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How to Motivate Students to Read

Updated on July 11, 2012
Diane Lockridge profile image

Lockridge homeschools her children and holds an EdS in Curriculum and Instruction, an MS in Elementary Education, and a BA in History.


Reading Isn’t Boring; Show Students Why They Should Read More

Do your students not want to read aloud in class? Do they refuse to complete reading assignments at home? Do you hear frequent complaints that “reading is boring”? If so, then it is time that you teach your students or children that reading is exciting, and encourage them to read more often.

Don’t just relegate reading time in the classroom; show students examples of how and when we read, and why it is an important life skill.

  • Show students the power of the written word, how it can influence people to do things or vote certain ways. Show news headlines and polls and talk about how newspaper articles shape opinions.
  • Show students how to get important information from the Internet, newspaper, textbooks and magazines. Teach about how to use the table of contents, glossary and index to find information quickly.

  • Talk about your favorite books as a child, and about the books that you are currently reading. Show students that reading isn’t just something you do during your school years, it’s a life-long process.
  • Give students access to age appropriate books, and provide them with a suggested reading list. Scan the Internet, contact your library or ask your school district for a list of suggested reading material.
  • Give students easy access to books. Schedule regular trips to the library, and fill the classroom or home with books for them to look at.
  • Don’t overly reward reading with treats or students may think that reading is something that they have to be bribed to do.
  • Meet with writers, or ask important people in your school or community to talk about why they like to read. Show students that even celebrities such as singers, actors and sports figures like to read too.

  • Start a competition to see who can read the most number of books, pages or minutes between classes in the school or students in an individual class.
  • Encourage students to read a variety of genres. While most people think that fiction books are most exciting, reading a non-fiction book or story about an unusual animal or part of the world can be equally as fun, and is more educationally rewarding.
  • Suggest that students to find a “how-to” type book to develop a new skill. Give a list of simple projects, such as making a kite, building a model airplane, or learning origami. Allow students to bring their creation into to class to show the importance, relevance and benefits of reading.

For more of my articles on reading, check out:

For a list of suggested books for different grade levels visit


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