Back to school: 10 ideas to promote reading

Nóra Wünsch-Nagy

If you write a list of objectives for this school term, I'm sure 'reading' is on your list. Getting your students to read more in English is one of the greatest successes you can achieve. We are all aware of the benefits of Extensive Reading and the power of stories (revisit our blog posts for a reminder), how different language skills can be developed through reading (writing, speaking, listening), and how reading for pleasure can help your students build their vocabulary.

Here we have collected ten practices for this term to guarantee your students will read more in English. If you work closely with your colleagues, you can build a multilingual reading programme or at least an L1-L2 reading programme. Choose a few ideas or try all the items on the list.

1 Dedicate time to reading for pleasure. Start with one session a week. 

It sounds simple but we know you are busy with following a course syllabus and you have to prepare students for exams. Still, turning your students into avid readers should be as important as helping them pass that language exam. These reading sessions can vary from 15- to 45-minute sessions with discussion.

2 Have D.E.A.R. sessions.

Drop Everything And Read: follow this link for a description of the initiative and read our blog post about it.

3 Get-caught reading photo contest.

Organize a photo contest for the term. Ask students to take pictures of each other reading. They can also take photos of people reading in unusual places. Create a shared photo album on a platform of your preference for this and let your students upload pictures into it.

  • Have a 'Photo of the month' award.
  • At the end of the term, have a special vote. You can decide based on the most likes, shares, and comments.

4 Start a Book Club.

We have created a complete Book Club Kit in order to make things even easier for you and give you more time to concentrate on reading.

5 Organize a Reading Marathon.

Here you will find tips and resources.

6 Organize trips to your local library.

Going to the library might sound like an archaic activity, but talk to your local librarians, they often offer lots of fun activities to do in the library.

7 Involve the family in reading projects.

Here's our post on family involvement with lots of tips.

8 Set up a Reading Corner in your classroom.

If you are teaching young learners, a reading corner can become part of your lessons every day. Set up a corner with a bookcase and comfortable cushions. You can have a reading session at the end of your lessons, or you can dedicate a whole lesson to reading and reading activities.

Have a monthly theme in your Reading Corner: autumn, animals, Christmas, sports, or anything your students are interested in.

9 Place inspirational posters about reading on your classroom wall. 

  • Check out Pinterest for reading promotion posters and quotes.
  • Ask your students to find images of their favourite actors and singers reading. You'll be surprised how many celebrities support reading.

10 Try shared reading and reading aloud in your classroom.

Here you can read about these approaches.

Helbling Languages