Fostering a Love for Reading at School

In an era dominated by digital distractions, cultivating a love for reading in the classroom is more crucial than ever. Not only does reading enhance cognitive skills and expand vocabularies, but it also promotes empathy, creativity, and confidence. Recognizing the profound impact of reading on cognitive, emotional, and social development, the promotion of a love for reading becomes an indispensable investment in shaping enlightened, informed, and engaged scholars. As members of Classical’s ‘At Risk Learning Specialist’ team, a team primarily focused on reading growth, we have made it our mission to cultivate a genuine joy for reading in our schools. Below are effective strategies and events that have sparked excitement and passion for reading among our scholars, families, and staff.

Create a Reading-Friendly Environment

Begin by transforming your classroom into a haven for reading. Dedicate a cozy corner with comfortable seating, pillows, and soft lighting. Incorporate vibrant and engaging posters that celebrate literature. Make sure there are ample shelves filled with a diverse range of books that cater to various interests and reading levels. An inviting environment sets the stage for a positive reading experience.

  • Create a system and model how to choose “just right” books.
  • Have scholars leave a review for a book they are currently reading.
  • Invest in culturally relevant books.
  • Make your library exciting with “teacher choice” books and a “book of the month”.

Just Right Books

Book Clubs & Reading Circles

As a small group instructor, I call my at-risk groups “Ms. Jay’s Book Club.” Every three weeks, scholars receive an invitation to join the book club. This small change made a huge impact on scholar behavior and overall excitement to read together. Allowing students to openly discuss their background knowledge and interest in a text provides them with the opportunity to build intrinsic value in literature. This not only enhances comprehension but also encourages a shared reading experience that can be both enjoyable and educational.

Book Club

100 Book Challenge

To support scholars in building enduring reading habits and a joyful culture of literary exploration, the 100 Book Challenge encourages scholars in grades K-8 to embark on an optional reading journey, targeting 100 books within a time frame of roughly 6-12 weeks. Teachers and families get involved to help scholars reach their goal.

To roll out the 100 book challenge:

  • have scholars complete a reading log each night based on their level.
  • have scholars turn in their reading log, signed by their parent/guardian, weekly.
  • share weekly growth visibly for scholars and families to see.
  • when a grade reaches 100 books, the competition for their grade band closes.
  • celebrate the winners and all participating scholars!

Book Challenge

Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R.)

March 2nd is National Read Across America Day. This is a great opportunity to celebrate and encourage scholars to read for joy. One way to make reading fun and exciting is to drop everything and read! For this event, I created flyers, PowerPoints, and ordered a few new books for each classroom. The idea is that, at a seemingly random part of the day, scholars will have the opportunity to drop what they are doing and explore their updated library. They can read either solo or with a partner for 15-20 minutes. Afterwards, scholars will discuss what they’ve read and create a storyboard to hang around their library and outside the classroom.

  • Create fun flyers that give a hint about what’s to come.
  • Create fun bookmarks and posters to give your library a “wow” factor.
  • If applicable, order a few new books based on scholar interest! (Check out this short read for best practices when selecting intentional books for your library.)
  • Give scholars a chance to write, draw, or talk about what they read.
  • Share what scholars and staff are reading throughout the school.


Launch Fun Reading Challenges

Allow reading to be fun by “challenging” scholars while they’re reading. Over this past winter break, we created 17 challenges for scholars to do while reading. Encourage teachers and families to get involved by send pictures to share around the school! This activity not only makes reading fun but builds a strong culture school-wide. Some of the challenges included reading to someone over the phone, reading while standing on one leg, reading while wrapped in a blanket, reading to your favorite toy, and reading in your best teacher voice!

Involve Families and Community Members

There is arguably nothing more impactful than a community coming together. Invite parents and community members to be guest readers, in person or virtually, or host after-school events in which scholars can book shop, play phonics games, and read to their teachers or family. This is a great opportunity to get families involved and provide free resources within the community. Additionally, you can promote reading outside of school by encouraging families to visit their local library.


Cultivating a love for reading in the classroom requires a multifaceted approach that combines a conducive environment, interactive activities, and a personalized touch. By implementing these strategies, educators can create an atmosphere where students not only learn to read but also develop a lifelong passion for literature. In doing so, they open doors to a world of imagination, knowledge, and joy that extends far beyond the confines of the classroom.



This post was contributed by Ms. Jay, At-Risk Learning Specialist and reading enthusiast. As a non-CMO charter network, we rely on the thoughts, opinions, and innovations of our staff to move our mission forward and provide an excellent academic option to families in the South Bronx. To hear more from our staff, check out the next post! Or, click here to learn more.


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