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  • Writer's pictureKaren Caswell

Growing a Reading Community

Updated: May 16, 2020

I’m passionate about reading and a goal of mine is to bring back the joy of reading, and infuse a love of reading, in my students. I’m intentional about developing a class reading community centred around reading for pleasure. I also aim to broaden this to grow a school reading community. I’m passionate about creating an environment where a love of reading is cultivated and students are nurtured to become life-long readers.

This week, I had the opportunity to share with my colleagues some of the strategies I use to create excitement about books and engage students in reading.

Book Tasting

This is a great experience to expose students to a variety of genres, text types and authors. There are many different ways to implement a book tasting. To make this relevant for the audience, our staff, I used books from our Professional Library and grouped them according to the focus of each book, with some extras on display.

Don’t pick a book by it’s cover…Pick it by it’s first line/paragraph.

We all know a book needs to grab our attention and hook us in from the very start so that we keep reading. Different people will stick with a book for varying lengths of time before abandoning it, but abandon it they will if it doesn’t maintain their interest. The length of time before this abandonment is usually shorter for children than adults, so it’s even more vital that a book is engaging from the get go. Valuable links to writing can be made through this experience as well.

Blind Date with a Book

Incorporating hashtags is a perfect opportunity to link with real life and social media use (we all know everyone uses them). Use key words, theme or messages within the text to generate interest and intrigue.

Currently Reading/Recommendations

A reading culture requires the people within it to read. Our students need to see us as readers, and we need to share our reading lives with them. A currently reading, or reading recommendation display, is one way to ensure we do this.

Clues to Captivate

In the spirit of the ‘Teach Like a Pirate’ Mystery Bag hook, wrap a book and display it with props to create a buzz about what the book could be. Use this opportunity to incorporate inferring and have students make predictions about the book subject based on the clues.


Jumping on the Netflix bandwagon, create a digital display to showcase books. Thank you to Gavin Smart for this template. Read his blog post, Bookflix – Promoting reading for pleasure, to find out how to make your own.

These fairly simple, but fun and effective methods are a fantastic start to promoting books and reading within your classroom and school. As with all aspects of school culture, intentional time, focus and action are required to effect change. A reading culture within our schools, which nurtures reading for pleasure, is imperative if we want our students to become lifelong readers.

I'm always looking to add to my repertoire of strategies which elevate the importance of books and reading. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. Please also share with me if you give any of the above ideas a go.


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