Strategies for Motivating Students to Read Video

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  • 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
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Instructor: Derek Hughes
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.

Motivation

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.

You can instill the value of reading in a student in many different ways. The most important thing is that you get to know your students (their interests, backgrounds, and skills) so you are able to steer them in the right direction. The more you know about your students, the more you can help them find texts that they find valuable.

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