Every year, I hear one of the most heartbreaking things from students. Whether it is, “I don’t like to read,” or “I hate books,” it is always sad to hear. Honestly, it is unfortunate that some kids do not see and feel the power and joy of reading! Thankfully, teachers are in the perfect position to help show students how amazing books and reading comprehension activities are! With the right steps and encouragement, students will transform into lifelong readers! So, let’s dive into what educators can do when helping students that hate to read.
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When helping students that hate to read, it is essential not to force reading down their throats. This will only make them hate it more and feel their opinions do not matter. So, you need to carefully and cautiously bring the love of reading to life. You need to validate their reading journey and meet students where they are at. Essentially, you respect their opinions and beliefs around reading because this connection is essential to helping students open their minds to a great book. Once these things are done first, reading comprehension activities can come second!
When helping students that hate to read, you need to build connections to those negative thoughts. Maybe this is sharing the ups and downs of your reading journey. Or, it is explaining everyone goes through a time when they just cannot find the right book. Either way, showing you’re there for them no matter their feelings is essential. They need to know you are starting where they are in their reading journey and not forcing your love of reading on them.
It is vital to make it personal when helping students that hate to read. Often, students see reading inside the four walls of their classroom. They think it’s just something their teachers make them do because it is part of school. However, reading is much more than this!
Students need to find a personal connection to reading. Many times, this is the missing piece in the puzzle. So, you should make it personal by sharing some personal stories and talking about what you read. You can even bring in books that you’re reading and talk about the exciting plots. Honestly, this provides so much potential to spark an interest in your students. With your help, they can then find appropriate books at their level. You can also make it personal by bringing in the perspective of other students. This will help show them how reading is not just part of the classroom. It is a part of life.
Book Match- Relentlessly!
One of my favorite professional development books, From Striving to Thriving, has the best motto for this one! It is “Change the Book. Change the Reader.”
If teachers are helping students that hate reading, chances are they have yet to find the right book. This is why it is crucial to get to know students. Find out their interests and fears. Learn about their family experiences. Then, help match the right books to the student. They can go from a beginning reader to a thriving reader in no time at all!
Personally, I teach genres at the beginning of the year because many students do not know the types of books out there. They may not know about science fiction or historical fiction. Similarly, they may not know about fairy tales. There is just so much out there, but students do not know this! So, we can teach genres and help book-match our students. After finding out genres they like, we can find others just like it!
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Figuring Out Why
There is a reason we are helping students that hate to read, and it is crucial to find out why. Maybe they think it’s boring or maybe they had a bad experience with reading. Or, maybe they have not liked any books they’ve read. Once we know why, we can start digging deeper and then breaking down the cause of the problem. Honestly, some of the best conversations can come out of these discussions!
If the why deals with understanding the book, check out the Reading Comprehension Interventions. This provides helpful resources to build comprehension within every student.
Formats of Readings
When working with students that hate reading, show them there are different ways to read. For instance, have them try audiobooks and short stories on YouTube. Additionally, have them read to you, and you read to them.
It is also important to explore different styles of books. This includes cookbooks, magazines, and graphic novels. It can literally be anything they can read!
Fun Ways to Read
To help overcome obstacles, create fun environments. This includes book clubs and cozy environments. It also helps to provide parents with helpful tips, such as extending bedtime while reading a good book!
Teachers can even use Reading Comprehension Morning Work! Students will gain so much confidence in themselves with the help of these reading comprehension activities.
Reading should be fun for students. So, be sure to stop reading at an inappropriate time. When you’re reading a book, stop on a cliffhanger. Show them the anticipation of wanting to continue reading!
Books in a Series
If students find a book series they love, make sure to have other copies in the series! It will feel so amazing to have a student who hated to read eagerly ask for the next one! When students find a book series they love, incorporating reading comprehension activities will come naturally.
When helping kids that hate reading, there is not one simple fix. Every student has been on a different reading journey. So, get to know your students. Find out their why and their interests. As you build a relationship, you can begin book matching and finding the books they like and those they don’t. Just be intentional and supportive as students continue on their journey!
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