How to Motivate Struggling Readers

Giggle Poetry Reading Lessonsby Amy Buswell

Motivation and a positive attitude are the keys to remediating struggling readers. In order for a reader to catch up to his peers he’ll have to read for many hours outside of school. The best way achieve this extracurricular study, is by selecting reading texts that are short and entertaining. In contrast to a typical practice text that can be boring, cumbersome and feel overwhelming to a struggling reader, Giggle Poetry Reading Lessons lets students laugh their way through its short, hilarious poems. Instead of being a loathsome chore, reading these poems will become a welcome challenge, and something they look forward to. By re-reading the poems just a few times, students will notice immediate improvement. And by continuing to practice them, the better and more fluent they will become. The instant improvement they see combined with the “fun factor” of the entertaining text will motivate them to want to read more, and a new, positive cycle filled with progress and joy will be established.

A Typical 30 Minute Practice Session:

  1. Discuss each poem with the child to make sure they understand what the poem is about, any new vocabulary within the poem and the dramatic aspects of the poem.
  2. Provide an example of the kind of prosody that might work well by modeling a reading or performing the poem yourself.
  3. Do a variety of re-reading activities such as echo reading (“I read – You read”), choral reading (“We read together”), and paired reading (friends practice together).
  4. After providing some independent practice time, encourage students to read and perform their poem for the group, so everyone can see and celebrate the improvement everyone has made.

© Amy Buswell from Giggle Poetry Reading Lessons with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

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