6 Ideas to Encourage Reading

Use these creative concepts from the National Panel of New Principals to inspire reading at your school.

March 2016, Volume 39, Issue 7

In addition to improving literacy scores, principals are always looking for inovative ideas to encourage a love of reading in their students. The latest edition of Rise & Shine, a survey sent out to NAESP’s National Panel of New Principals, asked what strategies first- and second-year principals were using to get kids reading more.

Many reported that book clubs, cross-level reading buddies, contests, and use of accelerated reading programs have helped build enthusiasm for reading at school. Here are six ideas from the panel to spark your students’ interest in reading:

  1. We had our students create reading spaces out of refrigerator boxes. Now they all want to get a book and read so that they can read in one of the “boxes.”
    Asia Armstrong, Principal at Indian Trail Elementary, Canal Winchester, Ohio
  2. Tasty Tuesday: Students read a recipe, follow the directions to make the recipe, and write a review after tasting the recipe.
    Melinda Myers, Principal at Eden Elementary, Eden, Wisconsin
  3. An 8th grade teacher gave students the opportunity to “speed date” an assortment of different genres and books at stations throughout the classroom, to pick outside reading material.
    Christopher Chew, Principal at Stony Brook School, Westford, Massachusetts
  4. Flashlight Friday: Students are allowed to select an area of the room, the teacher darkens the room and they use the flashlights to read stories to one another.
    Valerie Martinez, Principal at Heritage Elementary, Wilmington, Delaware
  5. I have painted a mural on a wall in the front foyer. Students can post their picture on the wall when they reach a certain number of Accelerated Reading points.
    Roxie Baker, Principal at Gary Road Intermediate School, Byram, Mississippi
  6. I agreed to—and did—eat a worm (from the book “How to Eat Fried Worms”) if my school read over 1,000 hours outside of school in one week.
    Scott Simpson, Principal at Osceola Magnet School, Vero Beach, Florida

Not every principal will have the stomach for worms, but clearly there are plenty of creative ways to keep kids hungry for books. More insights on how principals approach literacy can be found in the full report. To find past issues of Rise & Shine on other topics relevant to principals, visit www.newprincipal.org.

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