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Motivation is the desire that guides behavior. We are all affected by whether or not we want to do something. When we are motivated, we value what we are doing more and, as a result, learn more. Helping students find value in their work is critical to helping them become successful readers and writers.
There are two main types of Motivation:
Overall, research shows that students who have intrinsic Motivation to read and write, such as seeing how the material connects to their lives or finding the work personally engaging, achieve greater reading comprehension and writing skills than students who are externally motivated. At the same time, research shows that some extrinsic motivators to read and write, such as a reading goal set by a teacher, can also effectively motivate students. Students can begin to consciously value extrinsic goals as personally important, leading to internalizing them as intrinsic Motivation.
Intrinsic Motivation is also why students read for pleasure. Unfortunately, the amount of time children spend reading for pleasure has been found to decrease as they get older. According to the Kids & Family Reading Report by Scholastic and YouGov, 39% of 9- to 11-year-olds read for fun five to seven days a week, but this decreases to 27% of 12- to 14-year-olds.
Finally, self-efficacy for reading and writing, that is, a student's belief about their ability to successfully execute reading and writing tasks, underlies the Motivation to read and write. Because of this, students with a higher literacy self-efficacy will choose to engage in and persist at more challenging reading and writing tasks.
Advance graphic organizers link prior knowledge to upcoming learning to help students anticipate and understand the structure of new information.
Writing can become personally meaningful when students have an actual audience and a real purpose for communicating with that audience.
Students practice making and finding meaning in their reading through a book club model.
Checklists and rubrics help students develop their abilities to self-assess and revise their writing.
When peers are able to work together to plan, draft, edit, and revise their compositions, their writing quality improves.
Expressing ideas through visuals and audio, and understanding others' ideas in these forms, is as critical in today's world as traditional reading and writing.
Overtly encouraging all students to seek support and ask questions creates a safe space for risk-taking and skill development.
Students are more likely to come to school when families feel like a valued part of the community.
Providing constructive feedback supports students' writing development by letting them know how to improve their writing.
Visiting places connected to classroom learning provides opportunities to deepen understanding through firsthand experiences.
Teachers can help students understand that learning involves effort, mistakes, and reflection by teaching them about their malleable brain and modeling their own learning process.
As students walk through stations working in small groups, the social and physical nature of the learning supports deeper understanding.
Setting overall goals, as well as smaller goals as steps to reaching them, encourages consistent, achievable progress and helps students feel confident in their skills and abilities.
Attributing results to controllable aspects (strategy and effort) fosters students' beliefs in self.
Learning about students' cultures and connecting them to instructional practices helps all students feel like valued members of the community, which improves Motivation.
Independent reading promotes literacy by emphasizing student choice with teacher support in selecting books, as well as by making time for free reading.
As students work with and process information by discussing, organizing, and sharing it together, they deepen their understanding.
Full sentence manipulatives allow students to practice producing more complex Syntax and writing.
Providing physical representations of parts of a sentence activates learners' mental processes.
By sharing their own reading and writing, teachers can create a literacy community that supports students in finding meaning in their own work.
Brain breaks that include movement allow learners to refresh their thinking and focus on learning new information.
Instruction in multiple formats allows students to activate different cognitive skills to understand and remember the steps they are to take in their literacy work.
Multiple display spaces promote collaboration by allowing groups to share information easily as they work.
Multiple writing surfaces promote collaboration by allowing groups to share information easily as they work.
Research shows physical activity improves focus and creativity.
Playful activities can support the development of learners' Metacognition and also inspire their narratives and writing.
Helping students think about what they know about the topic of upcoming work helps activate their Background Knowledge or reveals gaps.
When students read models of the type of writing they are doing, they can identify effective elements to incorporate in their writing.
Through one-on-one conferences, teachers can provide individual support to each student to deepen comprehension and interest in reading.
When students explain to others, they deepen their understanding and gain confidence in their learning.
Providing space and time for students to reflect is critical for moving what they have learned into Long-term Memory.
Response devices boost engagement by encouraging all students to answer every question.
Reading materials of varying complexity and levels are necessary for all students to experience success.
Multicultural and diverse books are critical for supporting all students.
Providing varied types of resources that align with interests of individual students supports overall literacy development.
With figurative language and creative sentence structure, poetry supports the development of a deeper understanding of the different ways language makes meaning.
When students give themselves positive self-statements after reaching a goal, they acknowledge their progress and reward their small successes.
Providing students a voice in their learning is critical for making learning meaningful.
Bringing students' every day literacy practice of texting into the classroom provides regular, low-stakes practice communicating with authentic audiences.
Students develop literacy skills by listening to and speaking with others in informal ways.
Wait time, or think time, of three or more seconds after posing a question increases how many students volunteer and the length and accuracy of their responses.
Research has shown that students write longer pieces with stronger quality when they use word processing software.
Writing conferences allow students to share, reflect on, and receive feedback about their writing, which promotes Motivation for revising.
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