ESP – English for Specific Purposes Lesson 4 – Assignment 2 ————————————————- Sofia G Besenyi It is often said that motivating students to read is one of the greatest challenges teachers face these days. Today’s generation of teens prefer playing video games, watch TV or spend time with the computer. Reading seems to be the last choice from a variety of leisure time activities for a majority. While it is true that as teachers we have little, if any, control over external factors that influence our student? behaviour and engagement, we play a vital role in shaping what occurs in the classroom. I am convinced that the central most important goal of reading instruction is to foster the love of reading. What factors are crucial when teaching reading to teens? A survey on reading and student interests was carried out among twenty advanced teenage students. Many said they read when necessary to complete an assignment. The few who responded that they enjoyed reading said that they read only if they considered the text “interesting”.
Another common theme is their need to understand what they read and to score well at reading tests. What is motivation and what motivates students to read? According to Dornyei, motivation is responsible for why people decide to do something, how long they are willing to sustain the activity and how hard they are going to pursue it. In particular to the construct of reading motivation can be defined as “A complex construct that influences readers? hoices of reading material, their willingness to engage in reading, and thus their ultimate competence in reading” (Pitcher, Albright, Delaney, 2007). ,There are many factors that affect an adolescent? s attitude towards reading. Attitudes are developed over time through the influences of reading experiences. School and home are both important factors that shape teen reader? s attitudes. One way to impact motivation at home is through encouragement. Parents need to encourage their child to read and offer praise when they choose to read over another activity.
Parents should also model reading daily. If a child sees their parent reading a book then they are more likely to choose a book to read. At school it is the teacher and the classroom that plays a vital role in fostering a positive attitude which promotes interest in reading. Classrooms need to provide a warm environment that promotes literacy by offering a wide range of reading material that is available to students (Gambrel, 1996). In addition, teachers can model their love of reading by reading aloud daily to students.
Seefeldt (2003) states “reading aloud to children appears to be a motivational factor in developing a positive attitude toward reading”. Another way is to provide praise and positive feedback to students about their reading. Another important factor is giving students the ability to choose what they want to read (Pitcher et al. , 2007). Finally a wide variety of reading strategies need to be employed by teachers to engage in reading. For example, teachers could include strategies such as sustained silent reading, buddy reading, choral reading, readers? heatre and literature circles into their reading curriculum (Cole, 2003). What conclusions can be drawn from all this? By addressing students? needs and interests educators can be more successful in motivating learners to read more which in turn may result in higher achieving students. Teaching reading and keeping students motivated to read is hard work. By exploring these factors, educators will be able to better understand adolescent? s drive to read and make their classrooms a more productive environment.