The mindful reader

If you want to create enthusiastic readers, you’ll ensure they have access to a rich range and choice of reading resources and have time to read. However, you’ll also want to inspire their fire for reading. To do this, you need to first know yourself as a reader.

A person reading a book by the sea with a sunset in the background
Image by Mohamed Hassan. CC0 1.0.

Know thyself

The Teachers as Readers project showed that educators who examined their reading experiences and shared these with students 'made a positive impact on children’s desire to read and frequency of reading at home and at school.'

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What were your earliest reading experiences? And through school and beyond?
  • Do you enjoy reading now?
  • How often do you read?
  • What are your reading interests?
  • Why did you read the last book you read? Was it for relaxation? Information? Escape? On what format, for example, eBook, book, audiobook?
  • Where did you read it? On the couch? On the train? Bus? In bed? At the beach?
  • When did you read it?
  • Did you finish it? Skip to the end? Skim it? Reread it?
  • Why that book? Was it recommended? For study? Serendipity while browsing? You liked the author? The series?
  • How do you browse and select books in the library, at bookshops, or online?
  • Do you have a reading plan? Goals?
  • What prevents you from reading?
  • Who was an important reading role model growing up?

Share your reading experiences with students

Once you’ve a clearer idea of yourself as a reader, create opportunities to share your reading experiences with students. Tell them about a recent book you loved (or didn’t) and why.

Reading rivers

Create a reading river and share it with your students before asking them to create their own. This is a great way of finding out what students read over the summer, or the previous year. 

It’s also an effective and enjoyable way of getting to know the reading identities of your students new to your class or school. This is particularly helpful if they are transitioning from primary to intermediate or intermediate to secondary school, as some adapt their reading identity to fit in with new peers.

Reading identity surveys

Aside from chatting with students, a survey like the reader survey that Pernille Rip, author of Passionate Readers, created can help you learn about students’ reading interests and identities (and to get them to consider themselves as readers).

What other ideas do you have for learning about you and your students’ reading identities?

Real world readers do not wait for a teacher to tell them what to read. They read what interests them, what suits their purpose ... When kids define what they care about, they begin to define who they are.
Ollmann, H, 1993, p. 648 in 'Choosing literature wisely: Students speak out. Journal of Reading', 36(8).

Find out more

School staff as readers — learn more about how to be a reading role model and get tips to inspire and encourage your students to become engaged readers.

By Jo Buchan

Jo is the Senior Specialist (Developing Readers) for Services to Schools.

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