Student motivation has a huge impact on achievement. We are all motivated either internally or externally. You want to eat that chocolate because it tastes yummy, satisfies your sweet tooth, and is sitting right there on the plate all by itself just calling you, BUT, are you motivated to give it away or pass it up?? Like eating chocolate, we need to find how to motivate our students with reading, homework, or other educational tasks we require. In my room, the focus is reading, so here are the top 10 ways I motivate my readers.
factors that influence student motivation
Many school divisions provide workshops on increasing rigor, unpacking the standards, and on matching the Bloom’s level to the standard. Although this knowledge is important for teachers, I believe student motivation is of equal value if not more important. After all, if students aren’t engaged and interested, what difference does rigor, Bloom’s level or unpacked standards mean? I suppose they are all intertwined, but still… We know student motivation impacts achievement. So we must look at factors that can increase a student’s motivation to learn and achieve.
Certainly, there are factors teachers must pay attention to. We can look to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for a few ideas. Students need to feel a sense of belonging, have their basic needs met (food, water, shelter, space), and be able to feel safe. Once these needs are met, students can be intrinsically motivated or extrinsically motivated. Learning what motivates a student to learn should be a high priority for ever teacher.
Ways to Increase Student Motivation
Motivation, especially for children who struggle or who lack support with their work at home, can provide the student with the drive and stamina needed to stick with difficult work until it’s understood. Student motivation shows in higher levels of achievement, but it is also linked to other aspects of student success and happiness with school and a positive self-esteem.
Kids need to feel that they are capable of accomplishing what is being required of them. We have all seen students lose motivation when a book is too hard or when they are not prepared well for work. If we are unable to motivate our students, they get too discouraged to stick with their books or have no interest in taking the time. Perhaps the ideas that follow will help keep your readers on the right track.
Motivating with Good Fit Books
When students feel success with the books they’re reading, student motivation increases. Help your students make the best match. At our school, books are color coded by level to make selection easier. Teachers provide students with the level that works best for them. This isn’t necessarily a novel idea, but it is critical to reading achievement. Too many children try to push up in level before they are ready only to abandon the book before they finish.
Learn Student Interests to Increase Motivation
Another way to increase student motivation is by learning what your students are interested in. When you are able to share books that tie into those interests, your students know you care. Interest surveys are a great way to learn about your kids. Once you know interests, you might check out websites like Good Reads or even Amazon to find books related to their interests.
setting reading goals can motivate readers
Although many teachers use reading logs to hold students accountable, I don’t really advise them any longer. Instead, students can track can track their own reading time or number of books. I just found the website, Learn2Earn, and I set up my class to use it. It is a free site that students can use to record their reading time, review books and interact about them with their peers. They can even work as a group for class incentives. I love the interaction piece to the program, and I think it will lead to the students gaining momentum from each other. There’s nothing better for student motivation than kids recommending books to other kids.
Use Tech for student motivation
Another way to build student motivation for reading is to use what is meaningful to the kids. Kid LOVE technology, so using Edmodo, blogging, iPads, and kindles are all ways to talk about and get books in kids’ hands. I recently started blogging with the fourth and fifth grade students at my school. We haven’t posted much, but the enthusiasm for it is just wonderful. The children are writing up posts on their own at home about the books they’ve read, special school events, and things that mean a lot to them. I know the book reviews will build up over time, and I hope to eventually have our students commenting to give feedback about the book choices and reviews.
Punch Card Motivation
Use personal incentive charts or punch cards to help your students keep track of the number of books they’ve read. Kids like to see how they are progressing. That’s why timed repeated reading charts work well. Kids can see visually how their Words Per Minute are rising with each reading. Incentive charts show visually too the growth in reading numbers or minutes (whichever you choose). This reward punch card set can be used right now, but others are available for free on Teachers Pay Teachers. Just search the word, punch card, to see what you can find.
Use Good Reads or Amazon to Find Books that Match Interests
Sometimes, it’s difficult for students who struggle to access books that really interest them. If that is the case, we can help them by reading great books to them. Finding high interest books by the best authors provides students with the opportunity hear great stories AND fluency. If you need suggested read alouds, you might look on Good Reads or Amazon to see what is selling. For the upper grades, I’d recommend [these]. For the lower grades, you might try [these].
Make Reading Cozy
When you give time for kids to read, let them get comfortable. Encourage partner reading and talking about what they’re reading. You might start a Friday share time where students give a quick talk about their latest books, whether they’d recommend them and why. Here’s a picture of my set up, and I will say…they LOVE the beanbags. I just wish I had my groups longer and could give them more time to just read. If it’s fun, it’s motivating.
Use Reading Series Kids Love
For many of my kids, books in a series work best. They get familiar with the characters and confident with the level. Here are a few of the most popular ones in my room currently, and I am so lucky in that the librarian in my school will order books by request from the students. (if money is available of course) One of my little guys ran right through the Captain Awesome books she had, so she ordered him several more. How awesome is that??
One Book One School for Motivating
One way for kids to get time to read at home is to get family members on board. Encourage families to select books they can read together. If it’s difficult to carve out that time, using audio books works well too. Students can listen and read along while getting ready for bed.
Finally, celebrate reading with fun project to display showcasing the books (and your students work). Last year, we held our first Book Fair, and I don’t mean time for selling books. We had our students use trifold displays to create a book advertisement. Students decorated the boards and we displayed them for parents, community members, and other students to see in our hallways. Lapbooks, cereal box projects, visual models and such are all fun ways for students to get creative and share their book impressions. There are so many book project ideas out there. Just google to see what ideas appeal to you. Kids love making them and showing them off
Other Posts on Motivation You’ll Like:
- How to Motivate Young Readers to Keep Them Reading
- Motivating Readers in Four Steps
- Using Technology to Spark Motivation with Your Readers