How to Improve Reading Motivation

Reading motivation is influenced by many factors. To improve motivation, it is even more important to spend extra effort to inspire those lacking drive and determination.

  • An appropriate level encourages success, which breeds more success, and increases motivation.  Ask yourself how hard you would work if you couldn’t even begin to understand the material. How long would you stay motivated if you were in a Level 2 Chinese class, and you have no understanding of the Chinese alphabet?

Human beings, especially young human beings, can become frustrated easily, but often they don’t really show it. A basic level of successful experiences lays the groundwork for not only understanding, but also for continued motivation.  This is why it is important to be proactive with a child’s understanding of the academic material being taught. All education builds on previously taught material. Continued failure, or even gaps in learning, builds into levels of frustration which affect motivation no matter how hard it appears a student is trying.

  • Assure a level of success, and dramatize even small successes. A talk with the teacher, hiring a tutor, or using after-school community resources might be necessary.  With the increasing class size in public education today, the classroom teacher might not be able to give the child an individual level of attention necessary to assure that your child understands the basic academic material that the teacher is building upon.                     Check out our QRLE (Quality Reading Level Evaluation) in our Free Tip: Choosing Books. It will help to give an estimate of the suitability of the reading level of the book a child is using.
  • A clear knowledge of results coupled with quick, gentle correction of mistakes is fundamental to motivation. Continued inaccuracies build into big mistakes which take longer to relearn, and thus decrease motivation. Errors should always be corrected so that a student can see his or her paper at 100%. This corrected success builds motivation. Teachers should review test questions after grading, have students correct answers, and then even tell them to put a star or an “A” at the top now that it is completely correct.
  • An assuring and encouraging tone from both parents and teachers increases motivation.  A degrading or negative facial expression can discourage motivation.  Some children are so sensitive to poor instructional tone that they literally cannot think straight.
  • An active effort is sustained by a certain level of interest. Personalize learning whenever possible. Teachers should include the names of their students in exercises and problems that they make themselves. Constantly show how the material affects the child’s goals and interests (ie. math skills/ baseball box scores, reading charts//TV Guide on the remote, fractions//recipes. etc.).

Group efforts and peer learning are good for practice efforts. Short discussions of books by parents, teachers, and classmates have been shown to improve motivation in various studies.

  • Never underestimate the power of meaningful rewards.  Sometimes a child needs a meaningful, extrinsic reward to get started. This gives a little “push” before (s)he becomes intrinsically motivated.

Be sure to check out another Free Tip:  Why Kids Don’t Read.


© Reading Spotlight 2020