The other day, I happened to be in the room getting organized for after the Nutrition Break as the children were eating. A small group of students were sitting around the little table in our “book nook area.” As they were eating their lunch, they were reading to each other. A  few of the students just got back from LLI (a reading intervention program), and they received their new book for the day. They were so excited to read it, that they decided to read and eat at the same time. I wish I videotaped it. I just loved seeing the students so eager to read!

As a Grade 1 teacher, one of the key skills that I need to teach my students is how to read: both decoding words and understanding texts. I am always trying to think of new ways to get students to read more. Watching my students at lunch the other day made me start to wonder, how else can we sneak reading into our day?

  • I wonder what would happen if we posted some shared reading texts or even short quotes (that the students could decode) above the water fountains. Maybe we could add a picture clue. Would they attempt to read the text?
  • Maybe we could add The Popcorn Song, The Alphabet Song, or even some different nursery rhymes to the back of the bathroom stall doors or on the walls around the sinks. Why not develop literacy everywhere?
  • Maybe we could put some shared reading texts out on the tables for students to read together as they eat their lunch. I often like to read and eat. I always read the newspaper every morning as I eat my breakfast. I wonder how students would feel about doing the same. I know that my students love dramatic readings. Maybe they could take on different character roles as they read simple plays out loud. They still need to eat, but this could possibly be done in between bites. 🙂
  • Maybe we could post some songs or poems on the walls or on the doors where the students line up in the hallway. During winter weather, it always seems to take varying amounts of time for the students to get dressed. Waiting in line often causes problems (i.e., fighting, yellowing, or hitting). Maybe the students could read as they finish instead. They might even start working together to try and figure out the words.

Some of these are ideas that I could put into place on my own. Others are ones that may require permission. I’m curious to know the impact that this “additional reading time” may have on student success. What do you think? How do you optimize a child’s reading time either at school or at home? I’d love to hear your ideas!


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