Monday, July 24, 2017

Motivating Students to Read

Students travel at different speeds on the road to reading success. Earlier in my career as a teacher and school psychologist, I noticed that even on the first day of kindergarten the gap between the highest and lowest performers on measures of reading readiness and ability could be as much as six years. So differentiating instruction so that all students have the opportunity to use multiple brain pathways in the reading classroom throughout their school years is key to motivating them to read and improve.

Effective teachers incorporate a variety of methods in their lessons to accommodate students with different preferences, processing styles, and strengths. Here are a few strategies you can use to try to motivate students to read.

Enacting a Favorite Character

Guide students to select a character from a book they’re reading. Once they’ve made their choice, have them create a simple costume or find props that depict the character, and then prepare and deliver a one- to two-minute monologue introducing the character to the class.

A favorite selection a young child might choose is Fern Arable, the little girl in Charlotte’s Web. Wearing a simple dress with hair pulled back in a loose ponytail, true to her character, young Fern carries on a brief conversation with Charlotte A. Cavatica—with the spider skillfully created from pipe cleaners. After reading Salt in His Shoes, a young boy might morph into a tall, lanky Michael Jordan and talk to the class about the pursuit of his childhood dream to play basketball.

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