Our world surrounds us with text in myriad of forms and for many purposes. Fluent readers may not even notice, but for students who struggle with the printed word, many parts of life that seem simple to others are a puzzle to them. We read for information, communication and pleasure, but children who are struggling are at risk of giving up altogether. This impacts not only their education, but the rest of their lives. Everyone doesn’t need to read Shakespearean sonnets or translations of Plato, but people should be able to read a news headline or understand directions on a pill bottle.
So how do we motivate our struggling readers? Can we convince them it is worth the effort? Here are some hints to help teachers motivate all students in their class to read more and get more out of reading. Use these ideas in combination with Essential Skills’ research-based reading intervention programs to provide an engaging learning experience and build foundational reading skills.
Identify The Problem
Many children struggle with reading due to very mild learning disabilities. If these areas of weakness can be pinpointed, early strategies can be put in place to overcome them. Early reading intervention programs from Essential Skills can help teachers see where children are struggling and provide systematic learning activities to give students extra targeted help where it is needed.
Choice Of Text
By middle school students are bombarded with required reading from every subject in the curriculum. Classroom read-aloud sessions are a great way to introduce the joy of a good novel. Choosing the right book to share with your class is key. Look for books that appeal to the age group, and that are slightly more challenging than books they might read independently. When a student listens to a story, they don’t have to deal with decoding or other reading challenges, so they are free to focus on the elements of the book. Start read-aloud time with a recap of what was read last and follow it with a brief, informal discussion. For independent reading, choose shorter selections like the high-interest short stories found in Essential Skills’ research-based reading intervention programs.
Have A Reader-Friendly Classroom
You may need to take extra measures to find the time and place for quiet reading, but it will pay off. Try for twenty minutes of uninterrupted time daily when everyone (including you) relaxes and enjoys a good book. If possible, provide comfy chairs, cushions on the floor, even a close but separate place for students who are easily distracted. Make sure there are lots of reading materials available, including magazines, non-fiction and graphic novels. There should be a range of ability level material. Students who do not respond to traditional reading formats may prefer to use literacy software from Essential Skills.
Research-based reading intervention programs from Essential Skills offer systematic literacy activities in an engaging format with immediate rewards that are highly motivating. Our hope is for every student to experience success, whatever that may look like for that individual student. At Essential Skills, we believe that success is the greatest motivator!