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How to Foster a Love for Reading in a Smartphone Era

While smartphones offer staggering convenience and practically unlimited information at our fingertips, they come at a cost beyond the $700 you might pay for the latest iPhone. One of the biggest effects the technology is causing is a lack of reading.

According to a 2016 study by the American Psychological Association, just 16% of high school seniors read a book or magazine on a daily basis. That’s down from 60% in the late 1970s.

To combat this lack-of-reading epidemic, Liana Gamber-Thompson, a published author with a Ph.D. in sociology, offered these seven practical suggestions on EdSurge:

1. Keep Panic at Bay. Yes, it’s okay to be concerned, but pump the brakes on the doomsday logic that all hope is lost for the next generation because of a lack of book reading.

2. Be a Good Role Model. Let your students see you reading and purposely avoiding screen time.

3. Be a Digital Ally. Spend screen time together to acknowledge that not all screen time is evil. Also, be aware of their screen interests to make connections and participate in conversations.

4. Avoid Coercion. Don’t use reading time as punishment. It won’t inspire a true love for learning.

5. Make Good Content Accessible. Take time in class to do a book talk about what you’re currently reading. A lot of elementary teachers are especially great at building their own personal classroom libraries and sharing those books with their students.

6. Expand Your Reading Repertoire. Your students should be encouraged to read about what interests them. It’s still reading even if it’s not a classic novel.

7. Celebrate the Positive. Remember that reading is also possible on a smartphone or a digital reader, so be sure not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

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