As educators, one of the most powerful impacts you can have on students is to turn your students into lifelong learners. Lifelong learners start as engaged readers. So how do you develop a lasting interest in reading in your students? And, how do you boost reading engagement?
It’s Not What They Read
One of the most important ways teachers can boost reading engagement is to stop worrying as much about what students are reading and focus more on just getting them to read. Whether they’re reading Wikipedia pages about their favorite musicians or have their noses buried in comic books, reading is reading. And, comic books have actually been proven to improve literacy, vocabulary, writing skills, and comprehension. Digital graphic novels can be a great way to pique a student’s interest in reading.
Provide Opportunities to Read
In many cases, the only time students have an opportunity to read is when they are at school or through the use of their school-provided device. In peer-reviewed research entitled, “How Reading Motivation and Engagement Enable Reading Achievement: Policy Implications,” Ana Taboada Barber and Susan Lutz Klauda explain:
“Motivation and engagement supports are critical interventions for children at risk for reading difficulties, whether because of impoverished environments or undiagnosed reading challenges. Some motivation practices (e.g., time for independent reading) may not take place outside the classroom if parents hold multiple jobs and cannot support this practice. Precisely for those children, carving out school time for independent reading—throughout the grades—while offering the appropriate supports and texts is paramount, as they may not have the opportunity elsewhere. Also, to make varied texts more available at home, schools might host book swaps or solicit community donations.”
How to Boost Reading Engagement
Educators who provide opportunities for students to read, through personal research projects, leisure reading during breaks, and access to content that is relevant to their lives, will have students who are more likely to read more and be more engaged. According to BookTrust, students are more motivated to read when:
- Reading tasks and activities are more relevant to their lives
- They have access to a wide range of reading materials
- They have ample opportunities to engage in sustained reading
- They have opportunities to make choices about what they read and how they engage in and complete literacy tasks
- They have opportunities to socially interact with others about the text they are reading
- They have opportunities to be successful with challenging texts
- Classroom incentives reflect the value and importance of reading
Download the BookTrust guide here (PDF).
Measuring Reading Engagement
Educators want to motivate students to read, but how do they know whether or not they are successful in their effort to boost reading engagement? GG4L’s School Passport Engagement is the answer. School Passport Engagement‘s patented technology measures when students are actually reading and engaged with high accuracy, and calculates the reading level and subject area of every webpage. Learn more.