Motivation, interest, and attitude are three factors that influence a student’s success and engagement in reading and writing. Understanding student’s interests allows a teacher to provide text and instruction that is more authentic, which may create intrinsic motivation for the student’s reading and writing. Students who are interested in text are more motivated to read for enjoyment or to gain personal knowledge, this intrinsic motivation helps to create positive attitudes towards reading and writing that allow the reader to build new strategies and skills for text comprehension.
There are many ways that teachers, tutors, and parents can learn what does, and what will motivate their student/child to read and write. One of those ways is by administering a quick, fun, and student-based assessment, that requires the child to identify and answer reading and non-reading questions about their interests.
A helpful tool to assess a student’s interest and motivation is the Interest and Wide Reading Inventory. This is an informal way to get to know a student on a personal level. There is a range of open response questions that are interest based, followed by a T-Chart that asks a student to check off how much they like/dislike reading different types of text. Another useful assessment is the Attitude and Metacognitive Survey. This survey is an informal assessment with 9 open response questions that gauge a student’s awareness of their own reading habits and attitude towards reading. The results that this survey provides are especially helpful in assessing a student’s understanding of their own reading habits.
Both of these assessments are tools that offer a view into the reading and writing part of a student’s brain, and provide information about a student’s interests and types of text will be most enjoyable for him/her to read. Using this information, educators and parents are afforded the opportunity to use materials, and create instruction and that will be extrinsically and intrinsically motivating for a student.
By Jessi Himmelsbach, Reading Specialist