Teaching Literacy

Literacy teachers have an incredible opportunity to influence learners' lifelong appreciation for reading. These 8 tips will help connect with your students and foster an atmosphere of success in your literacy classes:

#1 - Provide Variety

Make sure that you offer many different types of reading materials for your students, from age-appropriate magazines, to novels and non-fiction books.

The reading material you offer in the classroom should incorporate the reading levels of all of your students. The students who are reading below or above grade level need to know that the classroom library is for them, too.

#2 - Allow Students to Choose Their Own Reading Material

While there will certainly be times when you cannot leave it up to your students to choose their own reading material, encouraging them to do so when possible will facilitate their personal enjoyment of reading and help them to develop more advanced reading skills.

#3 - Consider Your Students' Interests

When assigning material, or when making suggestions about what to read, consider your students' individual interests.

For example, students who enjoy sports may be interested in Mike Lupicia's books, such as Heat or The Big Field. Students who love animals may wish to read a series about horses or dogs. And students who enjoy fantasy may enjoy reading Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach, or Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time.

By taking note of your students' interests, you’ll not only be able to point them toward books and series that they'll enjoy, you'll also be creating a meaningful connection with each learner.

#4 - Model Being a Lifelong Reader

Allow your students to see you enjoying books too. If you schedule 10-15 minutes of silent reading time for your students every day, make sure that you're using that time to read, as well.

#5 - Be Creative When Assigning Book Reports

Many literacy teachers encourage independent reading by requiring their students to complete monthly book reports. If you choose this practice for your own classroom, make a special effort to offer some creative alternatives to your students.

For example, instead of traditional pen-and-paper book reports, allow your students to choose from an array of book report options, including:

  • Dioramas
  • Mobiles
  • Cereal box presentations
  • Tri-fold brochures
  • Power Point presentations
  • Posters

#6 - Create Mini Book Group Discussions

Whether students are grouped together by reading level, or heterogeneously, literacy teachers can teach students to conduct their own mini book discussions. One of the great things about this practice is allowing students to gain insight from one another's perspective.

#7 - Incorporate Writing

As a literacy teacher, look for ways to incorporate both reading and writing into your lesson plans on a regular basis. In particular, allow your students to become authors, themselves, which will add to their appreciation for literacy.

#8 - Partner with Your Students' Parents

As a literacy teacher, you want to provide ways for parents to assist their children's development and practice of strong reading skills. Therefore, make every effort to be specific with your students' parents about how they can help. Do you want them to read aloud with their children at night? Have their children read aloud to them?

Go so far as to provide your students' parents with a list of questions they can ask their children – while they're sitting at the dinner table, or driving in the car – that would apply to just about any book their children might be reading. Encouraging your students to talk about what they're reading will increase their comprehension and help foster their personal appreciation of reading.

Finally, as a literacy teacher, always remember what a vital role you are playing in your students' lives. The ability to read, write, and comprehend will impact virtually every aspect of their lives, now, and for years into the future.

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