It can be a challenge to find rigorous yet creative reading lessons. Reading engagement is vital to the success of students. While some students find ways to develop this engagement independently, the vast majority of students have improved outcomes when you help them develop it. Today let’s talk about four creative reading lessons that can help you successfully create and encourage reading engagement in your students.
Short stories are a treasure trove of material. They come in a wide assortment and in every imaginable topic and genre—biography to fantasy, humorous to tragic—something for every taste. There is almost no literary device or technique found in longer works that cannot be found in and taught using short stories, so they are very versatile in your classroom. Possibly most importantly for many readers, they are also short. Their condensed length allows students to finish them in relatively short order, finding and repeating success much more frequently than they would with a longer work. Looking for some creative reading lessons and activities for short stories? Try one of these: Grade 6 Short Story Unit, Grade 7 Short Story Unit and Grade 8 Short Story Unit.
Book Flatlay Project
Here is something a little different—a book flatlay project. If you are unfamiliar with flatlay art, it is art created by arranging a curated set of items in a specific design and then taking a bird’s eye view photo of them. This outside-the-box project asks students to create a flatlay image and then justify their prop choices by finding evidence in the text to support their ideas. It is a great book report alternative and a creative way for students to showcase their learning after completing a text. By giving this assignment to students ahead of reading, they will be critically thinking about the text and their flatlay as they read, thereby creating a fairly constant stream of engaged thought. Try this Book Flatlay Project.
Digital Escape Rooms
Escape rooms are kind of having a moment, and rightly so. In the digital escape rooms, students work to answer questions, discover new ideas, solve problems, and apply knowledge. While often done in groups (encouraging teamwork, cooperation, group thinking, and discussion), these popular activities can also be done independently making them a very versatile classroom undertaking. Really, what more could a teacher ask for! Escape rooms, and digital escape rooms, in particular, are great creative reading lessons for encouraging textual engagement. They reinforce close reading by forcing students to look at and analyze texts. They encourage listening skills as students are asked to view videos and discuss with each other and then apply that knowledge to the activity. Students must read and think carefully about clues they are given. Digital escape rooms are also very easy to theme to coincide with whatever topic your students are studying and are appropriate to your situation and students’ interests. Check out all these different digital escape rooms.
Biography Symbolism Assignment
This specific assignment is also a great way to encourage reading engagement. In it, students will read a biography, memoir, or autobiography and then create a life map outlining the important events in their chosen subject’s life. After creating the life map students will create and assign symbols to the events and provide justifications for these symbol choices. Not only is this a creative and fun activity that students enjoy, but it also generates engagement as students read their chosen text. Much like the book flatlay project above, by giving this assignment to the students before reading, students will be constantly thinking about what they will be constructing at the end of the text. This forms an interest in and critical thinking about the text right from the start, creating natural engagement for your students. Check out this Biography Symbolism Assignment.
There are so many great creative reading lessons out there that help create and encourage student reading engagement. Making use of the ones described above or any of the myriad of others at your disposal is a wonderful way to have engaged readers in your classroom.
Check Out These Engaging Resources
- Book Unboxing Assignment
- Poetry Digital Escape Room
- Pre-Made Book Talks for Middle and High School Teachers
- The Importance of Reading Engagement
Are you interested in learning more about reading engagement in the middle school classroom? I have created an online course all about this topic. Teachers can learn about this important topic right from the comfort of their couch. Click here to learn more.