Getting our kids motivated to read

516450790-612x612After reading Kate Messner’s comment on Twitter asking teachers NOT to advise our kids to read at a certain Lexile range, I thought to do a quick post about research-based motivational strategies.


This is a big topic since we don’t want our kids reading at a level of frustration and throwing the book down, but we also don’t want to stick them in a box, and tell them they can only read books at a certain level.


We don’t want to pit kids against each other by sticking labels on them. What we really want to do is get kids excited about literacy. Then they will always be making personal advancements.


If we want to get kids motivated to read, here are some suggestions:


Websites: Create a website or blog with your child. There are lots of free sites out there to help you like . With Padlet, you can control the parameters and monitor what kids are doing.  And it’s private. There are lots of fun fonts and backgrounds to choose from. Kids are sharpening literacy skills when they build websites.  Plus, when they see Mom and Dad involved, they are making the connection that it’s important.

Digital storytelling: Have kids interact with friends and practice fluency by reading a cool poem and playing it back with online voice recorder Vocaroo.  Interactions with friends promote a motivating environment for reading. Remember to compliment your child on what they are doing well and what they can improve on.

Family Reading Time– Have kids read to you or other family member daily. Books read and time spent reading can be recorded in journal/log. Display their proud achievements on the fridge. It makes a difference. Imagine 20 minutes a day for a year. That’s over 121 hours of reading!


Make connections to the real world: Visit a museum like They have a whole floor on children’s literature writers. They also have author visits.


Model good reading strategies: Read to your kids the way you want them to read to you. Kids can see exactly what is expected of them and can mentally refer back to the way you model. Children are more at ease and motivated when they hear how you demonstrate.  Make connections as you read. I always find ways to connect to the characters or what’s happening in the stories.


References and further reading:

Fisher, D., Brozo, W., Frey, N., Ivey, G. (2015). 50 Instructional Routines to Develop Content      Literacy 3rd ed. United States: Pearson.

Protacio, M. (2012). Reading Motivation. A Focus on English Learners. The Reading       Teacher, Vol. 66,  Issue 1, pp. 69-77, DOI:10.1002/TRTR.01092.

Reutzel, D.R., Cooter, R.B. (2011). Strategies for Reading Assessment and Instruction, 4th ed. Boston, MA:Pearson.

Sutton Flynt, E. and Cotter, B. (May, 2005). Issues in Urban Literacy. The Reading Teacher 58 (8), 774-     780.



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