Five Ways to Motivate Readers

 Guest Post by Dawn Little

When children are motivated to read, it shows.  They find pleasure in reading that comes from within.  Here are five ways you can help motivate children to read:

1.     Choice

Choice is so important when motivating readers.  If a child doesn’t feel as if his reading choices mean something, then why will he want to read?  Allow a child to choose his own reading material (magazines, graphic novels, books, informational guides, etc.), places to read, or time to read.  

2.   Read Alouds 

Twenty-five years ago in Becoming a Nation of Readers (Anderson, Hiebert, Scott, & Wilkinson, 1985) reading aloud was called “the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading” (p. 23).  Reading aloud to children (whether our own or our students) provides an opportunity for children to hear what good reading sounds like.  It also allows for adults to entice children with wanting to hear or read more. 

3.     Be a reading Role Model

As adults, it is our responsibility to be a good role model in life for children.  It’s also our responsibility to be a good reading role model for the children in our lives.  That means they need to see us reading.  Children learn to value reading when they see the adults in their lives value reading. 

4.     Book Talks

Book talks are advertisements for books.  When a parent or a teacher talks up a book and reads aloud parts of a book, it tempts children to want to read that book.  Read an exciting part, a scary part, any part of the book that makes the child want to pick up that book and read it himself.    

5.     Interests

I began this list with choice, which is so important for a child to be motivated to read.  Equally important is allowing children to choose reading materials related to their own interests.  When children feel validated in their choices based on interests, they will want to read more. 

Dawn Little (@linkstoliteracy on Twitter) blogs at where she provides educators with picture book lessons based on comprehension strategies and the Six Traits of Writing.  In addition, she blogs at where she provides educators and parents with tips and tools to enhance the literacy lives of children.  She is the founder and owner of Links to Literacy, a company dedicated to providing interactive literacy experiences for children and families.  Find out more at

Related Posts:

3 Comments + Add Comment

  • I would also add the old fashioned “book on tape”. When we are in the car, as mom taxi, I put in Curious George CD. He can follow along. It’s the same concept as read aloud, but perhaps when you as the parent needs your attention elsewhere. It also lets them hear their favorite story with different emphasis and intonation that you might put.

    Most libraries have an underutilized books on tape/CD section near the children’s section. Just ask!

  • I think another thing to add is creating relationships with book professionals. Such as librarians, bookstore clerks, and/or the authors themselves! My daughter’s school has brought in authors and book illustrators to meet with kids and all the kids wanted to read their books. As well as, the ladies at our local library have known my kids since they were babies and the clerks at Borders also know my kids by name. My children want to go to the library or bookstore, they want to read the books the clerks and librarians suggest, and they want to come back and tell them their opinions. Being around people who love books really has helped fuel my children’s love for reading.

  • Encouraging students to read is one of the most important things an educator or parent can do. I especially love the idea about choice and wish that more schools would allow students the opportunity to select their own literature for reading. I remember being in school and having to read Great Expectations. I have found appreciation for the book now, but at the time it was completely uninteresting and lessened my desire to read. I hope that more people will utilize the information in this post to encourage children to read.

Leave a comment

Reddit button Delicious button Digg button Stumbleupon button