Strategies for Motivating Students to Read

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Enjoyment of Language for Literacy Development

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:03 Motivation
  • 0:47 Classroom Library
  • 1:54 Helping Students Find Value
  • 2:54 Building Confidence
  • 3:38 Reward Systems
  • 4:13 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Derek Hughes

Derek has a Masters of Science degree in Teaching, Learning & Curriculum.

One of the biggest hurdles of reading instruction is helping students become motivated to read. This lesson will detail several strategies you can use in your classroom to help students become motivated, lifelong readers.


No one likes doing something they aren't motivated to do. Every day, we have to do things that we don't necessarily want to do, but we somehow motivate ourselves to follow through. For example, you may not want to wake up early in the morning for work, but you tell yourself that the money you earn will help you do something fun this weekend. Similarly, students need motivation to do things in school, including reading.

Put simply, motivation is the reason someone has for doing something. As teachers, we spend all day motivating our students to do one thing or another. Motivating students to read is a particularly challenging task. The strategies detailed in this lesson will hopefully help make it a bit easier for you.

Classroom Library

The first strategy is probably something you already do, maybe without even knowing it. By having a classroom library filled with a wide variety of texts from different genres and reading levels, you help motivate students to read. Sometimes students aren't motivated to read because they haven't found anything that is interesting and accessible to them.

It is important to have a variety of genres in your classroom library so that students can get exposure to them. As you probably know, readers tend to prefer some genres over another. While one student may like realistic fiction stories about kids, another may prefer informational texts about topics in science. Being able to choose of the type of book to read is key to lighting the spark of interest in reading.

Additionally, the texts in your classroom library need to be accessible to students with varying skill levels. Imagine trying to motivate yourself to build a car when you lack the basic knowledge of car construction and machinery. The same applies for readers. If a student finds that the books they're choosing are difficult to read or they can't understand them, they are going to lose the motivation to read at all.

Helping Students Find Value

It is easier to motivate yourself to do something if you find value in doing it. For example, cleaning the house is something you have to motivate yourself to do, but you find value in having a clean living space where you can relax. Students need to find value in reading and not view it as more school work being piled on.

One way to help students find value in reading is to help them relate the reading to their own lives. For example, a few students might have an idea that they want to be a doctor when they grow up. Therefore, a book about doctors, especially about when the doctor was young like them, will be valuable for them to read, as it can teach them about their future profession and the path to accomplish it.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account