guidance.

7) Hook Them With a Series

One way to guarantee students continue to read is to hook them with a book series. Once theyve read the first book theyll feel compelled to read the rest.

8) Reading Competitions

Reading competitions are a great way to encourage children to read. By offering a reward their enthusiasm will double and the winners will feel a sense of accomplishment. There are many different types of competition you can hold, from simply completing a book in a certain amount of time to getting them to share their thoughts on each chapter on social media.

9) Reading Walls

Classrooms can be dull and there are always times when a students mind will wander. A productive way to jazz up the environment and catch those wandering eyes is to create reading walls, with quotes and passages from books.

10) No Technology Day

Well never be able to reverse the tide of technology, but you can play off this by setting a specific day of the week as no technology day. The idea is that on this day students leave their smartphone in their drawer, stay off computers and tablets, dont watch TV, and instead read a traditional book.

You can also get them to discuss how these days make them feel. Does it reduce stress? Are they more rested?

Ultimately, reading is about fun and as long as you can show children that and foster their own interests, we can still create a generation of readers in the age of the internet.

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