How to Promote Reading in the Elementary Classroom

Book-It is a fun program sponsored by Pizza Hut. For years, it has been an instrument in getting children to read, but today’s classrooms have moved beyond dependence on outside sources to spark a reading interest in their children. Look at these ideas being implemented around the country.

Literature Circles

Literature circles, the new name for book clubs, are excellent ways to get children reading. In book clubs, students reading the same book get together to discuss their thoughts, observations and feelings about the material they are reading. The trick of a successful book club is the training that the teacher gives the children at the beginning of the year. Students will be taught to actively discuss the stories with ease without the over-sight of the classroom teacher. Literature circles give you an opportunity to give students a break from regular instruction. The facts that students get to pick the book they want to read and they can choose a book their friends are reading increases their interest level and encourages them to read.

Project-Based Learning

Teachers using project-based learning in their classroom encourage critical thinking, collaboration, communication and problem solving. Students seek the answer to a complex problem. Working to present the answers to the question, students will have to do research on their own; this will include in-depth research, reading a variety of materials from a plethora of sources. Because the students tend to have a ‘buy-in’ on the lesson, they research more actively. Here is an example of a project-based learning that had the students reading more on their own. 

Classroom Library

Watch the types of books your students check out; pay attention to their conversations when they have free time and watch them on the playground. Find books that reflect both their reading interests and ability-levels. A wide variety of materials available that interest the kids and that is interesting for them to read will encourage them to read.

Whole Brain Education

Chris Biffle believes that the entire child should be involved in education. On Whole Brain, he demonstrates programs like SuperSpeed and The Crazy Professor Reading Game. The first helps children increase their word recognition knowledge and the second is a fun, exciting way to read with meaning. Improved abilities will encourage students to read. His website offers all of the materials for free.

Cross-curriculum Reading

Use plays, readers’ theater skits, magazine and Internet activities to get your students reading in other areas of the curriculum. Even math has fun books, like ‘The Greedy Triangle,’ ‘Sir Cumference and the First Round Table’ and ‘Math Doesn’t Suck,’ that teachers can use to increase student reading levels. 

Student Books

Provide a format for students to compose and illustrate their own books. Cover the books with clear contact paper. Create a section in your classroom library to highlight student-led books. Kids love reading what their friends wrote. Use that knowledge to increase their daily reading.


Keep using Book It, D.E.A.R., and all of the other programs you have been using. Then use a few more techniques to get your kids reading in the classroom.