Assign Novels 2-3 Weeks Ahead of Time
(Norfolk, Virginia, USA)
Actually check out your book to your students 2-3 weeks before the novel unit begins.
If you're teaching in an environment where students are not likely to read their assigned novel outside of school, you are at least communicating the idea that it is important to read slowly, to re-read sections, and to analyze carefully.
But the real pay off is when the students start to whisper words of praise for the novel. They encourage each other to read it, and when they do, you'll be ready to teach lessons on the content of the novel rather than slugging through Sustained Silent Reading or chapter-by-chapter homework assignments.
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