Updated: May 10
Lesson 1 - Make Connections
To get a child interested in learning about any given topic, they must be able to connect to it in some fashion (i.e. functional reading). If you were to tell a child they were going to read The Tell-Tale Heart, by Edgar Allen Poe, they most likely will say "huh?" They have no clue that it is one of the greatest pieces of literature ever written. One must get the child intrigued to read such a story. To do so, you could simply ask a directed question: "Have you ever felt guilty about something you've done?"
Responses will vary, but everyone should be able to connect to such a question. Now, you could brainstorm together what the word conscience means.
--By doing A and B, without the child even knowing it, they've connected the two main ideas of the story, The Tell-Tale Heart. Now, they can become invested in the story.
Lesson 2 - Give Options
Giving the students the opportunity to not only choose what they read, but on how they can show their knowledge of the text can have great benefits. Anytime a student has input on their learning path, internal motivation is thereby increased, allowing for much greater efforts. Below, you'll see a gallery of work my students have completed during their sequester at home during the Coronavirus lockdown. They didn't even have to do this activity, but I gave it to them as a choice and their efforts speak for themselves.
Lesson 3 - Reading is a Process
Just as preparing yourself for a music recital or a football game, there's a process you must follow to enable oneself to perform optimally. For music, you may listen to a recording of the song. Then, you may look over the sheet music. Next, you should do some warm up exercises. Finally, you may begin practicing your piece of music.
Reading is no different. You need a game plan. Let's say you're going to read Fever 1793, by Laurie Halse Anderson. It would be a good idea to do some background research on Yellow Fever. You may also research a little about historic Philadephia, as this is the main setting of the story. While reading the book, it's beneficial to be an active participant (i.e. reader). You should have some questions and/or statements in mind to ask yourself while reading.
This character reminds me of _____________ because . . .
I like/dislike this section of the story because . . .
The setting of this story is important because . . .
If I were this character I would . . .
I predict that _______________ because . . .
The main ideas of this chapter were . . .
A question I have about what happened in this chapter is . . .
I admire (character) because . . .
As shown, these are just a few statements/questions which a reader can use to become an active participant in what they are reading. Thereby, the reader will have a greater investment in what the story has to offer.