Saturday, April 5, 2008

How to Make Sure Your Students Will Hate Reading

OK, now you have your first teaching job, or you've been teaching forever and are looking for new ideas. The whole point of this post is to tell a few of the things that teachers can do that will totally turn their students off on reading. When you're teaching literacy, the main question you should ask yourself is why you're doing it. What do you want the students to get out of it? When I ask myself this question, the answer is always 'I teach reading because I want my students to enjoy reading and gain reading skill.' When I say 'gain reading skill,' I don't mean 'answer test questions.'

So there, that's a start. Now, if you want your students to hate reading, your answer to that questions should go something like; 'I teach reading so my students will score better on the test.' There are variations on this, but it comes down to a focus on skills and strategies.

Here's some great things to do in your classroom if you really want to cultivate their hatred of reading:

  • Never let them choose what they read.
  • Use textbooks, 100% all the time.
  • Use test practice materials as much as you possibly can. Yell at them if they don't do well.
  • 3 words: basal, basal, basal
  • Use worksheets constantly. Especially those great language arts ones, where they diagram sentences and find the verbs. You'd be surprised how quickly your students will not only hate reading but writing as well, you can kill two birds with one stone in this manner.
  • When you do read alouds, make sure the books are in no way connected to their lives or interests, just pick books because you've used them before and you have a lot of materials (like worksheets) to give them.
  • When students work in groups, make them do the same tasks every single time.
  • Never, NEVER read silently to yourself while your students read silently. The last thing they need is a good model of how to read independently.
  • Taking the previous example one step further, never stop while reading to the class to interject something, and never purposefully make a mistake that students can catch and correct.

This is a start. If you can do at least a few of these things, then you'll very quickly have a class full of non-readers. Good luck!