Reading as Motivation for Reading

This is a topic that has been a scratching bug in the back of my head since I started studying education. How am I suppose to get every student excited about reading? Is it right for me to expect them all to enjoy reading when I know very well I did not enjoy every subject I was signed up for? How can I ensure their reading and writing will improve together? How do I know they are all really reading and not just using other sources to learn enough to get by? How do I make reading something they love and not just something they do? (Okay, so maybe there was more than one bug back there this whole time.) It turns out there is one simple answer for all these questions; let the students chose what they read.

AP tests examine how well students read, not what they read. If students read, whatever they read, they will be able to decipher any text, as long as they read. Reading what they enjoy will give them the same skills as reading the classics when it comes to understanding the context. A student is more likely to dive into a novel they choose than an assigned read simply because they are humans with rights as well. “Many times these teachers mistake their duty:  to teach the child and not the book.”-Amy Rasmussen

Students need to be reading more than just books. We need to show them articles and graphic novels that entice them. If the true goal (as some teachers think) is to prepare secondary learners for a higher education, we cannot keep just filling them up with the classics. They need to know how to read research articles; raw material. Another reason to advocate for the reading of articles is the selection is never bare. Due to the straightforward presentation of information, each student will be able to find at least one topic they are interested, teaching them how to pull those articles apart for the information that matters. These skills will be far more helpful in a lecture hall than understanding the plot of 1984.

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One thought on “Reading as Motivation for Reading

  1. I agree, bottom line is that we just need to get them reading! You make a good point about exposing students to all types of reading. Research articles take different skills than fiction books, and students need to know it’s okay to read a manga or comic book just for fun! Life is more than a set shelf of books in the library.

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