Challenge #12: Map out 3-4 ways you want to encourage healthy reading habits beyond the school day.

Challenge #12: Map out 3-5 ways you want to encourage healthy habits beyond the school day. Make plans for how you will encourage wide, high volume reading inside and outside the classroom this year, encouraging students to set goals, make plans, reflect, and adjust. 


“Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.”



How Does This Help Grow A Community of Readers?

An intentional focus on healthy habits is a commitment to empower students to take charge of their own reading lives, learning to make choices, design plans, and set goals that will help them develop and sustain a habit of joyful and purposeful reading throughout their lifetimes.

The essential question we use to consider if students need more nurturing and support with the development of reading habits is this:

                                 Is the reader making intentional decisions that result in lots of                                 time spent reading both in and out of school?

Until the answer to this question is a resounding, “YES!” we’ll want to keep looking for ways to help reading take hold across a student’s life. Designated time for self-selected reading within the school day is critical. But, to nurture and sustain reading lives of their own, students need to learn the habits, both the why and the how, to carry on as readers outside the walls of school, when we are not right there with them.

Students who read in the summer aren’t prone to the debilitating grip of the summer slide. Summer reading habits can be developed from the very first day of school year.

So before you ever even meet your students, you’ll want spend some time reflecting on how you’ll encourage, model and support them in taking charge of building thriving reading lives, the kind that outstretch and outlast their time with us. 

In the initial weeks of the school year, you might offer lessons aimed at:

  • Choosing reading spots that really work, both in and out of school.
  • Making choices and specific plans that result in lots time spent reading, both in and out of school.
  • Making plans and setting goals for themselves as readers (both in and out of school).
  • Connecting with other readers to reflect on reading habits and adjust when needed. For example, in Christina’s classroom, students check in with each other to reflect on what they’ve read at home the night before. Or, if no reading took place, they take time to help each other think about what could be adjusted tonight to make more time for reading. 

Ideas to Get Started

  • Consider giving up the old and tired daily reading log signed by parents. We all know this isn’t an honest picture of anything aside from which parents remember to sign the form, and which ones don’t. Instead, work with kids to develop a why and a how for being readers outside of the classroom.
    BlogFB Design Space (42)
    Anchor Chart to Support Healthy Habits


  • Help students plan, reflect, and adjust rather than telling them what to do. For example, if a student’s reading space doesn’t seem to be working, it will be more productive for him in the long run if you can guide him through a reflective conversation about what does and doesn’t work, than to simply assign him to a different sport.
  • Pay attention to the kind of space that works best for you as a reader.  Soft or hard? Bright light or soft light? Open space or enclosed space? Chair or floor? Inside or outside? Now, help students notice and name the same sorts of preferences for themselves. 
  • Make reading outside of the school day something you celebrate every morning of the school year, by highlighting examples or starting the day with a turn-and-talk that gets kids sharing with each other.
  • Help students make very concrete plans about their reading lives outside of school, envisioning every detail.  When? Where? With whom?
  • Accept and encourage read aloud as a form of at home reading for any age or stage of reader. Making reading at home a joyful meaning making experience is the goal.

Questions to Consider

  • How much do I hope my students will read in school each day? Outside of school?  On the weekends? On holiday breaks?
  • How can I help students who don’t have a lot of at home support, in taking charge of their own planning for out of school reading?
  • What sort of goal setting and plan making have I modeled for my students?  What would be some examples of goals and plans I could share with them?
  • While encouraging high volume reading, what can I do to make sure numbers of pages, books, or minutes don’t become a more important outcome that engaged meaning making?

Helpful Links

Why I Ditched the At-Home Reading Log

10 Ways to Ditch that Reading Log from Middle School Mind Blog


We’d love to hear from you. What are some healthy reading habits you wish to foster in your students this year? How might you get started with this important work?  Please share some of your thinking with our Facebook group.  We want to learn from you. 

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2 thoughts on “Challenge #12: Map out 3-4 ways you want to encourage healthy reading habits beyond the school day.

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