As we strive to create active readers who can engage with a complex text, it is important that we develop a joy for reading at the same time. Reluctant readers will often disengage from the content, but Actively Learn blogger Dr. Natalie Saaris offers some practical tips in her blog post, “5 Ways to Make Rigorous Content Motivating to Students,” to maintain a connection to the text and increase reading skills at the same time.
One of her suggestions is to make reading social. When students can collaborate while reading it allows them to be their social selves and makes reading fun. Actively Learn’s online platform is the perfect place for collaborative reading. Students can ask one another clarifying questions, share annotations or text insights, and receive feedback from the teacher. It also offers the option for flipping the classroom since students can still engage while completing the assignment from home.
Dr. Saaris also shares the value of providing support for reading a rigorous text. When introducing a complex text, previewing unfamiliar vocabulary and building background knowledge are important so that students are not disengaging from their reading. Actively Learn also allows for that easy access to teacher help and feedback, another valuable way of supporting our growing readers.
Another way she mentions to make content more interesting to students is letting them choose the outcome. While choice may not be choosing the text they read, allowing student choice and voice in the way they analyze the text or present their research is still valuable in maintaining student engagement and allowing for a deeper level of thinking. If your course allows for more text variety, having students read an article of the week in Actively Learn’s Independent Reading Catalogue could be a way to engage readers as well.
These are just some of the five ways that Dr. Saaris shares. Check out the blog post for more ideas!