Want Your Students to Read More? Make Them Sign Up!

Last year I set out to solve the riddle of how to get students to do more independent reading. I was convinced that if they were able to choose their books and if they stuck with that book long enough, they would enjoy reading. I don’t know to what extent my students would claim they enjoyed their reading, but I did find some great ways to nudge them to do more of it.

In today’s post I will share with you the top nudge in getting students to complete more independent reading. And the tip comes from the psychological effect of signing your name.

Continue reading “Want Your Students to Read More? Make Them Sign Up!”

Outside Reading: Don’t Let These 2 Negatives Derail All the Positives

Earlier in the week we looked at the why and the how of assigning your students outside reading. For this post, I would like to directly address the top two reasons I avoided giving this assignment for as long as I did. And I will tell you why they are poor excuses.

Lately, I have been listening to the audiobook The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz, Ph.D. The message I keep hearing over and over is, “If you believe it can be done, you can find a way. But if you do not believe it can be done, then you will not look for a way.” This is the kind of thinking that led me to shake those excuses and move toward creating a meaningful assignment for my students.

Years ago, I decided to stop letting the reasons “not to” block my students from the possibility of becoming lifelong readers. Instead, I tried to work around the problems I was anticipating. And I showed you how I do it, but now I want to help you think around the two negative arguments that kept some of my past students sidelined from developing a habit of reading.  Continue reading “Outside Reading: Don’t Let These 2 Negatives Derail All the Positives”

5 Ways to Nudge Students to Engage with Outside Reading

Monday’s post gave 4 factors to persuade teachers to start giving outside reading assignments. I am sure, however, that there are still concerns about the average student’s motivation to complete this assignment and avoid the temptation to cut corners by cheating. I share in those concerns.

Over the years, though, I have come up with ways to steer students to complete their outside reading assignment with fidelity. I still have to watch for apathy and student who insist on cutting corners, but I spend far less energy on that element of the assignment than I used to.

Here are 5 ways to nudge students to engage with their outside reading.  Continue reading “5 Ways to Nudge Students to Engage with Outside Reading”

Change Your Stance on Outside Reading: 4 Factors to Consider

When I started teaching, I did not assign outside reading. Eventually, I tried it, but remained skeptical. I discovered there was a contingent of teachers who were strongly opposed to the idea. “They just don’t want to read,” some would say. “And they cheat,” the same people would continue.

Do students choose to avoid reading? Yes. Do they succumb to the temptation to cheat? Yes. I’m not going to deny it. But the benefits of assigning outside reading far outweigh these concerns though. Here are a couple of stories.

Last year, a student told me, “I am so grateful for this assignment because you helped me find my inner bookworm!” We had great, brief conversations about reading over while she was in my class. Another student told me she made her brother drive to three libraries and finally a Barnes & Noble just to get her hands on a copy of the second book in a series. She found the first book because of the outside reading assignment and didn’t even care if she was to get credit toward the next outside reading for this book.  Continue reading “Change Your Stance on Outside Reading: 4 Factors to Consider”