How to help your students see themselves as readers | Mentoring in the Middle

How to help your students see themselves as readers

What do you do when a student tells you they don't like to read?

Or when they're enthusiastic about reading the books in your room but you don't know what books would be a good fit?

Find out their likes and dislikes around music, sports, social media, school, friends, etc.  The more you learn about them, the better fit you'll come up with.  

A student says they don't like to read?  Give them a quicker read - a shorter book, a graphic novel, or one with pictures.  Even picture books are a great place to start.  

A student says those lose interest quickly?  Give them a book that starts off with a bang and is filled with adventure!

A student doesn't know what they like?  Ask questions about their interests, pets, friends, activities, anything to make a connection between them and a book character.

I made and used this reading survey with my students for many years and was always pleased with the information it gave me.  I transferred some of that information to a sheet I made for each student, and then I could refer to it when we spoke.

Not only did it help me know their interests, but I noted the book they tried and could keep track of how it was going.

Now that they're reading, you want them to keep track of their books, right?  But how do you do that without making yourself crazy?

These easy-to-fill-out Reading logs were kept in each student's binder, right in the front.  Every time they started, finished, or quit a book, they put it into their log.  It only took a few reminders before the logs became a routine part of their reading habits.
"Do you remember that book you talked about a few weeks ago?  It sounded really good! "
"What was the name of it?"
"I don't remember."
"Hmm...what was it about?  Who wrote it?"
....blank stare..."I don't remember but I knew I wanted to read it when you talked about it!"

That's why this TBR (To Be Read) list became the second most important sheet in their binder.  Whenever anyone recommended a book to them, they wrote it down.  Then, when they looked for a book in my room, or we went to the school library, they brought that list with them.

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