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Learning to read is one of the biggest milestones of any child’s educational journey.

However, once an adequate literacy level has been attained, many children find themselves unwilling or unable to sustain a vibrant and fulfilling passion for reading. While reading was once a common hobby for kids in their spare time, the advent of the internet, video games, and increased social media connectivity has relegated reading to the sidelines. This is a real shame, as reading can transform the way kids think about the world around them and boost their powers of empathy and appreciation of language.

Fortunately, teachers are uniquely placed on fostering a school reading culture and getting kids excited about picking up books. For help doing so, follow our ten handy tips:

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1. Fill the school with books

This is an obvious tip, but books should be easily accessible and abundant in schools. Besides the library, try to display books attractively around classrooms to tempt kids to pick them up. If you’re struggling to find inspiration for your book displays, check out this quirky list of suggestions.

2. Don’t organize books according to ability levels

Until very recently, it was common practice for schools to organize their library books according to their difficulty level. This approach, however, can limit students’ horizons and prevent them from challenging themselves. Instead, sort books by author name, topic, or genre to help kids find their niche literary passions.

3. Help kids to share their recommendations

Sometimes, kids are reluctant to pick up books simply because they do not know where to look for them or whether they would enjoy them. To combat this, allow kids to recommend books to their peers through a ‘What I am Reading’ scheme. For example, they could post their reading highlights on a special board, or you could set up an online blog for students to write reviews. You may be surprised how much influence kids have over each other.

4. Don’t underestimate the power of reading aloud

If you’re an elementary school teacher, chances are that you have experience in reading aloud to your classes. Once students hit a certain age, however, there is a tendency to switch to solitary, silent reading.

To embrace a culture of reading in your school, you may want to reconsider the powers of reading aloud after a certain age. According to recent studies, reading aloud has several cognitive benefits, such as memory retention, and can help students learn more effectively. It is also a great way for young people to bond over stories, and if you let every student take a turn at reading, a way to boost their confidence.

5. Roll out a new reading challenge

Kids thrive off competition, and a reading challenge is a great way to get them impassioned about literature. Consider handing out a checklist over the summer vacation to track how many books your students have read. The person with the biggest and most impressive list will receive a prize to start the new academic year.

6. Invite authors to the school

It may seem a long shot, but some authors are happy to do school readings and talks.

7. Celebrate World Book Day

Participating in World Book Day is a great way to demonstrate your school’s commitment to reading culture. On the day, you could celebrate by setting up the following:

  • Dressing up competitions
  • Reading challenges
  • Spelling bees
  • Author talks
  • Creative writing sessions

8. Remind kids of their local libraries

Please encourage your students to look beyond the school library and support their local libraries. Handing out a fact sheet about signing up for a library and navigating its shelves could be invaluable for avid readers.

9. Make sure the school’s books are up-to-date

Old-fashioned and dusty books are likely to turn children off. To ensure that your students are excited to head to the school library, focus on investing in the latest titles for them to enjoy.

10. Drop literary references at every opportunity

Sharing literary-related trivia every so often is a great way to remind kids about the importance of reading. You could even write your favorite books’ quotes on the board to brighten up every morning.