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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Peer Pressure Influences Literature

This semester, students in READ 6310 were asked to contribute a post to this blog.

By Janelly

Peer pressure is a term typically used to influence negative aspects of life. For example, there could be a five year old wanting the latest Transformers shirt because everybody in his school has it. In my case introducing class novels into my classroom has not only encouraged my top readers but also non-readers. As a second grade teacher I encourage all my students to read along with me. However, I notice that my struggling readers try to listen and decode unknown words. This means that there is a reading seed growing in their little minds. Now, the question is, how does peer pressure influence literature? There may be numerous answers for this question. However, it all depends on the literacy environment practiced by teachers and students.

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For the past few weeks I have been encouraging my students to read chapter books. I placed a chart on the board that asks students to recommend books to their classmates. This chart successfully involved students in reading different genres. However, students are interested in the same topics that teachers read to them. When we have literacy talks about read alouds most of the students tend to read books from the same author. Sharing my reading experiences as a child with my students has immensely increased their interest in reading chapter books. For instance, I referred my students to the Junie B. Jones book series by Barbara Park. As a result the majority of the students checked out Junie B. Jones books. Not only were they able to identify their teacher’s interests but theirs too.

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This week I introduced a new novel called La Casa del Arbol #1: Dinosaurios al atardecer by Mary Pope Osborne. I decided to read the novel on Monday afternoon but, to my surprise most of my students had already began reading the first chapters of the novel. It seemed like my students were eager to read and learn about dinosaurs. Thereafter, I noticed that my struggling readers were holding the same chapter book. As a teacher I did not want to discourage their interest in reading lengthy texts. While the rest of the students read independently I provided support to my struggling readers. The purpose of these novels is to read them together as a class but my students took it upon themselves. Therefore, this proves that an interest for reading influenced my entire class equally. The fact that most of the students were reading a chapter book positively peer pressured struggling readers.

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Peer pressure is not always negative. In my case peer pressure unconsciously engaged my struggling readers into reading chapter books. The only thing the teacher had to do was to purposely share her reading interests. Consequently, students unconsciously influenced each other’s interests in reading.

Building and Keeping a Love for Reading

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

By Angelina Martinez

When I first began my Master’s program in Early Childhood, I had no idea how much the reading process actually consisted of. There are endless things to teach children when they are young so that they can become good readers, or at least on level readers. Imagine my surprise when I discovered so many of my seventh graders were reading at the second and third grade level. How is it that this happens when they are taught so much about reading from the moment they first step into school?

After reading many assigned articles and books, one of which stood out more than others, Reading Without Nonsense by Frank Smith, I can see many reasons why this could happen. First off, Frank Smith mentions that children will learn to read by reading; the isolated phonics drills that schools put such emphasis on, will come naturally if we just let children read and surround them with it as well. It is important to also know that if a child cannot read, then they should be read to. Through observations and listening of the words, they are learning. Somewhere along the line, reading to children just stops, mostly because they learn to do it on their own. Problem is that not all children can read very well independently, so why should we stop modeling and reading to them because the majority can? This is where the strugglers fall between the gaps and can risk staying behind their entire educational career.

I have also noticed that when children are very young they are usually encouraged to read books they enjoy. Teachers make the reading fun and enjoyable. As the years pass and they get older, more reading is done through passages and assigned books from the teacher. Their choices are limited in the classroom, and as they get older the focus becomes more on efferent reading and strategies to help them pass the much-dreaded STAAR test. The fun in reading gets lost and the meaningfulness behind it disappears. They rarely make the personal connections they used to as a child or during their early elementary years. As demonstrated and discussed in our Children’s and Adolescent Literature class, many things can be taught and covered through meaningful assignments and literature. Teachers and principals who worry so much about the TEKS need to find ways that engage and motivate students to read and enjoy so.

Teaching and motivating children to love reading does not only fall into the hands of the teacher, but to the parents as well. Most children have their first and many experiences with reading at home before they even start school. It is important for parents to see that any opportunity for reading, whether it is an article in a newspaper or a recipe from a cookbook, is a step in the right direction. Parents who have had bad experiences with school or reading sometimes feel as if they are incapable of helping their children with reading and believe it is something the teacher should deal with because it is his or her “job”. This is a cycle that is usually passed on and should, and can, be broken. Working together as a team; student, parent, and teacher, we can help build strong readers and allow children to indulge in their love of reading both in and out of school.

Motivation Is the Key

This semester, students in READ 3325.20B were asked to contribute a post to this blog.

By Priscilla Lara & Yessenia Garza

Motivation is the most important aspect in the learning of literacy in any classroom. Motivation should be the first step towards achieving our goal, which is assisting children to want to learn to read or pick up a book and began their great journey with reading.  Reading without motivation will not yield the best results that we as future teachers want our future students to achieve in our classroom. In an article that we have read in our education classes, “Creating Classroom Cultures that Foster Reading Motivation,” it explains how allowing student’s sufficient time to read and encourage them to keep reading without interrupting them is a great step towards positive motivation.

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Teachers that show reading motivation towards students’ learning is the best possible way to assist them with their education and progress in the classroom. If a student feels that the teacher is motivating them and showing that they want them to succeed they will have a positive view on reading. The article describes to us that the teacher that is interested in reading and is a vital support system for the students in reading is a beneficial step towards motivating and engaging students in the learning of literacy. Once the student’s feels that the teacher wants to hear them read to him/her they will become motivated and beyond excited to be able to show that they can read and should be given the opportunity to show they want to advance in their reading skills.

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As stated in the article, motivation plays a critical role in learning. The article explains to us how the school years in elementary are the most vital years for us future teachers to be able to motivate and make a difference for our students in literacy. It is of utmost importance that teachers are truly interested and motivated themselves towards teaching literacy and expanding the minds of children towards the learning of literacy. The teacher must use a tone and facial expressions that are genuinely honest and sincere when talking to students about the importance of literacy and motivating them about reading.

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As we know children at the elementary stages are sponges; they observe, absorb and understand more than any of us older students in college sometimes do. It’s critical to use motivation and engage them with reading materials and activities. Motivation is the key factor towards getting our students to appreciate literacy. Many students have problems with literacy and view literacy as the enemy because the motivation that they needed was not given to them when it should have been. The article states that motivation is at the heart of many of the problems we face in educating students. It’s absolutely true; children who do not have motivation at home or at school will suffer the greatest with literacy. We should not let this happen, creating a classroom with a variety of books available and ample opportunities to read are steps towards achieving our goal as teachers and future teachers.

Motivation

This semester, students in READ 3325.20B were asked to contribute a post to this blog.

By Dailen Garcia and Cindy Quiñones

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. It will also determine if the student will see reading as a good thing for the rest of their lives. If the student is not motivated, the will see reading as something negative. If students have history of failure at reading, and there is no motivation from teachers, parents, or peers then an interest towards reading will never arise. The lack of motivation will lead the student to believe he/she is not a good reader and they will begin to see reading as boring.

readingcornerIn order to motivate students in reading it is important to create a comfortable environment for the students to read. Investing on some beanbags or comfortable chairs might be a good idea. Letting the students read where they are confortable and modeling reading for them is a great way to motivate them. Many times the teacher uses things such as AR points, or tickets for free pizza to “motivate” students. Instead that method just makes students believe that reading is only to get a certain something such as a ticket or points and not the real purpose of reading which is enjoying the text and learning new things.

 

reading libraryHaving a classroom library with books that students would be interested in would be helpful to motivate a student to pick up a book to read. It is very important when having a classroom library to include books that are of various themes that the teacher would think that the students would be interested in. In order to do that, the teacher has to evaluate each student and learn what he or she is interested in and the level in which they read. After this is done, the teacher can know which books to include in their classroom library that will interest the students.

We personally think that the students should be motivated both at school and at home. If the student is motivated at school but not at home then the student will say that there is no need for him or her to be interested in reading at school. If the teacher, the parents and peers create an environment full of positive thoughts towards reading, even if the child has trouble, more than likely he/she will become a successful reader. Not only that but they will actually enjoy and understand what they read whether it is school related or reading for fun.

Motivating Students

This semester, students in READ 3325.20B were asked to contribute a post to this blog.

By Blanca Villarreal and Sharon Flores

A very interesting theory we recently learned in this course is how student motivation plays a big role in how well they accomplish their academic goals in school. An article that we read, “Al’s Story: Overcoming Beliefs that Inhibit Learning,” talks about how the way a student viewed himself as a learner affected very much the progress he was able to make. The article mentions how many times we don’t take into consideration students’ beliefs about themselves which influence a lot whether students improve on their learning. Something else that affects the student is how they view the school and its personnel. It is important that the school has a welcoming environment on which their personnel communicate positive expectations for each and every student. In the article we find a student with behavioral problems that was diagnosed as being disabled in reading. This kid not only did not view himself as a learner but also had a negative view of school. In the article he is said to represent students who feel “alienated” at their schools. In regards to this would also be how sometimes students do not feel that their culture and/or native language is valued. As future bilingual educators we can consider several ways in which we could motivate students. We could do such by doing things such as offering support in literacy through their native language and providing multicultural texts .

After a special education teacher along with the input of a university reading professor worked closely on assessing and providing interventions for the student, they were able to see great improvement. It is interesting to find that affective factors can help to improve the cognitive abilities of a child. I liked this topic because from my experience I think educators hardly put it to practice, either because they are not aware of it or they do not believe in it, yet it is very important. I also like how some of the beginning interventions were ones Al could be familiarized with and they focused on his strengths rather than his weaknesses. This was done right off the bat to help Al start building confidence in him as a learner. It is important that students start off the process with a positive attitude about themselves because it can determine whether preceding steps will either work or fail.

We are currently in block two out of four, and we have already made several observations in our field experience. We have seen cases where teachers motivate student in a positive way and also have seen cases where the teacher goes and motivates the child but her tone and her way of expression do not sound quite positive. Motivation can impact a student’s life in a positive way. Students need to feel supported by their parents and teachers since those are the persons they spend more time with.

Reading Mislead!

This semester, students in READ 3325.20B were asked to contribute a post to this blog.

By Servando Lopez

Starting from elementary all the way to high school, they have integrated the Accelerated Reader (AR) in schools as a form of assessment for us students to “motivate” us to read. Coming from Mexico and my native language being Spanish, I found this not very motivational since I was in a way being forced to read books and test on them. At times they would even require certain amount of points at the end of the month for a class grade.  This only added more stress and I started to see reading as something I had to do rather than something I want to do.  In addition, reading to me became just the reading of words that I had to read and test in in order to get a good grade in class.

But is this reading is all about? No. Reading is more than just reading words off a book. Reading is something people do as a hobby, as a form of distraction, to gain knowledge from; it is where students use reading to learn whatever the reader is interested about. The definition of reading changes from expert to expert, but the reality is that reading is a mixture of those definitions that include fluency and comprehension of the text. Schools should have more sustained silent reading (SSR) or drop everything and read (DEAR) time within the classroom as a form of motivation to show the students that reading is not only used as a form of assessment, but as a form of incentive and for fun. Incorporate more read alouds and shared readings so we as teachers can display the importance of reading by showing that reading is fun while also educational.  Teachers should have a large variety of books with easy access for students in the classroom (like a mini library) so as an effect, students can have books close by to read in their free or designated times. This is what reading should look like to teachers and students rather than seeing it as a form of assessment.