I’ve said this many times and will repeat it again- learning to read is HARD! As we know, some kids learn very easily with little effort while others need frequent, daily attention to learn even basic aspects of reading skills.
One of the most important things to me is ensuring that my little readers know that I’m there to help them do their best. I’ve very big on motivating my struggling readers and encouraging them to take risks so they know it’s ok if they make mistakes. Since I make such a big deal about this, most of my little readers try their very best 100% of the time and succeed as a result.
However…that doesn’t always happen. Some little readers just need every little bit of extra encouragement you can provide. I don’t do anything fancy, but I’ve found one way to motivate even my most frustrated readers…and it only requires a few simple items that you most likely already use on a daily basis in your room…just personalized for the student!
My little readers LOVE all three of these things: sentence strips, stickers and scented markers. Any opportunity to use any of these things is like the most amazing thing ever to them! So, why not mix these in as an added form of encouragement?
I simply have my most frustrated readers write down positive reminders. I let the students choose “good” statements that they will remember each day. Written on sentence strips with smelly markers- the super frustrated/unmotivated reader is suddenly transformed each day when reading the reminders. A frown turns into a smile- especially when knowing stickers can be earned for showing a positive attitude and figuring out challenging words in our text without giving up.
The last step I’ve done is to include one more does of motivation. Find something- anything at all- that motivates the specific student. Make it the reader’s own special reward. For one little reader who just wants to be reading chapter books SO badly, I simply pulled out my bin of chapter books and let him choose one for me to read to him on a regular basis. Of course this made my reading teacher heart extra happy because his choice of reward is giving me another opportunity to model good reading, but really, whatever works for the reader- try it out! We just want all our little readers to feel successful and not get bogged down by just how hard learning to read can be on a daily basis!