How To Engage Kids With Reading

engage kids with reading

Lauren Lynne joined our February #BBchat to talk about how to engage kids with reading and the importance of writing in the classroom.

engage kids with readingFor the February edition of our #BBchat Twitter chat, we asked Lauren Lynne, certified teacher and author of the young adult series The Secret Watchers, for her thoughts on how to engage kids with reading and the importance of writing in the classroom. Lauren prefaced this month’s chat in a guest post on the same subject, which you can check out here.

To view the entire chat transcript, please visit this link. Below is a reformatted version of our discussion.

Who’s with us today? Please introduce yourself and let the conversation begin!

I’m Lauren Lynne, author of The Secret Watchers series for young adults. I’m also a teacher of students from age five up to adults.

Why do kids benefit from sharing books with each other?

They can practice reading aloud, build confidence, and practice listening.

What are Lit Circles and how do you use them in the classroom?

Lit Circles are a group of students sharing and discussing the same book. Each student often has a job within the group. Lit Circles are used for deeper understanding, to enhance skills, and for collaborative learning with student-centered inquiry. Each session we rotate jobs. We use a discussion director (leader), vocabulary person to look up words, etc. You can also have students who focus on setting, where the story is leading, connections, what the author meant, and more.

Does setting aside specific times to let your students read help them to be more effective throughout the day?

Quiet reading is for think time, a calming exercise, and to refocus students. I believe it does make them more effective learners.

Why is it important to let your students write without rules?

Writing without rules lets students see how fast they can write. It stretches their brains and it’s fun! We do lots of required stuff. Sadly, I don’t get to choose how long we dedicate to writing. We only have a 30 minute writing block allotted in the schedule. Given the choice, I’d do more.

How does music help you bridge the gap between story and reality?

Music adds another element, like a theater experience. It makes you feel like you’re there. Reading about a chase? Listen to epic movie music. *turns on thematic music* “It was a dark and scary night. Rain slithered down darkened tree trunks…” Music always adds something. I sometimes write to soundscapes. Rain is one of my favorites.

How do your lessons on writing help your students become more effective readers?

Reading and writing are deeply intertwingled (Yeah, it’s a real word). Improve one and the other improves too.

How important is role-playing in your writing lessons?

Role-playing has its place. I don’t use it in writing lessons. I do have students connect to how something made them feel.

Do you encourage your students to share their writing with their friends and family?

I always encourage students to share their writing. If they don’t want to, that’s okay too. I also use the author’s chair. The author’s chair is where my kiddos can sit and read-aloud to the whole class or a small group depending on the situation.

How do your students help you shape your YA stories?

I watch what they do and listen to how they talk to each other. I use that to give my books an authentic feel. I have worked with little guys all the way up to adult learners. Although I write for older kids (age 12 and up), my favorite grades to teach are 4th and 5th.

What’s next for you after The Secret Watchers series?

A young adult dystopian that is out to beta readers, a children’s book up my sleeve, and more from the Secret Watchers universe. The Recalcitrant Project features a female computer genius who inadvertently creates a killer game and now has to fix it with the government after her.


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