Jun 8, 2013

A Few Tips to MOTIVATE Our Students to Read

Happy Summer Everybody!  Today I'm linking up with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching to talk about motivating students.  My favorite topic is always reading, so today's post is all about different ways to motivate kids (and adults) to read!
I am willing to pull out every trick in the book when it comes to getting kids to love reading.  Over the years I have learned that a student will not be a good reader until he or she actually enjoys it. There are no reading strategies that we can teach that is stronger or more valuable to a reader than the pure joy found in a book!  I have also learned that a teacher needs to express that same joy about reading books in order to encourage kids to love reading.  The joy of reading is contagious!

Here's a list of a few motivators we use in our classroom.
  1. We use a FACEBOOK Reading Status Wall outside our classroom to display what we are reading.  This serves many purposes but it also means that we always have a novel in progress, so they can't ever say they don't have a book to read. ;) They save their update cards to keep a running tally of their books.  Oh the joy to see them pull out their stack to count how many novels they have read.
  2. I do BOOK PREVIEWS with my class to introduce new books and I make a point to complain about how badly I want to read it and all the work I have to do before I can get my hands on it. ;)  Then I sit back and watch them count the pages left in their novels before they can grab the new book before someone does.  First come, first served!  
  3. I show and have my students make BOOK TRAILERS about books.  There are many, many fabulous trailers online, but the best book advertisers are the friends that have already read the book and can't stop talking about it
  4. We have BOOK TALK parties that can be earned in many ways and I secretly customize the requirements based on the individual needs of each reader.  Meaning, for some students, it could be as simple as finishing their first novel.  For others it might be a certain number of pages that I know will challenge that particular child.  Sometimes I customize the requirements to fit a written response that I think would be good for a certain student or a certain book.  It all just depends, but everybody loves a good party so they are more than happy to accept a challenge!  
  5. I've posted about CHOICE before.  I am a strong believer that choice in reading makes all the difference with all readers.  Nobody likes being told what to read and a book is a very personal thing.  I explain on Day 1 with every class that reading a book is like being able to bring a DVD player straight to their desks. (A bit old fashioned...I guess I should update my speech to include handheld devices...) :)  Reading is the only event that takes place in their head that no one else shares unless they want to share it.  I make a big point to personalize reading for each student and point out that even if we all read the same book, we would all have different thoughts, therefore it wouldn't be the same read to all of us even if we read the same book.  
  6.  Above all, I truly feel that the biggest motivator for our students as readers is to see US as readers!  Confession time...When my personal children were younger and I was caught up in the business of life, I didn't have time to be a reader myself very often.  Looking back, I see the difference between my students as readers now versus my students as readers during those years.  My students feed off of the passion they see in my reading life, and I often catch myself exaggerating that passion even beyond it's existence due to time, so that it will completely flow over onto them!  Shhh....don't tell. :)
***My last suggestion brings me to a reminder of a BOOK TALK PARTY happening on a previous post!  Come on TEACHERS, I know you're reading!  Click over to the PARTY POST and link up with a good book that you think we might want to read this summer!  I'm actually heading out to the book store right now! :)  
I hope this post gave you a few ideas of how to MOTIVATE YOUR READERS, I also hope it motivates you to grab a good book for yourself to enjoy this summer! You can always find BOOK CHATS, both professional and pleasure, on TWITTER AND GOOGLE PLUS.  Feel free to connect and I'm sure I can lead you to quite a few opportunities to talk about books.  ;)  Have a great weekend!


  1. I love your Facebook Reading Status Wall! That is so cute!

  2. I really like the Facebook Status update. I also saw a Pinterest post about turning a Redbox Movie Stand into a ReadBox stand with all the top books being read during the year

    Digital: Divide & Conquer

  3. The Facebook wall is a good idea. I want to do some type of bulletin board for their reading comments next year. Thank you:)

  4. I love all of those ideas!!!! Thank you so much for sharing! This post is jam-packed with goodness!

    Koonce’s Korner

  5. I SO want to be in your class- I love the way you encourage everyone to love reading in so many different ways!
    Learning to the Core

  6. You have so many good ideas on how to motivate young readers. I love them all, I hope to try so many of your reading ideas out next year! Until then off to the pinterest board they go!

  7. Love that Facebook Reading Status Wall too! Would love to see pictures! I totally agree with you about children seeing us as readers! In the beginning of the year I talked my principal into a 30 minute schoolwide silent reading on Fridays and all the teachers loved it because they got to model being a reader and enjoyed themselves too! It was so nice to read a great book! Couldn't grade papers, check email, etc. However, it was short lived-schedule changes, combo classes dissolved, etc. I hope we can incorporate it again next year! Thanks for linking up!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  8. You made so many great points. I just bought some supplies to crate a facebook wall also (after you mentioned it in an earlier post I think). I had planned to put it on a bulletin board but I think outside the room is a way better idea.

    Thank you so for so much food for thought.

    room 4 imagination

    1. I forgot to mention I ordered a "like" stamp as well after I saw yours (although I did my through vistaprint)

      Thanks again for the inspiration

      room 4 imagination

  9. Brandee....I think I love you! You attached cute ideas to all of the thoughts I've had in my head about motivating readers. Would love to see pics of the facebook wall. The Redbox idea is cute as well. Thanks so much for sharing!

    I am one of your newest followers!

  10. These all sound like great ideas for motivating kids to read. I love the idea of the Facebook status wall and book previews. I am sure your kids are becoming passionate readers!

    Compassionate Teacher

  11. These are all great ideas Brandee. I'm going to borrow some. I've established a parent library at my school ( at the moment mostly cook books, books about raising teenagers, self help and helping your children with school work) but I' m starting to add some fiction and non-fiction that they have an interest in ( mysteries, sailing, horses, gardening etc) Interest was slow but before the last school holidays several parents marched out with the arms full for the holiday break. I just think it is so important for kids to see their parents read.The average Finn reads 100 book a year. I don't know what the Australian or US average is but I bet it is a lot less. I think I have a photo of it on my blog but it is a bit bigger now. We have our winter break in a fortnight so I hope there is another big withdrawal of books.

  12. Hi Brandee,

    Are we twins? I feel the same way you do about getting kids excited to read. My students keep track of the books they read on in a book log - both ones they finished and ones they quit (that helps me know how to guide them)and then we count at the end of the year. Over 2000 books read by 78 students this year! We also shared out books at the end of the year so that each student could enter summertime with a list of recommendations. It actually went so well that I want to do it more often next year.

    I am reading The Book Whisperer, which I love, but I'm only halfway finished right now, so I didn't link up on your last blog post.


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