Motivating Children to Become Lifelong Readers

This semester, students in READ 6310 Children’s and Adolescent Literature were asked to contribute a post to this blog.

By Rosa Nydia Peña

Motivation plays a huge role in anything a student does, especially when it comes to reading. It determines if the reader will actually understand and enjoy the text. Cell phones, iPods, tablets, and gaming.  All things that modern day children do instead of bettering their education.  There may be quite a few distractions in modern day learning, but one should never give up on a child’s ability to read.  Not only should an educator never give up on teaching, but a child should never lose his or her will to read.  The goal here should be to motivate the child to continue reading through his or her lifetime.  Motivation is a must, especially for a child since he or she is at the point where they are finding habits that will make or break them later on in life.

In some cases, we have students who can become lost in a book that interests them so much that they become intently lost in the pages. When students find books that interest them and have the “flow” experience they are more likely to pick up another interesting book in the future.  This is exactly what we need for students to be doing.  As educators, we need to find a way to help the child find the type of books he or she likes so that reading as homework or as a hobby will not be a bore and we can keep the reader attentive in the book.  We could start this off by having incentives for students.

The majority of children if not all, usually like to have a reason to complete something.  Maybe even an incentive for completing the task.  Recess, candy bar, or a free hour or half hour of play time could all be things that the students who completed the reading of a book of their choice by the end of the week, would gain.  Sooner or later, students won’t notice that they aren’t being rewarded for something that they are doing because they are so caught up in a good read.  Either way, it is something an educator should look into so that children will be able to have something to look forward to at the end of the week. Several things you can use would be by providing toys and activities that would motivate a child for example, playthings: blocks, crayons and paper depending on their grade level. This things encourage children to invent their own worlds rather than depending on an adult to entertain them.   If you see a child that is struggling there are several strategies one can use toys to increase a child’s imagination. By doing this you are able to gauge at what level the child will be at. One will see his or hers facial expressions and determine what level they might be. My personal favorite would be share your own love of books. Bring your personal books to a classroom , so your children can see you reading them during independent reading time. Tell children what you are reading now and what you plan to read next. When the book is finished, tell them how it made you feel. Explain to them how reading books taught you about the world, helped you better understand other people, and showed them how to do new things.  We are not determining the child’s weakness we are trying to expand their need to become lifelong readers. Our goal as educators is to see the child succeed and reading is the most fundamental aspect of a child’s education. We need to be aware and be proactive in focusing on those few who will need that extra attention and time. Even if the child is determined to be a struggling reader no child should be left behind. The key factor will always be motivation but that will solely depend on the teacher in the classroom and also to motivate the parent as well.

eric carle


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