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Projects to get your students reading

September 01, 2021 by Maria Cleary

Here we go back to school again. For teachers, September is the beginning of a new year. And it’s the perfect time to plan exciting projects for the new term ahead. The last couple of years have taught us that a project-based approach is valuable, not only because unexpected changes might happen, but also because students benefit from such an approach. You’ll find collaboration, creativity, research skills and time management among the many aspects of project-based language teaching. Read more about collaborative projects online in our blog article

If you plan on integrating more reading into your teaching practice - and why wouldn’t you given the many benefits of reading and storytelling? - we have some great reading-based projects for you. Pick one (to start) or two (if you have experience setting up reading projects) and make this your special plan for the new term. Your enthusiasm, our tips and some classroom fun will get your students reading more and more.

On the READ

On the Read is our short series of blog posts based on travel. The series takes us on a 6-stop journey across the world through our favourite books and readers, extending our steps not only in space but also in time. We travel around the world inspired by classic and original fiction from the Helbling Readers series. In each of our six major destinations, we explore the landscapes, learn about culture and get some travel tips.  

Teaching tip: Dedicate six sessions to introducing these six destinations, and six sessions to talking about your students’ reading experiences and research findings. Take your time, travel slowly and if you manage to visit all six destinations by the end of the term, you will be an experienced reader-traveller. Remember to pin your destinations on a (real or virtual) map!

Reading for the ENVIRONMENT

In this series of lesson plans and ideas, we help you focus on different aspects of the environment and raise environmental awareness in your English classes. We believe in the power of reading in the context of a wide range of causes. We know that the better your students’ literacy and language skills become, the more they will be able to learn about the environment and understand the urgent need to live in a sustainable fashion. So far we have had eight exciting thematic lesson plans and tips covering a wide range of environmental topics. 

Teaching tip: Introduce the idea of reading for the environment to your students. Each month, pick a theme from our list of topics and discuss an exciting topic or complete a relevant activity in class. Then, encourage your students to read more (magazines and newspapers, too!) and do some research in connection with the topic. You can dedicate a lesson to discussion and sharing findings and reading experiences.


Every language teacher’s dream is to get their students to read at least one Shakespeare play during their studies. This may seem challenging, but reading and performing selections from the Bard’s plays is a fun and engaging experience for the whole class. Read more about why it’s an excellent and relevant idea to include Shakespeare in your language teaching, and then check out our blog article about working with his texts. Then, pick a play from the Helbling Shakespeare series and read with your students, developing language through the activities and project ideas.

Find out more about the series here

Teacher and director Teresa Brett presents the Helbling Shakespeare Series

Library projects

If you are more interested in general projects to get your students hooked on books, a library project will be the right choice for you. In our series of articles and lesson plans, we introduce you to the wonderful world of libraries and show you how you can build your own classroom library or get busy in your school or local library with both your youngest and oldest students.

Links to the articles:

A love of libraries: much more than just books

A love of libraries: library activities for young learners

A love of libraries: get active with library tasks

A love of libraries: 9 steps towards building your classroom library

A love of libraries: 10 things to consider when building a classroom library

Get inspired by other teachers

Our Inspiring teachers series gives you real-life examples of teachers in action. Our teachers talk about how they approach reading in their classes and share their experiences of organizing reading projects such as radio plays, active reading, reading marathons, tea parties and so on. Browse our collection of interviews and then pick one idea and adapt it for your own classes.

Over to you

Have you carried out a reading project with your own classes? Do you have experiences to share with other teachers? Have you used a Helbling Reader in a particular way? We would love to hear from you.