Meghan Retallick contributed this post. Meghan sends a weekly "Instruction & Literacy Tip" to her staff. Click here for more "Instruction & Literacy Tips". Click here for all of Meghan's Literacy Booth posts.
Whether you love or hate the Superbowl Champion New England Patriots, you have to enjoy this story about Patriot's wide receiver, Malcolm Mitchell. Mitchell's greatest accomplishment isn't winning the Superbowl, but becoming a reader. A teacher first shared his story with me three years ago when,as a college athlete, Mitchell joined a book club with women much older than him to improve his junior high reading level. Watch this clip from CBS news to learn more about his story and what reading means to him now with his current success. What an inspiring story for all of our struggling readers out there!
So how do we motivate more students to be like Malcolm Mitchell?
First, an important factor at the heart of reading motivation is creating a social relationship around text. The student will find more value in reading if they have someone to talk about books with who cares. Using read aloud and discussion are very effective in motivating all types of readers.
Research (Gambrell & Marinak, 2009) supports the following two strategies to improve reading motivation and foster a social relationship around text:
- I Picked This Just For You - Invite students into a reading conversation by selecting texts personally for them (i.e., “I picked this just for you.”). This conveys the message that you can’t wait to hear whether they enjoyed your pick. In other words, in addition to inviting reading, you are welcoming the conversation and inviting the student to develop a social relationship around reading.
- Experts Teaching - This activity is a modified jigsaw that allows choice of group, collaboration to learn challenging content, and choice of presentation mode. Instead of the whole class reading a whole text, students work in groups to read one chapter/section of the text and then have the choice of how they are going to teach the content of their chapter/section back to their peers.
See this reference guide I've put together for more strategies to increase reading motivation.
What practices have you found to increase reading motivation in students?