How to Motivate Your Students to Read More

Published: Nov. 16, 2020, 2:43 p.m.

The following is a guest post. Agatha Singer is a work-from-home mother of two who runs her own successful online business and blog She is an avid reader herself and shares her ideas on how to spread the love for the written word among every generation.

Statistics on children’s reading habits look very disheartening. The Guardian reports a study that says only 26% of those under 18 read every day. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those between the ages of 15 and 19 read only about 15 minutes a day, on average. There are other studies and surveys on this subject and all of them show that the number of children who read regularly is declining with every passing year. Therefore, teaching your students to love reading becomes more important. It’s hard to cultivate a passion for this activity in this age of distractions. However, there are a few methods that might help you with this.

Engage in Role-Playing

Quite possibly, the most important thing that a teacher needs to do in order to encourage the love of reading is to make it not boring. Modern culture enables instant gratification, but reading cannot provide it. Therefore, you should do something extra to keep children entertained and engaged during the activity. Role-playing is the easiest way to do this.

Children can each pick a character and use some basic supplies to make props for their performance. If possible, add costumes to up the entertainment factor. Then, they can play a scene from the book or simply read it aloud with everyone voicing their characters.

Another idea for a role-playing activity is to have kids prepare a short presentation of the book they are reading now or one of their favorites. However, they should present it dressed as their favorite hero. They also should try to stay “in character” to make the presentation more creative.

Incorporate Tech into Reading

There might be some special kind of magic to the printed word. However, trying to get Gen-Z to read paper books is a task doomed to fail. Instead, the teacher should embrace the technology this generation is dependent on and apply it in different ways.

For example:

  • Offer children to read e-books using specialized readers, tablets, smartphones, or computers.
  • Suggest sources for reading online.
    This can be both a digital version of the book or supplementary resources. You can try to motivate students to research references from the story online.
  • Make connections between the story and popular culture, especially movies or Netflix series.
  • Give students choices introducing them to platforms like Goodreads where they can connect their reading to social media.

Make Kids Excited About Learning New Information

A good book can keep the reader’s interest once they start. However, your most challenging task is to motivate students to actually pick up the book. Building up the level of excitement and curiosity will help with this task.

One way to do this is to give students a selection of books and introduce them in a detailed and engaging manner. It’s important to give students choices as they will be more motivated to read the book they picked on their own.

When making introductions, your main goal is to show children that they will learn something fascinating. Therefore, you need to present a book in a way that appeals to the learners’ personal interests.

Introductions must be detailed so the readers don’t feel cheated when they actually open the book. They need to understand what they can expect from it and why reading will benefit them academically. However, they shouldn’t know too much so as not to spoil the story. Therefore, you’ll need to master the art of cliffhangers when writing book introductions.

Make It a Challenge

Competition is a great motivator. However, you need to be careful when using it as you don’t want it to encourage division. So, instead of making a chart of top readers you can start a challenge. For example, “16 Books to Read Before you Are 16” or “One Book a Month. Every Month” can be interesting challenges.

Take to social media to promote them creating hashtags to encourage students to share their progress. The best thing about this kind of challenge is that everyone wins, but the spirit of competition is still present.

You can also make a challenge for reading a book series. The challenge element can help them start the first book and the author will do the rest with their addictive writing.

Get Them Talking

The majority of students enjoy communication, so give them a chance to incorporate reading into it. Set up regular book discussions and give everyone a chance to express their personal opinions. Use the format of a friendly conversation in the classroom instead of a dry academic discussion.

Students should talk about their personal opinions, likes, and dislikes, not only about the questions the course material dictates.

Most importantly, you should not disparage a negative opinion about a book. It might be a classic and your personal favorite, but everyone has a right to have their own opinion. Giving a negative review to any book shouldn’t be considered a bad thing as long as the review itself meets the requirements of the assignment.

Make It Real

Photo by Andrew Ebrahim on Unsplash.jpg

Show students that stories they read are more than fiction by establishing some connection to real life. For example, you can take them on a trip to some location described in a story. You can also invite a local author who can explain exactly how writing and publishing a book works.

Not everyone will be inspired and wish to write a book themselves. However, understanding the work that goes into every story will teach students to appreciate them more.

Bottom Line: Make Reading Fun!

The benefits of reading are too many to count, but this activity isn’t as popular as it should be today. To help change that you should show your students how fun this could be. Do this by incorporating different types of activities and motivators into the reading process.