The Best Way to Develop Your Students' Love of Books

The Best Way to Develop Your Students' Love of Books - The Reading Roundup

As teachers, we always say that we want to "help our students develop a love of reading." But how do we actually do that? Literacy gurus and researchers tell us it all comes down to finding the right book for our students. As we all know, sometimes that isn't always as easy as it sounds.


The Best Way to Develop Your Students' Love of Books - The Reading Roundup

Through many years of trial and error, I've found a strategy that has proven to be highly successful with my students: a special delivery mailbox! Continue reading to find out how I've implemented this approach to help my students truly get excited about reading!


The Best Way to Develop Your Students' Love of Books - The Reading Roundup

Special Delivery Mailbox for Book Recommendations

I wanted to find a fun way to provide students with personalized book recommendations. I bought a mailbox and a small table to keep outside of my room. I created several envelopes with a "Special Delivery" label and laminated them for durability.

The Best Way to Develop Your Students' Love of Books - The Reading Roundup

Throughout the year, I randomly place books in an envelope addressed to specific students. These are books I think they will like based on their individual interests. They are books I have in my room, borrow from the library, or order from Scholastic. Each day students are eager to check to see if there is any mail in the mailbox! This alone adds a tremendous amount of excitement for reading!


Ways to Discover Your Students' Interests.


1 - Administer Reading Interest Surveys

Every year I always administer reading interest and attitude surveys with my students. These surveys provide me with a wealth of information about how students feel about reading and more importantly how they feel about themselves as readers. 

The interest surveys tell me the types of books students enjoy reading, any specific books/series they already like, as well as their interests in general. (Remember to accept ALL types of reading - graphic novels, books you feel are below their reading level, etc.) This information helps me come up with book recommendations specifically targeted to each students' individual interests. To find out more about reading interest and attitude surveys, click here.

Reading Interest and Attitude Surveys - The Reading Roundup
Click to download the surveys I use!

After I administer the surveys, I create a master document listing each students' personal interests as well as any favorite genres, books, authors, etc. I refer to this list to gain ideas of which books to deliver to students in the mailbox. 


2 - Scholastic Wish Lists

Another way that I gain additional information on the books students are interested in reading is by giving them Scholastic book flyers. I allow them to shop through the book orders and circle the books they want. Who doesn't love creating a wish list? I use their wishlists to select which books to purchase. I make sure to get at least one book on every student's wish list. (Be sure to use bonus points and select the $1 books on a student's wish list when possible!) 

The Best Way to Develop Your Students' Love of Books - Scholastic Book Flyers - The Reading Roundup

At Christmas, I wrote the younger students a letter from the elf asking the students to select books. This just added an extra element of excitement! 

The Best Way to Develop Your Students' Love of Books - Scholastic Books - The Reading Roundup

When the books arrive, I do not tell the students. Each day I randomly put a book in the special delivery envelope and put in the mailbox. This builds excitement for the students because they don't know when it will be their turn to get one of their books. They also are excited because they don't know which book(s) I've selected for them! 

Keeping Track of Book Recommendations

I use several documents to help me keep track of everything. I have a master list that tells me each students' interests and book picks. That list is helpful when selecting which book recommendations to deliver to students.

I also have other documents to keep track of book deliveries. I want to make sure that each student is receiving book recommendations. I write down the dates to make sure they all receive book suggestions within a reasonable amount of time.

The Best Way to Develop Your Students' Love of Books - Special Delivery Books FREEBIE - The Reading Roundup
Click to download the FREE recording sheets!

Delivering Book Recommendations has Made my Students Truly Love Reading

One of my 5th graders said, "I love reading now, and that is something I never said before." They beg me for more time to read. These are students who previously only pretended to read and were very resistant when it was time for independent reading. A second grader, who was a very reluctant reader, started to refuse to participate in our review games because she just wanted to read. In fact, she would have been content to miss recess to continue reading! 

The Best Way to Develop Your Students' Love of Books - The Reading Roundup

My students are truly excited about reading because they feel they have a choice in the books they read. Previously, they would complain that their teachers always tell them what to read and it was never anything that interests them. By making their voices heard and finding books tailored to their individual interests, they honestly do love reading now.

What other methods have you used to help students find the "right" book that have led them to develop of love of reading?


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The Best Way to Develop Your Students' Love of Books - The Reading Roundup



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