How to Encourage a Love of Reading: 8 Practical Tips You Can Use Today!

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I know it can feel like this is out of our hands. We can push reading on our kids until we’re blue in the face, but we can’t MAKE them love reading.

And while this is true, there ARE some action steps you can take to encourage your class. And the best part? You can easily start ALL of these things right now! Read on for 8 ways you can encourage a love of reading AND help students find books they'll love. 

8 Ways to Encourage a Love of Reading

1. Get to know your students.

This may seem like a no brainer, but time and stress get away from us! Do you truly know the likes and dislikes of all your students? If you don't, how will you know how and what to encourage that student to read? Make sure you are taking time to talk about non-school related things. 

I also HIGHLY suggest surveying your students throughout the school year. You can use a simply survey like this one I created. Pull these out when making book suggestions to find something meaningful!

2. Be a reader yourself!

Your students are watching. Do they know YOU love to read? Do they see what you're picking out for yourself? If not, how will they know how important it is? Also--how will YOU know what books they'll like if you haven't read them? I could go on and on with this point, but take my word for it, READ!

3. Pay attention to current events.

Is there a new movie coming out that's based on a book? Is there a major historical or cultural event happening? If so, find books that go along with this! These types of reads are extremely meaningful and memorable for students. 

4. Follow bookish social media accounts and blogs.

I get almost all my suggestions for new reads from fellow teacher-readers. They often review new releases and books that go well with current events. For example: I LOVE following @thebookwrangler on Instagram. His book lists are amazing!

PS--Did you know if you sign up for my newsletter you will automatically receive a list of historical novels for almost every time period in American history? This is so helpful when looking for novels to suggest! Sign up here to receive this list for free!
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5. Diversify and expand your library.

Expanding your library doesn't mean you have to spend a lot of money. You should have some books available in your classroom. BUT you can also utilize school/public libraries and online databases. Some of my current favorites are Epic Books and Vooks. Familiarize yourself with which books you have available. If you don't know what you have, you can't make great suggestions!

6. Display books and change them out regularly .

Seeing how other teachers do this is one of my FAVORITE things to see on social media. You could set up a rotating display in your library, have a basket of suggested reads, hang pictures on a bulletin board, or simply display them on your white board ledge. This doesn't have to be fancy! But the goal is to highlight books that may otherwise be lost on the bookshelf. Catch your students eyes so they'll want to pick up that book! 

7. Make any form of "required" reading FUN.

Personally, I don't suggest "requiring" independent reading if you want to foster a love of reading. This method could quickly backfire with your reluctant readers. But adding some fun incentives could be very encouraging! (Think back to those free personal pizza days from Pizza Hut!!) 

One of my favorite methods to encourage reading over school breaks is these bookmark challenges! Students are asked (not required or graded) to read books that fit particular categories. This means the book choices are totally up to them! When they bring back their completed bookmark, they get a prize! I've had great participation with this!

8. Try a 'First Chapter Friday'.

Essentially, a 'First Chapter Friday' means you give students a "taste" of a novel and entice them to read the rest on their own. I've had GREAT success and participation with this method. You can read all about how to set this up here!

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