How to Build a Campus-Wide Culture of Reading in 6 Easy Steps

Updated: Jul 16


Any time of the year is a good time to build a culture of reading. The beginning of the year is PERFECT...whether it's back to school in August or starting the new year in January! If that isn't your cup of tea, then maybe it's starting a new reading initiative at school and you kick it off with building a little campus reading culture. Maybe it's just that you decide NOW is the time, whether it's September, October, November, December, January, February, March or April...


Bottom line...ANY time is the PERFECT time to build a campus-wide culture of reading.


Ask everyone to put their reading life on display. Everyone has a unique readerly life...even the 'I hate to read' crowd or 'I don't ever read' crowd.

EVERYONE reads something! It doesn't have to just be the latest and greatest novel. Or the NY Times bestseller. It could be technical journals. It could be online news. It could be anything! It could be newspapers, magazines, recipe books! EVERYONE reads! Reading drives everything!


Here's the challenge!

  1. Do you want to establish a positive culture of reading on your entire campus?

  2. Do you want your students to see each other as readers?

  3. Do you want your students to see you and the other adults on your campus as readers?

If your answer is YES, then it’s time to get everyone on board to explore their reading life and put it on display for all to see.


When your readers see how reading fits into EVERYONE'S daily life, they will begin to see the value of living a readerly life. They will take action to discover the kinds of reading they do.


How To Build a Campus-Wide Culture of Reading

It takes a few easy steps...


1 Print

Print out this FREE downloadable infographic to help get you and everyone started. There are a few easy steps. Get creative! Explore the possibilities! Share this with your group.

2 Create

Create your own reading life display. Share your reading life with others on your campus. Now is the fun part! Start thinking about your reading life. What makes you unique? How do you live a readerly life?

  • Think about how reading is a part of your life.

  • Think about your favorite books.

  • Go back in time and create a reading timeline. Be vulnerable. Be real. Be honest!

  • Think about what you are reading right now.

  • Think about what you would like to read.

  • Think about how you like to read.

  • Think about where you like to read.


3 Encourage

Encourage others to create their own reading life displays.

Get everyone onboard on your campus including

  • your grade-level team

  • other grade-level teams

  • principal

  • assistant principal

  • teacher’s aides

  • custodians

  • secretary

  • attendance clerk

  • nurse

  • cafeteria workers

  • everyone who works with children every day

4 Gather & Share

Take time before school starts to share your reading life with your colleagues. This would be a great icebreaker activity at the beginning of the year when everyone is gathering together on campus for the first meetings of the new school year. Think about how it would be a great way to get to know those that you have worked with for years and how you could get to know those brand-new staff members.


If the start of school has come and gone, that's okay. EVERY DAY is the perfect day to start building a campus-wide culture of reading. Think about the impact displaying reading lives could have when your campus starts a new reading initiative or advertising for a Family Literacy Night.

5 Display

Reading Identity Chain (mid year)

Decide how you will display your reading life for all students to see during the year. On your door, in the front foyer, outside of the office…the possibilities are endless.


Wouldn't it be great if everyone posted their display right outside their classroom door, office door, cafeteria doors, custodian's closet door?


Imagine the impact and power that would have on your learners!


Imagine the impact and power that would have on anyone who steps into your building!


Share your reading life displays on Instagram and tag me @literacytreasures and use #sharingmyreadinglife

6 Make It Part of Your Lesson Plans

Put it in your lesson plans for the first day of school.


Put it in your lesson plans for tomorrow or next week or next month. Just put it in your lesson plans.


Share your reading life with your students and have them explore and create their own reading life displays. Then, decide how your students will display their reading lives.

Have your students make it part of their Readers' Notebooks.


Provide opportunities for your readers to look back at their reading life displays and/or sections in their Readers' Notebooks to reflect about the kind of reader they were and the kind of reader they are now.


All readers grow, change and evolve over time. Make it a point to have your readers reflect on their reading lives several times a year.


Until next time...

Use these resources to help get your ideas going for how to help you and your readers document their reading lives and establishing reading identities.



#authenticengagement #literacyexperiences

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