Let’s make it a year of reading in our language classes. This time, instead of making New Year’s resolutions, we’ve gone for a flexible monthly plan with online and offline reading and activity options. We think we can all agree that after last year, nothing seems like a challenge, and we have all much more experience to deal with any kind of learning situation. One thing is for sure: reading and learning must go on, and we teachers must always endeavour to find the best solutions for our students. Now let’s see how a good plan and resources can help with this.
We have five approaches to planning your reading this year. Of course you can combine them, and create a colourful and exciting reading plan with your students. To help you with this, we have created a monthly reading planner. Download it with our recommendations for each month. You can add your own ideas to this list, too.
1 Read around the months.
Each month offers a great theme, and you can pick stories which are connected to them. This way you can make sure that your students read at least one reader a month.
For example, here are some tips.
January: New beginnings
- Read about new beginnings:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
The Boy Who Could Fly by David A. Hill
The Time Detective series by Martyn Hobbs
March: Let’s visit Ireland
- Read an Irish author:
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
April: Into nature
- Read a story that takes you to nature:
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
White Fang by Jack London
Operation Osprey by David A. Hill
May: Think (like Sherlock)
- Read a Sherlock Holmes story and celebrate Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s birthday:
The Boscombe Valley Mystery
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Red-headed League
- Let’s explore the world in a book:
Danger in the Sun by Antoinette Moses
The Adventures of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
July: American Independence Day
- Read an American author:
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
August: Human rights
- In August we think about indigenous people and all those who suffered and are suffering slavery
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Mystery at the Mill by Elspeth Rawstron
Run, Liam, Run! by Martyn Hobbs
September: Back to school!
- Read our stories with a school theme:
The Westbourne Kids series by Martyn Hobbs
Stubs Grows Up by Paul Davenport
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
October: Autumn books
- Read a story set in autumn:
The Great Gatsby by F. S. Fitzgerald
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
November: World Philosophy Day
- Read a philosophical story:
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde by R. L. Stevenson
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
December: Holiday reading!
- Christmas is all around:
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Sherlock Holmes and the Stolen Jewels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
We recommend that you check out our blog for a lesson plan or project ideas for our readers.
2 Read around your course book.
You know both your course book and your students’ general interests. Read through the contents page to see what topics you are going to cover, and then have a look at our readers catalogue to see which books fit best with the themes.
3 Read around themes.
If you would like to be more flexible, dedicate a lesson to planning together with your groups at the beginning of the year. Come up with 12 topics your students are interested in, such as sports, space, nature, animals, detectives, adventure and travel. Then find readers which focus on or include your chosen topics.
4 Read a variety of genres.
Graded readers allow your students to read comfortably at their current reading level but it is always a good idea to introduce a variety of texts. Poems, graphic novels, plays and short stories can all be introduced (just remember to check the levels first and pre-teach/activate Download our Reading Planner and challenge yourself to read as many genres as possible. Although it is not essential to finish every novel that you start reading, try to tick off a genre only when you have completed the reading. You and your students can decide to read 12 pieces of literature this year, and remind yourselves that being an overachiever in reading is not a bad thing.
5 Discover new authors.
You might love crime fiction and have not read many historical novels. You might have read a lot of American authors, but you do not know many Australian ones. It is time to discover new names and new styles. Ask your students for book recommendations, and talk about who their favourite authors are.
Three practical tips
1 Book Clubs and Reading Groups
You can motivate your students to read more if you create reading groups or set up a book club based on your students’ interests. If you find it hard to have enough students in the same group, students with different interests can inspire each other, and you can ask them to pick books for each other. Ask them to keep a reading group diary in a notebook or on their mobile phones. The trick is to keep checking on their progress and make it part of your weekly or monthly routine.
Check out our Book Club posts and resources for more tips:
2 Online reading ideas
We have learnt that we need to be ready to go online and offline without much notice. It’s a good idea to combine both approaches as it can motivate your students to engage more.
Visit our blog posts online and collaborative reading for some fun ideas:
- Collaborative projects online
- Get creative: offline and online projects for language learners
- Online storytelling tips for teachers
- Using online games with young learners
3 Set up a classroom or a school library
If you decide to make it a year of reading, it’s a good idea to create a library which can be used by future classes!
We have a series of blog posts which help you set up and manage a classroom library. Check them out now:
- A love of libraries: library activities for young learners
- A love of libraries: get active with library tasks
- A love of libraries: 9 steps towards building your classroom library
- A love of libraries: 10 things to consider when building a classroom library