Promoting Reading in the classroom

It’s the National Year of Reading in Australia – a great excuse to promote a love of reading in the classroom.

Our class schedules are so full that while we all spend time trying to teach students the skills for reading,  I sometimes fear that we don’t spend enough time allowing students to read for pleasure. It’s going to be a priority of mine this year.




Some quick and easy ideas for promoting reading in the classroom.

1. Set up a reading space that is attractive and inviting. Make it an area your students will WANT to spend time in. Ensure there is a mix of genres, including factual texts, as well as a good range of ability levels. You can read about my little reading corner here.

2. Allow time every day for some independent reading. While the class are reading, spend at least some of this time reading for pleasure yourself. It will provide you with a nice quick break while being an excellent role model for students.

3. Share books that you enjoy with the class for no other reason than to have fun. While a discussion is good, don’t provide worksheets or insist that students complete written tasks for these ones. Click here for a list of 250 great books for children.

4. Encourage some interested students to start a book club, or facilitate one yourself. This website has some great suggestions for starting a book club for children.

5. Encourage students to discuss and respond to what they are reading.

  •  Photocopy covers to display on the classroom walls and surround them with comments and ratings from students.
  • Ask students to write book reviews for the class. Keep them in a display book in the reading corner for other students to refer to when selecting books.
  • Set up a class blog and invite students to post their own book reviews
  • Set up a class blog about the books you are sharing with the class. Ask the class to respond to simple questions, such as ‘Who was your favourite character?’ or ‘Did you think the book had a good ending?’ For longer books,this could become a term project.

6. Particpate in any national or international projects. National Simultaneous Story Time  and The Premier’s Reading Challenge are very simple projects for classes to become involved with.

A few helpful Websites

Reading Rewards This site will allow you to set up a home reading log and the opportunity for children to rate and review books. I’m thinking of using it with my Year Two class, but it will be particularly motivational for Stages 2 and 3. It might be a fun way to stimulate discussion about books, and an easy, fun way for students to log their home reading.

Bookie Woogie is a fantastic blog that has been set up by a dad, with his children. The different responses that the children provide are quite fun to read, and I love the pictures they draw in response to their books. I’m thinking of adapting this idea for a class blog project.
Love2Read is the official website for the National Year of Reading. Check it regularly to see what is happening across the nation. There may be some events you can participate in with your class.
Literacy, Families and Learning Trevor Cairney updates this blog regularly. It has some very helpful suggestions for promoting literacy both at home and at school.
The Children’s Book Council of Australia Here you will find links to the websites of many great Australian children’s writers, reading lists, childrens book award lists, Book Week information and more.

Goodreads – this is a social networking site for adults who love reading, but I thought I’d throw it in here anyway. After all, its hard to promote a love of reading, if we aren’t reading ourselves. If you sign up to this site you can rate/review what you have been reading and see what books your friends like. I get a lot of my suggestions for what to read next by checking out what my friends have been enjoying. You can see what I’ve been reading here.

Managing Teacher Workload 2: Find the Time Wasters

File:Busy desk red.svg

Busy Red Desk image courtesy of wikimedia commons

Managing the  volume of work that I have to do as a primary school assistant principal is a daunting task which I am still coming to terms with. This is the second post in my series about managing workload in which I share some of the strategies that have worked for me.

In my last post, I described a workload audit. This allowed me to identify several time wasters which fit into 3 categories – those where the outcome did not justify the amount of time put into them,  those that could reasonably be delegated, and those that took a long time and needed a new, more efficient approach.

Here are some of them:

1. Activities where the outcome did not justify the amount of time put into them

  • Preparation and marking of homework
  • Preparation of amazing interactive IWB lessons which would only be used on one occasion
  • Certain types of marking
  • Certain meetings

2. Activities that could reasonably be delegated.

  • Laminating and cutting out classroom games and activities
  • Covering books
  • Photocopying
  • Leading certain curriculum areas

3.  Activities that needed a more efficient approach

  • dealing with the mountain of paperwork
  • dealing with email
  • supervision of classroom teaching programs
  • meetings and communicating with colleagues

Categorising the activities was important as I could quickly determine the approach needed to reduce their impact and increase my efficiency. I’m happy to report that after working at it for a few years, I’ve managed to reduce the time each of these tasks take, and in some cases have eliminated them from my workload. I’ll be dealing with each of them in future posts starting with that constant thorn in my side: homework.

What are the time wasters in your job? Have you had any success in reducing their impact? I’d love to hear your thoughts.