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I Love to Read! Surefire Ways to Create Lifelong Book Lovers

By Allie Magnuson on February 25, 2011
  • Grades: PreK–K

February is “I Love to Read Month,” the perfect time to assess if your students do, in fact, love to read. Are they captivated by good stories? Does reading fill them with excitement and enthusiasm? Do they play with the sounds of language in a literature-rich environment that promotes active learning through highly engaging activities? If the answer to any of these questions is no (and even if it’s yes!), it may be time to arm yourself with a repertoire of techniques guaranteed to get every child in your class saying “I love to read!”


Do an Illustrator Study

Small children are attracted to books by their pictures, not by their words. Picture books are the first step into literacy. Even reluctant readers will pick up a book if there is something good to look at in it. Illustrations bring stories to life, and a well-illustrated book will be looked at over and over again.

To stimulate your students' interest in books, do an illustrator study. We did a comparison study of three artists with very different styles and techniques: Eric Carle, who makes painted tissue paper collages; Crockett Johnson, the author and illustrator of Harold and the Purple Crayon; and David Wisniewski, whose layered cut paper makes his three-dimensional illustrations pop off the page.

Illustrator Study - I Love to Read Month

Capitalize on Student Interests

One of the best ways to get kids reading is to surround them with books on subjects about which they're passionate. Find out what your students, as individuals, like and try to get books that cover as many of these things as possible. The public library is always a good resource.


The Cat in the Hat - I Love to Read Month Celebrate and Play

We got a head start on celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday, which is on March 2nd. We love Dr. Seuss for so many reasons: the way he plays with words, his cliffhangers on every right-hand page, his knowledge of what is funny to a child, and of course his illustrations. We did some Cat in the Hat tricks, played Pin the Eggs on the Plate, made our own Dr. Seuss books, filled out Dr. Seuss reading passports, and decorated our door.

  Dr. Seuss Party - I Love to Read Month

Dr. Seuss - I Love to Read Month

Make Reading Fun

Following are ten ideas for reading centers that are sure to engage your students:

1. Reading Center --   Library

Reading Activities

  • Being a librarian: shelving books; helping patrons find books; reading or telling a story for Story Time
  • Being a patron: looking for books; reading; listening at Story Time

Library Story Time - I Love to Read Month


2. Reading Center -- Newsroom

Reading Activities

  • Reading articles (from Highlights or Scholastic News)
  • Reading advertisements (recognizable labels and logos)
  • Putting cut panels of comic strips in sequential order
  • Sorting different fonts by letter
  • Searching for and highlighting words in newspapers

Newsroom - I Love to Read Month

Download your own set of environmental print cards at Hubbard's Cupboard.


3. Reading Center -- Office

Reading Activities

  • Being a boss: reading notes to secretaries for dictation; typing printed memos and emails on the computer; using voice recognition software
  • Being a secretary: taking dictation; typing printed notes on the computer; reading memos and emails; using voice recognition software

Office - I Love to Read Month


4.  Reading Center -- Recording Studio

Reading Activities

  • Recording made-up stories for wordless picture books
  • Recording book reviews
  • Recording songs (quietly) by singing along to printed lyrics

Recording Studio -  I Love to Read Month

To learn how to do sound effects, visit Tony Palermo’s Sound Effects Closet.


5. Reading Center -- Radio Station

Reading Activities

  • Being a DJ: finding and playing songs and stories on the "radio"
  • Being a listener: requesting songs or stories from a printed list; listening to songs, radio shows, and books on tape

Radio Station - I Love to Read Month

Order a Read-Along Radio Drama Kit, or listen to episodes of Old-Time Radio Shows such as the Let’s Pretend shows, Cinnamon Bear, Story Lady, and Mickey Mouse Theater. Random House has a special Listening Library just for young listeners.


6. Reading Center -- Theater

Reading Activities

  • Reading scripts or acting out parts from books
  • Putting on shows with hand puppets, shadow puppets, and hand shadow puppets
  • Telling stories with props
  • Retelling flannel board stories

Theater - I Love to Read Month

Read free Reader’s Theater tips and learn how to make hand shadow puppets. Get the book 25 Just-Right Plays for Emergent Readers, order book props, and visit the Muppets Store.


7. Reading Center -- Top Secret Headquarters (Spy)

Reading Activities

  • Reading mystery books
  • Looking for words with binoculars, toy cameras, and magnifying glasses
  • Picking slips of paper with sentences and trying to find the books that contain them
  • Reading stories that contain words written in invisible ink

Top Secret Headquarters - I Love to Read Month


8. Reading Center -- Treasure Island

Reading Activities

  • Reading maps or clues that lead to buried treasures

Pirate Treasure Hunt - I Love to Read Month


9. Reading Center -- Telephone Booth

Reading Activities

  • Reading phone books (White Pages, Yellow Pages, and class directory)
  • Reading text messages on a cell phone

Telephone Booth - I Love to Read Month


10. Reading Center -- Drive-In Movie Theater

Reading Activities

  • Watching movies with good stories
  • Watching movies based on books, or that narrate a book
  • Watching videos of author read-alouds
  • Reading text, closed captions, or subtitles
  • Watching movies through View-Masters

Drive-In Movie Theater - I Love to Read Month   At the Movies - I Love to Read Month

I got the idea for these cars from Kiboomu, and made them with the generous help of my parent volunteer. I made the license plates with the Nevada DMV Personalized License Plate Availability Search

Use the School-Home Connection

The Curious George Campaign Encourage parents to support the development of their child’s reading skills. Download this excellent School-Home Connection Reading Kit from the Department of Education, which has 100 letters to parents, each with a short activity about a reading skill you’re teaching at school. Parents might also be interested in the National Center for Family Literacy, Wonderopolis, and the Center for the Book's Curious George Campaign. A good book to recommend for parents to read with their children is You Read to Me, I'll Read to You.


Join the Global Literacy Call to Action

Scholastic's global literacy campaign is "Read Every Day. Lead a Better Life." It asks that everyone join together to support their children's right to read in order to live a better life. Its Reading Bill of Rights includes the belief that "You Are What You Read."



What do you do to get your students to love reading?

Have a literary weekend!



Comments (6)

Hi Cami, I am glad you liked this. I thought the drive in movie was fun too and the kids got a kick out of it. Yes we wrote with the invisible pen and then put a light over it so the words would show up. Check out my writing blog for some fun writing ideas. Thanks for reading. ~Allie

Wow. You've done it again this week! Such wonderful ideas? I love the drive in movie. How adorable! One quesion, how did you make the invisible words book? Will the words show up if you do something to them, like shine a light on them, or color over them with a different color?

Hi Heidi - Thanks for the nice comment. It was fun getting them enthused with something simple like that drive in movie. Thanks for reading. ~Allie

Hi Ayn - Thanks for the nice comment. I am having fun finding different things for the kids and I love watching their faces get excited when I introduce something new. The other day I overheard one of the kids say to another, "you know we are in the fun class." That made my day! Thanks for reading. ~Allie

Oh, my gosh! That drive in movie theater is the cutest thing EVER!!! Super cute ideas! Great job, Allie! Heidi

Wow! You've got some great ideas outlined here---I can't wait to try some of them!

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