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Teacher Reading Tips: Motivation

In this section, you can´┐Ż

  • Review dimensions of motivation
  • See what research suggests about motivation
  • Read techniques to see what motivates your students

    What Research Says About How Teachers Can Motivate Readers

    In an article that reviewed research on motivating students to read, Gambrell (1996) cited six important areas.

    1. The teacher as an explicit role model — Students need to see teachers who communicate their love of books in a variety of ways; through enthusiasm, by reading to children and having children read to them, by doing book talks, and by providing daily opportunities to read and discuss good books.

    2. Creating a book-rich classroom environment — The classroom needs to be a repository of books of sufficient number and variety as to attract the reluctant and satisfy the frequent reader. Literature experts have suggested that a classroom have at least ten titles per child. These books must be displayed in a prominent place and be continually promoted by both teacher and student.

    3. Providing opportunities for choice — Several studies have provided compelling evidence of the power of choice in motivating students to read and read more frequently. Assigned readings receive much less favorable comments from students.

    4. Opportunities to interact socially with others — A broad collection of studies support the benefits of providing students with a variety of avenues for sharing, trading, recommending, and discussing books. Students are social by nature. They expend much of their school and home time discussing games, movies, television, as well as other topics. The role of instruction is to capitalize on this social nature and direct it into the area of reading.

    5. Opportunities to become familiar with lots of books — Having a lot of books in the home or school environment does not guarantee sustained use anymore than having a piano in the house guarantees that someone will become a pianist. Studies continue to document that children want to read books they know something about. This fact translates into both detecting and expanding students' knowledge bases and then connecting this knowledge with a variety of appropriate books.

    6. Appropriate reading-related incentives — Many teachers, schools, and school systems have created successful reading incentive programs. These programs fall into two major categories, extrinsic and intrinsic. With extrinsic programs students read books to receive some type of non-book award. The reward may be food, tickets, or a range of desirable prizes. The underlying belief of extrinsic motivators is that they lead to intrinsic motivation - reading for the pleasure of reading. Intrinsic motivators use books or other reading related incentives, such as: bookmarks, visits from an author, etc.

    Gambrell concluded that, "If we are interested in developing an intrinsic desire to read, books are indeed the best reward." She goes on to say that, "extrinsic rewards that are strongly related to reading and reading behaviors...can be used effectively to increase intrinsic motivation, particularly for children who do not have a literacy rich background."

    Read techniques to see what motivates your students

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