10 Qualities of Effective Teachers that Help Students Improve Their Reading Skills

by Angie Barnett | Jan 7, 2015

10 Qualities of Effective Teachers that Help Students Improve Their Reading Skills

Think back to the very beginning of your teaching career. You were full of excitement (and energy) as the new school year approached. Instead of learning behind a desk, you finally would have the opportunity to teach in front of the classroom. The days to follow were filled with anticipation, smiles, and laughter. Then eventually, once the newness began to wear off; the hard times inevitably came along too. What kept you going was that one teacher that showed you what you were capable of. Whether it be through a helping hand or a quiet example, you knew that if she could do it then you could do it too.

In a recent survey, we asked our network of teachers to think about a teacher they admire and list the qualities they believed made those teachers effective. The following qualities of effective teachers were shared again and again:


Qualities of Effective Teachers


1. Love Their Students

One of the characteristics of an effective teacher is that these teachers feel privileged and honored to be a part of their students’ lives. They relate to their students by finding out what they’re interested in and then learning more about those interests. This way, they can be more involved with their class and design lesson plans and reading material relevant and exciting to their students.

2. Listen to Students

Listening to students goes a long way in building trust and mutual respect. The teachers that do listen receive valuable insight into the lives of their students. Students are more likely to ask for additional support when struggling with reading or other subjects if they are in an environment where they know their teacher will take them seriously.

3. Make Time for Each Student

Teachers that make time for each student individually can see which students need a challenge in their reading and which ones are struggling and could use some additional support. These teachers aren’t necessarily better at time management; however, they know when to ask for help to make time for this critical best practice.

4. Learn Something New Every Day

Those that “practice what they preach” and are passionate about learning and reading are the best examples to their students. Teachers that strive to learn something new every day, whether it be through reading good books, staying on top of local issues, or simply listening to a friend, will inspire their students to be life-long learners as well.

5. Fill the Classroom with Positivity

It’s incredible how far a smile and a kind word can go toward lifting the mood of the entire classroom—especially for students that may be struggling with reading or other subjects. Another quality of an effective teacher is that they are consistently upbeat, which enables their students to feel secure in their learning environment. As educators, we know that students will inevitably push our buttons from time to time, and we admire teachers who choose to use humor instead of allowing situations like that to sour their moods.

6. Patiently Handle Challenging Situations

There is no substitute for kindness. Teachers are under a lot of stress and must work with parents, districts, and policies. With so many different opinions going into the education system, it’s easy to get flustered when faced with harsh criticisms. Teachers that empathize with concerns can then use the criticisms as an opportunity to become even more effective educators.

7. Constantly Look for Ways to Become Better

The most effective teachers didn’t become that way overnight. They constantly look for ways to improve their craft and aren’t afraid to try new things (even if they don’t seem to work the first time around). These teachers are determined to succeed and work hard for the results they ultimately achieve.

8. Collaborate with Other Teachers

Being a team player allows teachers to be even more productive. Looking out for one another and brainstorming together is not only a great way to create meaningful friendships, but it also helps uncover creative solutions for teachers. In addition, exchanging ideas with other educators can provide valuable insights to implement in the classroom.

9. Develop Relationships with Parents

Getting everyone on board in a child’s education is an essential factor determining how motivated the child will be throughout their entire academic career and reading development. Teachers who build open communication with parents will achieve the results in their students’ best interests.

10. Maintain Classroom Organization

Teachers love an organized classroom and lesson plans. They admire each other for finding new ways to be even more efficient as educators. Teachers that appear to “have it together” often have created an environment of respect for classroom organization as well as a determination for staying on task.

Service Challenge:

Do you know a teacher that exemplifies these qualities? Here at Reading Horizons, we are challenging teachers to write an anonymous letter to a colleague they admire. Who knows, you might make someone’s day!

Increase your effectiveness with training in structured literacy and an elementary reading curriculum that helps you reach more beginning and struggling readers.

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