One of the big questions in education today, especially in reading, is how do you motivate your students to learn? How do you get them to put in the necessary attention and hours to master the subject?
One way is to lead by example. If the students are working on a silent exercise or are reading a book that you have assigned, instead of sitting at the head of the class going through papers or working on building another exercise, read your own book. When the silent period is up, share your excitement about your book with the students and talk about some of the things that make you want to read more. Then ask them what they find exciting in the book you have assigned them or a book they are reading on their own.
A second way is to provide students with reading strategies. Instead of just handing them a book and saying “read it,” teaching them how to parse it into manageable sections, to take notes to reinforce the information, and to look for things like major plot points or twists will provide them with a framework in which to work. Suddenly, reading won’t be just a chore but will be an achievable – and an even enjoyable – process.
A third way is to allow students to read the entire book you’ve assigned before you pull it apart and discuss plot details or literary devices. If they have the whole story in their heads, it will be much easier for them to relate to and connect the topics you bring up.
A fourth way is to invite a local author to speak to the class. They can share their love of reading with the students, as well as how they, as a writer, try to connect with their readers. By understanding the process of communication, the students may be more motivated to try to connect with any other book they’re reading. You can also, as a follow-up exercise, have the students try their hands at writing their own book, either individually or as a class. Being an active part of the process makes students want to get more involved.
A fifth way is to let the students know that it’s okay not to like a book – not everything appeals to everyone. The key here is to help them pinpoint why they didn’t like the book. Was it the subject matter? The writer’s style? Being unable to relate to the main character? Have them do a written exercise explaining their point of view and indicating how it could have been better.
A sixth way is to encourage students to read out of class. Have them visit their local library and take out a book that seems interesting to them. If they are self-motivated, they may pay more attention to what and how they’re reading both in and out of class.
A seventh way, and one we see with many teachers who use the AceReader program, is to stress the importance of reading right at the beginning of the term. Try to relate to the students that reading is a skill that will stay with them all their lives. It will help them get through school. It will help them get into college and then graduate from college. It will help them land a good job and be successful in all aspects of their lives. Understanding just how important reading is may convince them to work harder to master the skills needed to achieve fluency.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of possibilities. We at AceReader are interested in hearing from teachers at all levels of education about how you motivate your students to read and achieve. Please leave us detailed information in the comments section below.