We’re about to celebrate the National Family Literacy month in November – are you ready? This is a perfect opportunity to boost your classroom’s reading levels and find new ways to get your students’ families excited about reading together. Here are four tested ideas that can help you improve student literacy and turn classroom parents into your allies in developing students’ good reading habits.
Understand the motivations of your readers
Carla is a reading specialist from Virginia who’s been teaching for over 25 years – and her experience shows! Comprehension Connection is a creative resource “where readers connect and travel to new learning places”. Carla believes in the importance of understanding the motivations of your readers.
“To know how to motivate, you have to know the type of reader you have and their interests.” – Carla, Comprehension Connection
Make space for exploration
Now that you know what kind of reader you’re dealing with, you have a better chance of designing a reading experience that works for them. Matching them to the text is so important! For some students, independent exploration works best. This app helps children explore the world of reading with more than 600 books to choose from. The app literally takes children on a reading journey – the children pilot a hot air balloon through 7 fun and fantastical islands, featuring thematically grouped books and video adventures. We particularly love the Parent Dashboard, which gives families an insight into students’ progress, and recommends questions they can ask to spark a conversation about books with their child.
Quanify, gamify, make it social!
Teachers usually experience great success when they manage to turn a chore into a game. Moxie Reader gamifies reading, acting like a fitness tracker for a student’s readership. It keeps students motivated and engaged with incentives and recommendations, while providing teachers with insights into student reading habits. The app also makes the experience social, encouraging students through a positive team community. Importantly, Moxie Reader can help develop the habit of reading at home – all reading time is tracked, encouraging consistency and engagement outside the classroom.
Build partnerships with parents
Encouraging students to read in the classroom is only half of the success equation – that’s why many reading apps include tools for boosting engagement outside school. The real shift happens once parents become actively involved in encouraging and solidifying the student’s reading habits. But how to communicate the importance of reading to parents? Family Reading Partnership is an initiative dedicated to “creating a culture of literacy one book, one child, and one family at a time” that will get you inspired in no time. From cute bookmark templates, to a persuasive list of 10 reasons to read aloud to children, the nonprofit’s site is full of ideas you can share with students’ families.
Feeling ambitious? You can organize an event and invite parents, grandparents, and other family members to your classroom for a family-school reading day. Invite family members to read a favorite story from their childhood, show them apps they can use at home to enhance reading, organize a book swap, or ask a local bookstore to donate bookmarks – opportunities are endless.
Let’s remember that family literacy is something that should be championed all year round. When talking about the importance of reading, encourage families to to brainstorm ways to engage in reading on a regular basis!
Have you made plans to celebrate the Family Literacy Month this year? How will you use this opportunity to reconnect with parents? Sending a ClassTag Announcement with suggested resources is an easy way to take action right away.