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10 Ways to Motivate Stressed Students to Read

10 Ways to Motivate Stressed Students to Read

By Troy Lambert

School in general can make students stressed. Homework, athletics, clubs, and after school obligations eat up their free time and the time they have for homework. Family dynamics can also play a role in student stress.

This stress has a physical effect on students in the same ways it does on adults. The signs and symptoms often include:

  • Headache
  • Stomach ache
  • Lack of motivation
  • Change in appetite (the student is not hungry for lunch or snack, or is still hungry after)
  • Angry outbursts or other displays of frustration
  • Missing school excessively due to illness

Reading can be a great stress reliever for students, provided they’re capable readers and are motivated to do so. If you recognize that one of your students is experiencing chronic stress, use these ten ways to motivate them to read and reduce their symptoms.

More: 7 Resources to Promote Mindfulness in the Classroom

10. Communicate 

Listen to the student to determine books they might enjoy, and guide their reading accordingly. Gentle suggestions win out over “required’ reading. The more a student believes the idea to read a book to be their own, the more likely they are to finish and pursue similar books. Try these tools that make reading fun.

9. Set Reading Objectives

Kids do better when they have goals, especially daily goals, which helps them immensely. Use the tracking and goal-setting features in Whooo’s Reading to do exactly that.

8. Recognize Achievements

Reward your student’s reading habits with incentives. The best type of reward depends largely on the student and what they respond best to, whether it’s recognition in front of the class for a job well done or a quiet pat on the back. Either way, make reading pay off in a tangible way.

7. Encourage Relevant Reading 

Encourage reading that is applicable to a student’s real life, whether related to hobbies they have or sports they play. Often these activities are themselves stress relievers, and reading about them can magnify that effect.

6. Encourage Cooperative Reading

Encourage peer groups to read and discuss the same book. Cooperative reading, like cooperative learning, can encourage kids to read more, read faster, and fosters their desire for comprehension so they can discuss the book with their peers. Literature circles are a great way to encourage this, especially when you use these tools.

5. Encourage Struggling Students to Seek Help

One way for a student to get better at reading and other subjects is to seek tutoring help. Tutoring help can also help your student deal better with stress at school in general, according to Grade Potential Tutoring.

4. Cater to Learning Styles

Ebooks and audiobooks mean there are number of ways for your student to digest books and stories. Give them the freedom to choose the format and reading method that works best for them.

More: 9 Websites to Find Free Audio Books for the Classroom

3. Test Reading Comprehension

This does not have to be a bubble test or even a written exercise. Simply ask the student questions about what they’ve read, and be sure they understand it and are reading at the correct level. Nothing kills reading enthusiasm more quickly than confusion and lack of understanding.

2. Encourage Exercise

It sounds out of place in a list about motivating students to read, but exercise gets blood flowing to students’ brains, and keeps their mind and bodies fit. Books that are about and encourage exercise can help your efforts in this area.

1. Be Creative

Remember that no matter what you do, or how, when, and why you encourage kids to read, your ultimate goal is their success.

Reading can be a great escape for students. Through good communication and encouragement, you can create a room full of readers that are way less stressed.

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1 Comment

  1. Danene

    January 2, 2017 at 9:13 am

    These are great ideas. I don’t require reading logs for my students’ grades. I agree that reading should be a chosen activity, not required or mandatory. However, practice is needed to improve skills, so I try to find motivating activities to encourage it. Those who enjoy reading will do it with no extrinsic incentives. I appreciate the insights given here and look forward to trying some.

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