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.
Turn the page on reading reluctance and get set up to inspire your students with these simple, inexpensive ideas that really work.
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.
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 help continually 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 for ideas on titles to prioritize for your library? The 100 Books the Build Character is an inspiring place to start.
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 the books an extra “wow” factor.
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.
The 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 to use them again year after year.)
Create a Mystery Book Box
Draw students in with a Mystery Book Box. This idea 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. The Mystery Box only appears a couple of times a year which helps to preserve its charm with students. It's also 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. They can be books that you want to share simply for the love of reading, or you can be strategic with your selections. Having trouble picking a favorite? The 39 Read Aloud Favorites Book List 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 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 have them explain 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.