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What REALLY Motivates Children to Read

It isn't hard to figure out what motivates children to read. All we have to do is think about how we read!

 

Have you ever been part of a book club where you were given a quiz at the start of every meeting so the facilitator could check that you read the book and understood it? Ya, me neither! 

 

Do you like to choose the types of books you read and do you choose different types of books depending on your need or mood? Ya, me too! 

 

Have you ever read a book just for pleasure or to relax or for pure entertainment value only? Ya, me too! 

 

Would you like to read books that were boring or too difficult for you all the time because you thought reading was supposed to be something you had to work at ALL. THE. TIME? Ya, me neither!

 

What Really Motivates Children to Read

 

What motivates children to read are the same things that motivate adults to read:

-choice

-book selection

-recommendations from others

-to learn

-to be entertained or for enjoyment

-to connect to the author or characters

-to connect with the world around us

-to connect with other readers

-to learn about ourselves

 

How to Check for Comprehension Without Using Quizzes

 

It's important that we know if our children are comprehending what they read but comprehension can be checked many ways besides using a quiz or worksheet. 

  • ask your child to tell you about the story and ask guiding or probing questions as they do: "How did the characters in the story solve their problem?" "What was the author trying to teach us with this story?" Did the characters change throughout the story?"
  • draw a picture or write a short response about the story.
  • complete a book review along with your child's recommendation to others 
  • act out the story
  • rewrite the story with a different ending

Motivate Them with Choice

 

It's important to expose our children to quality literature but not all the books they read have to be classics. They can choose from other genres: joke books, graphic novels, picture books, stat books, biographies of sports figures, funny series books to name a few.

Try not to judge a book or worry that some books aren't "real books."

Think about your child, even your young child as an independent reader and begin treating her that way. Keep these Reader's Rights in mind when working with your child. 

 

"Wigfield and Guthrie (1997) documented that students who are intrinsically motivated spend 300% more time reading than students who have low intrinsic motivation for reading. Compared to 10 other motivations, intrinsic motivation for reading was most highly associated with whether or not students read widely and frequently on their own accord." - Reading Rockets 

 

Reading time should be pleasant and stress free. If you were reading knowing that when you completed a chapter someone was going to hand you a quiz or worksheet, you may not be able to immerse yourself in the book naturally; more likely, you would probably be reading to find answers to questions that you anticipate.

 

There is a time to teach our children how to read for a purpose or to find answers from the text but that would be explicitly taught and explained at the start of the lesson. For example, during a science lesson you would start by saying, "Today we are reading to find out how pollution impacts wild birds in our city. While you are reading I want you to look for clues that helps us figure this out..."

 

In short, have fun with your child! Make reading such a natural thing in your home that when you plan your intentional lessons like we model for you in Chapter 10: Putting it All Together, you and your child will as comfortable as if you were snuggled under the covers reading Winnie-The-Pooh.

 

Read, read more, read more often! ~ Mary 

 

Wait!

 

Maybe you are doing "all the right things" and your child still seems unmotivated and lacks confidence. What then? Just keep reading and hoping for the best?

 

You may need to identify and pinpoint the specific areas he's lacking skills. Children who are still struggling to gain fluency by the beginning of the third grade level are typically missing some key skills and need direct intervention to get on track. It can seem daunting to know where to begin and waiting longer can result in delayed progress. I can help you determine the next steps that will help you help your child get over the hump.

 

Book a consultation today. Choose a one-time consultation or extended support to ensure you are hitting the right targets. 

 

 One Time Consultation and Individualized Plan

  • 50-minute phone conference to discuss your concerns and child's background
  • Initial recommendations with follow up resources e-mailed to you
  • Analysis of child's reading from video
  • Emailed detailed analysis with an individualized plan, attached resources and links as applicable
  • 4 week follow up email to check

 

Package Consultation and Individualized Plan

  • 50-minute initial phone conference to discuss your concerns and child's background
  • Initial recommendations with follow up resources mailed to you
  • Analysis of child's reading from video
  • Emailed detailed analysis with an individualized plan, attached resources and links as applicable
  • Weekly follow up email
  • Monthly phone conference at 4 weeks and 8 weeks 

 

 Questions? Email me at info@teachachildtoread.net 

Get Unstuck Today! 

 

 

 

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