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Motivation is the desire and energy that guides behavior. When we are motivated, we engage more in what we are doing and learn more. Motivation has an essential influence on reading and writing development and students' identification as readers and writers.
Motivation to read and write tends to decrease as children get older. The amount of time children spend reading for pleasure has been found to decrease from 39% of 9- to 11-year-olds reading for fun five to seven days a week to 27% of 12- to 14-year-olds.
One important distinction is between intrinsic Motivation, the inherent desire to learn and accomplish goals, and extrinsic Motivation, which is the desire to accomplish goals because of external rewards/recognition or to avoid a negative consequence. Intrinsic and extrinsic Motivation are not mutually exclusive; it is very common for students to be driven by both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. For example, they may not be intrinsically interested in a specific assignment but they are motivated to do well for a related long-term goal. Further, students who struggle with literacy skills may be less motivated to participate in academic reading but may avidly read other kinds of reading materials that are personally engaging. Moving students towards being more intrinsically motivated is important for long term engagement in reading and writing.
Some important concepts that impact Motivation include:
Self-efficacy for reading underlies their Motivation to read. Because of this, students with a higher literacy self-efficacy will choose to engage in more challenging reading tasks. Students' self-efficacy may develop from experiences where they master a task (e.g., successfully reading a complex book), the Emotions elicited by reading and writing (e.g., feelings of frustration and anxiety vs. joy), and feedback and messages of encouragement or discouragement they receive from others about their reading and writing skills.
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.
Building positive and trusting relationships with learners allows them to feel safe; a sense of belonging; and that their academic, cognitive, and social and emotional needs are supported.
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.
Visualizing how ideas fit together helps students construct meaning and strengthens their recall.
Providing feedback that focuses on the process of developing skills conveys the importance of effort and motivates students to persist when learning.
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.
Journaling allows students to reflect on their thinking and feelings, process their learning, and connect new information to what they know.
Rhyming, alliteration, and other sound devices reinforce language development by activating the mental processes that promote memory.
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.
Connecting information to music and dance moves enhances Short-term and Long-term Memory by drawing on auditory processes and the cognitive benefits of physical activity.
Research shows physical activity improves focus and creativity.
Playful activities can support the development of learners' Metacognition and also inspire their narratives and writing.
When students reframe negative thoughts and tell themselves kind self-statements, they practice positive self-talk.
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.
Reading aloud regularly exposes students to new and familiar Vocabulary and texts.
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.
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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