A few months ago, I wrote a post about a new study which concluded that kids weren’t reading as much. As an avid reader, motivating people to read is something I’m very interested in, and so I was excited to see this article in The Oregonian, which attempts to answer some of the questions I raised in my previous post. Here’s an excerpt:
School librarians say they know the secrets to drawing kids away from TV and computer screens and into books. But it requires an insider's knowledge of young adult books. And with fewer and fewer librarians in Oregon schools--390 for the state's 560,000 students, down from 576 certified school librarians five years ago--they worry the magic isn't happening for enough kids.
Finding the right book seems to be a big factor in whether or not kids will choose a book over TV, according to the article. It’s important to match students up with a book that has an interesting subject matter and style, and one that is written at an appropriate reading level, experts say. It’s important to note, too, that because of increased reading instruction, students are better equipped than ever to read more complicated books, the article says.
Of course, there are other factors that contribute to a lack of reading motivation in students, but not being able to find the right book is something I know I, and a lot of other readers, can relate to. I can’t count the number of times I’ve started a book with the best of intentions only to find myself, weeks later, still painfully plodding through it--too stubborn to admit that I really just don’t like it, and my enthusiasm for reading brought to a screeching halt. It’s only when I finally put the book down--either because I’ve finished it or given up--and pick up one that grabs my attention that I remember why I read in the first place: it’s enjoyable. It reminds me that reading doesn’t have to be an arduous chore. And obviously, I’m much more likely to make time in my schedule to read if I actually like what I’m reading.
What can we do to make sure that students get introduced to books that stimulate them and spark their interest? How do we make sure they know that reading doesn’t have to be a task they must toil over?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Motivation Matters blog.