“There’s no such thing as a kid who hates reading. There are just kids who love reading, and kids who are reading the wrong books. We need to help them find the right books.” -James Patterson
Getting students excited about reading can be hard, especially as a teacher.
You may have a kid who only reads one type of book, or students who refuse to pick one up.
But as Patterson stated, there is no such thing as a student who hates reading. Only a student who hasn’t had the right experience yet.
So if you are struggling to get your students excited about reading, let’s talk about quick strategies you can use today to get your students engaged with books.
In this post we are going to cover the following topics:
- Why do Students Not Like to Read?
- How Can you Engage Them in a Book So that They are Life-Long Readers?
So if you’re ready to transform your student’s outlook on reading, grab some coffee and let’s get started!
(This post may contain affiliate or external links. Meaning I get a commission if you purchase anything through my links at no cost to you. Read full disclosure here.)
Why Students Don’t Like to Read
Before we cover how to get students involved in reading, we need to understand why some students don’t like to read.
As a child, I loved to read. My family would often drop me off at Barnes and Noble at the mall and I would read an entire Nancy Drew Book before they got back.
My brother, on the other hand, did not like books. He would listen to me read out loud to him. But he would rarely pick up a book in his free time.
And that’s okay!
Because one day he found a book he loved, and read the entire series.
It wasn’t until he found a story he connected with and had similar interests in, that he started reading books.
“I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.”-JK Rowling
Haven’t Found the Right Book
One of the main reasons why students don’t like to read is that they haven’t found the right book.
For some kids, books are something they are just “made to do.” And in most cases, they don’t have any connection or common interests that the book talks about.
That’s why it is so important to introduce students to different books.
Books from Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, Comics!
Yes, I said comics do count! I know I went there.
I would keep introducing new books until they find one that they connect with.
Because when you do get lost in a good book that you can connect with, it’s like nothing else exists.
That where you in your head can be somewhere completely different.
Rowling is right that something magical happens when you find a good book!
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Reading is Intimidating
Some might have a hard time with reading.
That’s okay too!
Students might have a hard time reading the words on the page or they might be comparing themselves to others.
This is especially apparent when students know each other’s levels.
It can be daunting when your friends are at a higher level than you.
That’s why whole-class read-alouds are perfect for eliminating this. When you do a whole group read-aloud, it doesn’t matter who’s level it is in. Because then you are all equal.
Students might really like a book but soon lose interest.
This is because they aren’t “engaged” with the story. That’s where the next section comes in handy.
Keep reading to find out the “Magic” of getting your students in love with books.
And it’s nothing I have heard others talk about. So you won’t want to miss this!
How to Get Students Excited About Reading
There are many ways to get students excited about books. You can do a read-aloud, try a variety of books, do book reports, etc.
But there is something that all of these are missing to make the experience make the book “Magical.”
And the idea is simple:
Involve the students.
According to the famous Benjamin Franklin:
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
And this couldn’t be any more true when it comes to reading.
You see many teachers make the mistake of assigning a book and maybe a typical comprehension packet and call it good.
I know I did this.
But you see that doesn’t involve the students.
That’s just asking them to remember facts and write them down.
Writing down what you remember is not learning, it’s remembering.
That’s why the true magic behind getting students involved with books, is to do an Immersive Book Study.
What the heck does that mean?
Well, let’s keep reading to find out more.
P.S. If you want 60 pages of free activities that you can use with your primary students that are inspired by the books you are already reading click here.
Immersive Book Study… The Magic You Have Been Missing
The definition of Immersive is to provide, involve, or provide deep absorption in something such as activity, or a real or artificial environment.
When you are immersed in something you are captivated by it and, most importantly, engaged with it!
In other words, an immersive book study is where the book is the main thing that you talk about. Not the activity!
When you give students a packet asking questions about a book you are not focusing on the book.
The reality is, you are focused on the questions and getting the right answer.
But when you do an Immersive Book Study, you are getting students excited about reading by involving their five senses.
Students will fall in love with books when they can see (in their real environment), taste, touch, smell, and feel the story they are reading.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” -Benjamin Franklin
That’s exactly what you are doing with an immersive book study.
An immersive book study helps your students get excited about reading by bringing the book to life.
Okay, that sounds great and all, but how do I do it?
Keep reading to find out exactly how you can do this in your classroom right now!
How to Do An Immersive Book Study
If you have read any of my blog posts like “Activities Inspired by The Kissing Hand,” “Great ideas for the “Five Little Pumpkins,” “Activities inspired by The Polar Express,” or “Sneezy the Snowman Inspired Activities,” you would see a common theme between all of them.
In all of these posts, I start with a story and then branch out activities that complement the story.
The story is where I start and end. The activities help my students get there.
For example, for the activities Inspired by The Polar Express, my students wear pajamas, they get hot chocolate when the scene comes up. They get a golden bell at the end of the story. I even whole punch a gold ticket for them to “Aboard the Adventure.”
My students are not only seeing the story, but they are tasting, feeling, hearing, and touching the story in real life too.
That’s why when you want to get someone involved in a story, you need to ask:
“What can I do to make them hear, smell, taste, touch, hear, and see the story in their actual environment?”
“What can I do to immerse my students in the story?”
Let’s talk about specific examples:
Examples on How to Get Students Excited About Books
There are several examples of how to achieve an immersive book study.
First, I read the story to my students.
Next, either during or after the read-aloud I am transforming their environment to reflect the story.
This could be as simple as:
- Decorating the Classroom
- Dressing Up like a character
- Incorporating Digital or Physical Activities
- Creating a Play
- Doing a Field Trip where the setting takes place
And so much more!
All of these bring the book to life by making the book the center of the classroom. Not the assignments.
For instance, one of the most memorable books I read in Elementary School was “The Stout-Hearted Seven.”
And it wasn’t because I love history.
It’s because I got to go on a Field Trip to the “Whitman Mission” where the story took place!
I was involved in the book because I got to experience the environment of the book.
Another example is to look at the “Harry Potter Series.”
Thousands if not millions of people visit Disney World so they can go to “Potter World” and experience the book in real life.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” -Benjamin Franklin
Why Every Teacher Should Use Immersive Book Studies to Get Students Excited About Books
The biggest mistake teachers do when it comes to books is assigning a book and then forgetting about it.
And the reality is, it’s hard for students to get involved and excited about books if we don’t get them the chance to.
But, that sounds like a lot of work. I don’t have time for that!
And you don’t have to!
There are a lot of authors out there bringing books to life by involving their students in the story.
So the next time you want to get your students excited about reading, ask yourself:
How can I involve them in a way that brings the book to life?
And by now way do I mean to involve them in some tragic event that can traumatize them.
I just mean bring their favorite qualities of a book out for them to see.
Thank you so much for reading, I hope this helped give you ideas on how to get your students excited about books.
It has been my mission to bring favorite stories to life by creating activities inspired by great books.
Because when you bring favorite books to life, you create a magical experience for your students.
And that is what reading is all about.
And if you want a quick resource to do that you can download my free scavenger hunt activities. This Year-Round Scavenger Hunt Activities include 5 Scavenger Hunts that are inspired by famous books read at the primary level. You can download these 60 pages of activities by clicking here.