Creating a Love for Reading!

When I look at my role as a kindergarten teacher (or really any grade level for that matter) one of the things I strive to do is help my students develop a love for reading.  I have to say that I don't really love to read - and I wish I did.  I'd like to say that in my pre-teaching days all that law school reading just did me in - but I don't really remember loving to read even as a kid.  Now, don't get me wrong - me and a good book can enjoy some quiet time together.  However, I seem to be an all or nothing kind of person.  If I get into a book - I really get into a book!  For example, I LOVED the Hunger Games series!  I read the all three books in one weekend.  Now - I did nothing else that weekend but change reading locations, but I COULD NOT put the books down.  Did the same thing with the 39 Clues Series - except it took me most of the summer to finish the 10 books.  That being said - I do love a good book and I want my kids to love them too!

As a teacher I am always looking for and thinking of ways to make reading fun.  I think as a kindergarten teacher I kinda have it easy because learning to read is one thing all my kiddos want to do.  But I know that it won't be easy for all of them.  I want even my most struggling readers to be able to pick up a book and love interacting with it at their level.  My philosophy as a mom and teacher is that when kids are having fun they want to keep doing it.  So my goal is to make reading fun in order to show my kids that reading doesn't have to be a serious, silent activity, where you sit up straight in your uncomfortable desk and read without making a noise or movement until the teacher says stop.  (Maybe I am unearthing why I don't like to read!  That is what I remember from my elementary days.)

Here's a few things I do in my classroom to make reading fun!

1.  Super Cool Reading Glasses

Last summer while on vacation we stopped at the cutest little shopping area in Santa Fe to stretch our legs for a while.  While walking around I ran across this bucket of really cute kids plastic glasses.  Some looked like glasses Batgirl or Catwoman would wear, some had peace signs on them, and my favorite spelled out COOL.   I used these an incentive for learning the proper way to do Read to Self.  I told my kids that when I saw them doing Read to Self the right way for 3 days in a row I had a surprise to add to Read to Self.  Well, you better believe it only took 3 days and I got to bring out the Super Cool Reading Glasses.  Here we are our first day with Super Cool Reading Glasses.






 
And my secret for always getting a good class picture . . .
I promise a silly picture at the end!
The kids loved reading with the glasses and they stayed out as a Read to Self tool for the rest of the year.

2.  Reading Buddies
A couple months after introducing the glasses it was time to add something new that would add some fun to our reading time . . . Reading Buddies.  Now I was not ready to add Read With Someone so I had to find some quieter alternatives.  Our reading buddies are stuffed animals, many of which are characters from some of our favorite books!  Students can pick a reading buddy and read with them or to them.  I just loved seeing my future teachers hold up their book and read aloud to their stuffed animal the same way I do read alouds in class!  Here's some of our reading buddies!

In this picture, Effie, our Elf, had gathered the buddies
together for a read aloud of her own!  She also brought us some
new buddies, Pete the Cat and Skippyjon Jones.
 
My favorite buddies are the ones that come from books that we read.  This year Arthur was a favorite because we had a visit from The Read D.W. (Marc Brown's sister came as an author one day)!  Where do you find these you ask?  Well I love the Scholastic Teacher/Reward Catalog from Scholastic Bookclubs.  I use some of my points to get them for FREE!  Gotta love free!  I also love watching Kohl's.  They have a program Kohl's Cares where they usually have at least 1 children's book and a character stuffed animal for $5 each.  All of the profits supports kids education and health initiates across the U.S.  First, I am sure that you know that $5 for a stuffed animal is a good price.  Now let me tell you that these are some of the softest and well made stuffed animals I have ever seen!   If you don't have a Kohl's nearby you can also buy them online.  Look at who is making its Kohl's debut right now:



Just click the picture above to go to the Kohl's Cares website.  I just added a trip to Kohl's to my to do list for today!  I NEED a Pout-Pout fish for my classroom!

3.  Reading in the Dark
Last, but by far a class favorite, was when I introduced reading in the dark!  Earlier in the year I saw my very first finger light and had an ah-ha moment.  I have been looking for finger lights for a good price and I finally found them over spring break.  So after spring break, when we all know introducing something new is a necessity, I introduced reading in the dark.  Students grabbed their book boxes, a finger light and found a comfy spot.  I closed the blinds and turned off the lights and we began to read!  My classroom was never so quiet as it was during reading in the dark!  We were fortunate enough to have lots of cloudy and rainy days this spring which made the classroom even darker!  Read in the Dark also became our go to plan on stormy days if the electricity were to go out.  Here's a little glimpse into Reading in the Dark:







I know that some of these ideas might be much more accepted by lower grades.  However, I know that my third graders would have loved Reading in the Dark too!  Just wishing I would have known about those awesome little lights sooner.  I hope that you can take an idea or two to your classroom to help foster the love of reading.

What do you do in your classroom to make reading fun?  Leave a comment and let me know!  I am always looking for ways to make learning fun and exciting!


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