Reading Rules! Motivating Teens to Read

Reading Rules! Motivating Teens to Read

Reading Rules! Motivating Teens to Read

Reading Rules! Motivating Teens to Read


Filled with ideas, practical tips, useful statistics and other helpful data on teen reading, this book details numerous methods for getting teens to read, such as reading workshops, literature circles, book clubs, and booktalks. An overview of YA literature and annotated bibliographies of both teen and professional reads further assists in creating a literacy game plan at your school. Grades 6-8.


What has happened in our schools and homes across the nation to create so many teens who can read but choose not to? According to Beers (1996) there are three voices of aliteracy. One is dormant, the students who say that they would read but just don't have the time right now—there is too much going on to take time to sit and read a book just for the fun of it. There are also the uncommitted readers who think they might read sometime in the future. The third kind are the unmotivated readers who just plain refuse to read, saying they know they are not going to enjoy it anyway, so why bother.

In an article in the March 1997 issue of the English Journal, Jim Cope questioned high school seniors about their reading. He found that many of the strongest reading memories of these students were negative, and the students related school reading experiences that turned them off. He calls their fear of assigned reading Moby-phobia. The works of one author came under the most fire: Shakespeare. Alan Purves points out that Shakespeare's plays were meant to be seen and heard, not read and dissected. Much of the imagery and dialogue in the plays rushed by the audience so that it was the drift, not each individual segment, that was the focus. Students were further turned off by spending too long on one particular work or on overanalysis. Other things students disliked were book reports and having to read aloud. Cope ends the article, [Students learn more from things they understand and want to read rather than when they are being forced to read something of no interest to them.]

In many middle school literature classes the students are reading classic novels, and the lessons are teacher-directed with vocabulary lists, literal comprehension questions, and the students listening to the teacher tell them what they should be [getting] from their readings. No connections are made to the way things are today, and no connections are made to young adult literature. In fact, English/literature teachers feel that young adult novels are not good enough to be included in the curriculum.

In content area classes the texts are often difficult and boring, written by experts in the field in a style that makes comprehension a challenge. In most classes no connections are made to nonfiction trade books, nor are there any reading strategies taught to help students comprehend. Most content area teachers feel they are not trained to teach reading; that should have been taken care of in the lower grades.

Not many teachers and librarians spend much time booktalking young adult titles in order to persuade or entice students to read. Most teachers are very busy trying to cover material, so that no block of time is ever given in class for uninterrupted, student-selected . . .

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