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How Do I Develop the Skill of Book Reading?

Reading skills is needed not only to learn a language but to learn about new subjects. As avid lovers of literature, often teachers find themselves wanting to impart every bit of knowledge and information about a well-loved Book to their students. Developing reading skills especially in English is an almost guaranteed way to help you retain content of the book. Unfortunately, the tendency to focus on the content of a book is the real enemy to the goal of developing reading skills. This is why students are asked to present reports on book reading so that they can be assessed effectively on how far they read the book and what information they were able to absorb by reading the book. In this way the teachers or instructors can help students to develop their book reading skills.

In this post, I am talking about a teacher and student scenario because that’s something we could all relate with in order to build our book reading skill. Here are few ideas you can incorporate book reading skills in your curriculum or daily life.

Teach Close Reading Skills 

Guide students in annotation by directing them to do more than underlying or highlighting. Encourage students to have a conversation with the book by jotting down notes on the text while reading. This will keep them engaged with the book and also increase comprehension.

Annotations can include asking questions, defining new words, making personal connections to the text, citing current events, coding recurring words and themes, summarizing the paragraphs, categorizing information, highlighting heading and subheadings, chunking, drawing pictures and numbering and ordering. There is an endless list of possibilities to create annotations. The important point is to have students form their own process while approaching a text- because everyone has different approach and perspectives. As a teacher, don’t be afraid to give your students specific annotation guidelines such as “annotate the writer’s characterization techniques” or “find examples of so and so” to help them focus.  

Annotations help the students to identify which strategies work best for them while trying to process and understand information. Watch this clip “Girls Read Comic” from “The Big Bang Theory” that has a great way to introduce the concept of reading closely and its significance.

Set Reading Goals 

Although writing goals are used regularly in the classroom, students do not assess their personal reading skills on a regular basis. So, start the year by having your students to write a reader’s biography to gain insight into their reading habits, their struggles and successes. This will serve as a foundation for you to set reading goals for your students. Evaluating reading skills of students is important on a regular basis so that you can help them create new goals based on their needs and goals.  

Appeal to the Senses 

While reading book is the work of the mind, incorporating the senses provide extra reinforcement for students who are still developing their skills. Reading aloud and verbalizing questions you would mentally ask while reading books is beneficial to students. Therefore, a teacher modeling this skill of asking questions help the students to understand what type of questions to ask and the frequency of questions while book reading. It is worth mentioning to encourage students to read with a pen or pencil in hand. 

Vary the Text Length 

While approaching a particular difficult text, break it up and offer it in shorter segments, otherwise your students will become discouraged with lengthy texts which needs intense concentration. Give them smaller segments so that the students can digest chunks in pieces, acquire the academic vocabulary and build their book reading skills with confidence. 

Assess Content and Skills 

Students should be able to demonstrate their book reading skills in assessment, be it formal or informal, formative or summative. Comprehension questions are a good way to check for basic understanding but teachers should move to the harder level of asking how and why questions to their students. You can choose activities which require the students to dig deeper into the book such as writing a formal easy, facilitating a discussion, making a meme for a character, or presenting a timeline of a character in the form of an infographic, etc. 

Offer Opportunities for Choice Reading

Put it in this way, the best way to improve book reading skill is to read books, and students are more likely to read it when they a choice in reading their favorite book. Introduce them with variety of choices between reading the fiction and non-fiction books by introducing them to what they can expect from these genres. Encourage students to take books for personal reading by asking them about their interests and providing your recommendations. Don’t make reading skill as a forced upon skillset development but for pleasure so that students start reading books by their own. 

So, incorporating the above tactics will help you to develop your book reading skill development. Taking time to discuss about the book will not only make you gain in reading but also have an understanding to become better readers. 

Now that you know how to develop book reading skills, I’ll discuss about the benefits of book reading in my upcoming posts. I hope with that you will have enough reasons to indulge yourself in the wonderland of books.

Until then, this is your book-nerdy friend Nyasa signing off.

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This post first appeared on Nyasa's Book Shelf, please read the originial post: here

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How Do I Develop the Skill of Book Reading?


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