This month on Literacy Toolbox, I will share ways parents and educators can motivate children to become readers and writers. This is especially necessary at the beginning of the school year when teachers are building their classroom communities.
When children are motivated to read, it shows. They find pleasure in reading that comes from within. Here are five ways you can help motivate children to read:
Choice is so important when motivating readers. If a child doesn’t feel as if his reading choices mean something, then why will he want to read? Allow a child to choose his own reading material (magazines, graphic novels, books, informational guides, etc.), places to read, or time to read.
2. Read Alouds
Twenty-five years ago in Becoming a Nation of Readers (Anderson, Hiebert, Scott, & Wilkinson, 1985) reading aloud was called “the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading” (p. 23). Reading aloud to children (whether our own or our students) provides an opportunity for children to hear what good reading sounds like. It also allows for adults to entice children with wanting to hear or read more.
3. Be a Reading Role Model
As adults, it is our responsibility to be a good role model in life for children. It’s also our responsibility to be a good reading role model for the children in our lives. That means they need to see us reading. Children learn to value reading when they see the adults in their lives value reading.
4. Book Talks
Book talks are advertisements for books. When a parent or a teacher talks up a book and reads aloud parts of a book, it tempts children to want to read that book. Read an exciting part, a scary part, any part of the book that makes the child want to pick up that book and read it himself.
I began this list with choice, which is so important for a child to be motivated to read. Equally important is allowing children to choose reading materials related to their own interests. When children feel validated in their choices based on interests, they will want to read more.
What are some ways you motivate readers in your life?
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