Best Practices for Motivating Readers

Pizza. Pez dispensers. Nerf balls. When we give students “junk” to reward reading, we are focusing their intention away from the act of reading and from their own independence as readers. Instead, we can create classrooms where reading is seen as its own reward. In this book, esteemed researcher Linda Gambrell provides a research-based context for cultivating children’s intrinsic motivation to read and identifies three essential principles, the “ARC” of motivation:

  • access: giving kids a wealth of reading materials and opportunities to discuss texts
  • relevance: offering high interest, moderately challenging and authentic reading experiences
  • choice: allowing students to self-select texts and reading activities

What exactly do those principles look like in action? Reading specialist and researcher Barbara Marinak shares the strategies and techniques that make a difference for student readers’ motivation, turning disengaged readers into passionate ones. “Pizza and Pez dispensers are short lived,” Linda and Barbara write, “but confident and empowered readers are likely to remain motivated for life.”