Author Topic: Motivation (especially for young students)  (Read 1862 times)

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Motivation (especially for young students)
« on: March 27, 2014, 05:05:39 PM »
Motivating young readers can be really tough. Children often times have to overcome some reading obstacles (for example: coming from  a family/culture where reading is not valued, learning disabilities such as dyslexia, being forced to read materials that are boring to them, etc..), so they may develop a bad attitude towards reading very early on. So, here are some motivational tips that I have had some success with:

1) Have students do a lot of exploring. They need ot find topic and genres that are interesting to them. Once students find something that interests them they will feel a stronger desire to read and explore that topic.

2) Have students read their peers' writing. A school I worked at had their upper grades (5th and 6th grade) write personal narratives or fictional stories and then "published" them in a little book. For some reason all of the younger students were fascinated by this and compelled to read this book. Even my students who were low readers and hated reading were eating this book up!

3) Offer incentives. A lot of schools partner up with companies to do reading rewards programs (especially during summer) and offer food, treats, restaurant vouchers, etc... as incentives to the kids and their families. However, food is not the only incentive. Contests that "publish" children's written work, book reviews, etc... are a great way to get kids writing and reading (and focusing on doing their best work, too). Stickers, high fives, words of encouragement and other of non-edible rewards work well too! 

4) Track progress. I used to give out reading charts that students could color in 1 square for every book they read (or every 30 minutes they read). This gave them a nice vidual representation of all their hard work. I also worked with a teacher who had a big chart on the wall to track students' reading speed (WPM). Every week or so when the students did a practice reading test they would get to move a magnet with their name higher and higher on the chart. I think visual representations that help kids see and track their hard work and progress are a great motivation.

5) Educate and involve families. Not everything that needs to be done can happen in the classroom, there just isn't enough time! So it is key to find out about a child's home life and get the parents on board with their child's education. I found that in many homes there was no culture of reading, writing or higher education. Parents were allowing their children to have TVs in their bedrooms and were neglecting reading an homework. Sometimes, this is simply a lack of education. So it is important to give parents resources and ideas of how to bring reading into the home and change the general culture in the home.

6) Allow students to teach. One elementary school I worked for had a mentoring program that lasted for several weeks. 6th graders were paired with 1st graders to be their reading buddies. The 6th graders received a mini "training" session to prep them to be teachers and mentors to the younger kids. It was inspiring to see the older students step up and motivate and assist the younger children, and (added bonus!) the older students' reading scores and speed (WPM) actually increased/improved as well.

Offline rcampillo

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Motivation: Favorite Authors
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2015, 11:36:00 PM »
I want to expand on the first suggestions from the previous post. In number 1 recommends to let our students explore in order to find a topic (or topics) and genre that are interesting to them.

In my experience as a language instructor (and as an avid reader), I have observed that once students find a topic and genre they like, they usually want more of it. Usually, an author has similar books that can engage students (and instructors as well) into more reading.

That is the reason why young readers like series like Captain Underpants (by Dav Pilkey), Nancy Drew (by Edward Stratemeyer) the Wimpy Kid books (by Jeff Kinney) or the Time Wrap Trio (Jon Scieszka). Teenagers can also be hook to books by Stephenie Meyer (Twilight saga), Pam Munoz Ryan (Stories of immigrant children and their families), J.R.R. Tolkien (Lord of the Ring) nd of course, J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter books).
It is important to have a list of authors and their books, since students might be more attracted to books with similar topics. Eventually they can move to more diverse topics and genres.

If you have the chance, get “Gateway to Reading: 250+Author Games and Booktalks to Motivate Middle Readers” by Nancy J. Polette (2013) by Libraries Unlimited – ABC-Clio, LLC. It introduces 40 well-know children and teenager authors that leads young readers to the some of the best examples of juvenile literature.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2015, 11:38:31 PM by rcampillo »