One of the most incredible things about the teaching profession is the opportunity to guide students towards a life of reading. While some will arrive in your classroom ready to devour books, others will require a little more coaxing. That’s why we’re sharing these 5 creative literary ideas to get your students excited about books from the 3rd-grade classroom of Juan Gonzalez, a long-time teacher in Dickinson, Texas.
Get set up to inspire your students with these simple, inexpensive ideas that really work.
1. Start the Tradition of Book Talks
A Book Talk consists of someone (a teacher or student) sharing a book they’ve read with the intention of convincing a potential reader to do the same. These talks should go beyond saying, “I love this book,” by giving the class insight into what to expect from the plot or the characters.
It’s best to deliver a Book Talk with passion. Use a voice filled with excitement. Hold the book in your hand and always leave your listeners with a cliffhanger. These can be such powerful exercises to inspire and influence the class and their future reading.
2. Breathe Life Into Your Classroom Library
Creating an inviting classroom library is a great way to keep students engaged with reading. Something as simple as displaying new books every few weeks can gain the interest of readers. It takes time to build a classroom library, but you can still use your school or local public library to consistently keep your classroom updated with new texts.
Seasonal themes provide great opportunities to update the books and decor in your library. This helps ensure that the most important part of your classroom always feels new and captivating.
Looking to stock up on a budget? Here are 100 amazing books under $5.
3. Give New Titles the Superstar Treatment
Showcase books in new ways to create a sense of wonder. Before you introduce new books to the class, give them the superstar treatment: Spotlight books in the morning and during independent reading time by projecting the book cover. This can transform your whiteboard into a beautiful billboard!
With dramatic displays like this, readers can see the books before they are shared, and it builds interest — giving books that extra “wow” factor.
4. Keep Track of Classroom Read-Alouds
Document your reading journey visually throughout the year. A bulletin board display of your shared reading not only looks beautiful, but it makes a wonderful teaching tool. It can lead to conversations about an author’s craft, common themes, and genres that the class still needs to explore.
Your students will be amazed to see all the books they read throughout the year, and that excitement can further encourage their own reading. (Laminate the titles so you can use this display year after year.)
5. Create a Mystery Book Box
Draw students in with a Mystery Book Box. This is simply a box that is mysteriously filled with read-aloud titles. A book is blindly selected from the box and then shared with the students. Reveal the Mystery Box only a few times a year to preserve its charm with students. In particular, this is a great activity for the beginning of the school year!
Here are a few tips to integrate a Mystery Book Box into your classroom:
- Preselect your read-alouds for the week. Having trouble picking a favorite? These read-aloud favorites for grades PreK-3 has awesome titles to help you out.
- Place the books inside a decorated, mysterious-looking box.
- Tell the students a fun story about the origins of the box. Maybe an unknown person left the mystery box in your classroom? Create a fun catch: On the days the Mystery Book Box appears, you can only read one book a day, otherwise, the box will lock and the books will stop appearing.
- Each day, pull out a random book with excitement (desk drum rolls are optional!) and share the book with the class.
- At the end of the week, see if the students can find any common themes with the texts you shared or ask them to describe which story they enjoyed best with their classmates.
Sharing books with your students is one of the most important things teachers do. These ideas can help build an exciting culture of literacy in your classroom and a true love of books.
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