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Subbing Plans: Encourage Student Literacy Through Pleasurable Reading

Living Room Reading Stack © by JoeInSouthernCA

A recent publication by the Pew Research Center pointed out that although over 50% of all parents read to their young children every day and over 75% read to them several times a week, the reading habit wanes as students reach their middle school years.

This statistic is not surprising as students turn from reading to pursue other interests. What can you, as a substitute teacher, include in your subbing plans to help keep students interested in reading, aside from lecturing them about the value of being literate, which is more apt to turn them off than turn them on to the pleasures of reading?

  1. Recognize that the pool of e-book readers is a growing one. A study has found that half of children between 9-17 interviewed reported that they would read more for fun if they had e-books to read. In today's world where many students are "screenagers," point them towards valuable e-books that whet their appetites.
  2. Students still like the feel of books. Have high-interest books available. Copies of classics and young adult books can be picked up for pennies at garage sales and book stores. Keep a box or bag of books handy for sharing or during those "free" moments that pop up during any substitute's teaching day. Students will often get hooked within a few minutes and end up taking a book home to finish.
  3. Remember that variety is the spice of life. Among the types of books to keep on hand, either through e-books or tangible books, are both fiction and non-fiction. Students are interested in cooking, graphic novels, newspapers, special interest magazines, travel, and various hobbies. Access to books in these genres will tempt them to read more in an interest area.
  4. Talk about books and encourage students to talk about books they have read. Ask for their recommendations. Many students will be delighted to share something they have read or discovered lately, causing other ears to perk up and dive into a book on the subject later.
  5. Be a reading role model. Always carry a book you're reading with you, even if you don't get to open it during your busy day. Let them see you reading it during your lunch break, your "free" period, or at any other times during the day when you have available time. Over time, they will observe that you read a wide variety of books.
Those of us who read well know the joy the reading habit brings over a lifetime. What better lesson can a substitute teacher or a classroom teacher impart to students than one that instills a love of the printed word in those students?

The value and cumulative effect of modeling authentic reading habits to young people cannot be underestimated.

To discover more subbing plans and to learn more about being an effective substitute teacher, contact us or visit our website designed with the substitute teacher in mind.

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