Get inspiredGet inspired

So You Want Me to Read a Book – A Retrospective

So You Want Me to Read a Book – A Retrospective


Jerome Washington

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.

The more that you learn, the more places you will go.”

-Dr. Seuss

It was at IATEFL 28 where I was able to attend my first teaching conference of any sort. Meeting loads of people, networking, making new life-long friends and so on. It was at this event that I was encouraged to make my voice heard, to offer my thoughts, my views into the teaching community. Fast forward to 2022 and I was blessed to be able to attend IATEFL Poznań.

The focus of my presentation centered around encouraging our students (whether in school or from private freelancing) to read a book. A book? An object that can be a kryptonite to many English learners, especially beginners. Not to mention the excuses of ‘I have no time’ or ‘That book is too big’ or ‘It looks complicated’ is something I have typically heard throughout my time working here in Poland. So I developed what I dubbed PVP to help teachers sell the idea of a book, without pressuring the students to read said book. I figured if I connect the book to the student’s life, showing them how the main character(s) relate to them in more ways than one, how if you don’t judge the book by its cover or page length (or thickness), that there is a lot of value laying in between the covers that students can take advantage of in order to improve their English.

Want new vocabulary? It’s in a book.

Want new topics to explore and discuss? It’s in a book.

Want to disconnect from social media and entertain yourself in a more enriching manner?

It’s. In. A. Book.

PVP is the blueprint that I use to sell a book to a student. PVP stands for:




I use these 3 words to then introduce a book to my students, without saying, “Here…read this.” But instead, I share with my students the concepts of what potential the book has and why I feel it would be a great read for them. I break it down into these 3 steps. All without spoiling the book and while captivating their minds into becoming eager to read after I have explained these 3 things.

People – Who are the main characters in the book? More importantly, what are these people doing? How do they connect to your life? – opening yourself up to your students could encourage them to share more about their lives and issues. Consider actions, situations, emotions, events and so on. In order to entice young readers, it would be best to show how relatable the characters are to them.

Vibes – Going back to the previous statement, How do they connect to your life?, what vibes did you get while reading the book (assuming you read the book… wink)? If you are able to set the tone when you are breaking down the setting, some scenes, using real-life problems, questions, moments that are being addressed and so on. Once you’ve introducing the book after sharing the vibes, it will make the revel 1000 times more impactful because students are now connected to the book.

Perspectives – We can get carried away from time to time with explaining things, so be sure to gather information from students perspectives. Engage them by gathering their points of view about whatever the topic is – or prepare an activity similar to a plot point a book you are trying to present. Respect their opinions. Plus this will allow you to gather more information about their level of interest on whatever topic you are presenting. The added bonus being that maybe your students will have some similar traits with the character(s) within the book and you could request that they pay attention to said character(s).

Of course, nothing is 100% and yes students may not read the book…or say that they will, but don’t. But for the most part, I have had great success with my method. And I hope that after reading my words in this article, you will implement PVP in your own way. Hopefully, this will not only engage your students ideologies during discussions – before and after reading, but also you as a teacher will be able to see what interests them, what genres they are into, what vocabulary was difficult for them and so on.

Knowledge is power. Let’s aim to give that power to our students. One book at a time.

Jerome Washington, originally from Detroit, MI, has been living in Lublin since 2014. He is an English teacher at Lubelska Szkoła Realna. It was at IATEFL 28 that his passion for writing was restored. Thanks to that event, he published his first book – Moments of the Chosen. Currently, he is preparing to publish his second book, first novel.