10 Ways to Motivate Your Readers

Do your students love book projects? Check out this post for 10 ideas you can use to spark reading motivation!

What do you think of when you hear the word, "Project"? Maybe art supplies (or the lack of them), creativity, or perhaps, "There goes my relaxation time!" Well, I have students who are incredibly excited to share their enthusiasm for reading whenever it's time to make a project, and today, we'll explore ways to motivate, celebrate, and increase reading with your students through projects and other motivational techniques.

Books On Parade

Recently, our fourth graders made Virginia "Floats" to show off what they'd learned about our state, and that got me thinking of variations of that idea for reading. I thought it might be fun to have a "Books on Parade" Night where students make their own float (only requirements...must use a box, must feature a book, and must include wheels). Here are a few pictures of some we had come in.

Literacy Book Fair

While we're on the topic of projects, this week, our school had open house for American Education Week. We have had lots of visitors come through, and as part of the festivities, we held our second annual Literacy Book Fair. With these projects, the requirements were for the students to choose their favorite book either from long ago or from recent reading. The children and their parents had the option of decorating a trifold display, a lapbook, creating a scrapbook layout, a cereal box project, or a diorama. It was so fun seeing the projects come in. The children shared them with their peers and quite a few children asked when we would do it again.

Book Recommendations

Speaking of sharing books, one of the best ways to build enthusiasm for reading is to let kids get book recommendations from their friends. When kids start to recommend books to each other, then you begin to see real readers. Reading becomes meaningful to them and is a way to connect with each other and the books they read. I love the idea of a book recommendation wall. Here are a two neat options from Pinterest.

Blogging With Kids

This year, I started blogging with the students at my school, and I think adding that dimension to classroom discussions allows freedom to explore and comment with each other. I shared several platform options a while back, and if you're interested in getting started, you might look back at {this post}. Our blog has been used more as a newsletter for school events, but you have lots of options with as simple or elaborate blog options as you like. The main purpose is to give your students an avenue to talk about books with their peers.

Book Buddies

Many schools have book buddy programs set up, but many use the term, "Book Buddies" differently. During my reading program, we explored using the "Book Buddy" program as a tutoring opportunity for students who were slightly below level as a way to fill in gaps and motivate reading through the personal connection between tutor and student. We had grown up mentors who had been trained to be book buddies. If you are familiar with Reading Recovery, the Book Buddy lessons are very similar in structure. Each session included repeated reading of familiar text, word study, introduction and reading of new material, and writing in response to reading. Students read A LOT of books with their tutors, and friendships are formed.

Pajamas, Teddy Bears, and Hot Cocoa...Oh My

Speaking of forming relationships with tutors and getting a warm fuzzy from reading together, how about a story time where kids and parents cozy up with a great book? Associating pleasurable things with reading helps kids who may not LOVE reading like we do see that it can be fun. This is not a new idea, but we as teachers can do this every day by making a cozy reading nook for kids to read in and creating opportunities where reading is pleasurable. Book choice is a huge help with this too. Here are a few book suggestions from Boy Mama Teacher Mama if you decide to do a Pajama day.

Know Your Students' Interests

From Ginger Snaps
Learn what your students are interested in and be ready to share books that tie into those interests. Interest surveys are a great way to learn about your kids. Once you know interests, you might check out websites like Good Reads.

Track and Reward Reading with Punch Cards

Reading Challenge Punch Card
Use personal incentive charts or punch cards to help your students keep track of the number of books they've read. Kids like to see how they are progressing. This reward punch card set can be used right now, but others are available for free on Teachers Pay Teachers. Just search the word, punch card to see what you can find.

Do your students love book projects? Check out this post for 10 ideas you can use to spark reading motivation!

Book Choice with Read Alouds

The books we choose to share may lead to further reading. Pick new authors and books with strong beginnings that hook your kids. Read part of a book and have multiple copies ready for shared reading once you reach the stopping point you decide. Once the kids are hooked, they will WANT shared reading time.

Choose "Just Right" Books

Help your students make the best match. At our school, books are color coded by level to make selection easier. Teachers provide students with the level that works best for them. This isn't necessarily a novel idea, but it is critical to reading achievement. Too many children try to push up in level before they are ready only to abandon the book before they finish.

Well, I am spent today, but I believe I reached my ten tip limit. I do hope your kids will be super motivated for the rest of the year. Please share motivational ideas below. We'd love to read them.


  1. Fabulous post filled with superb ideas! I may just have to update my QR Code bulletin board with your bulletin board idea for book recommendations! Thanks for sharing, Carla. :)
    Literacy Loving Gals

  2. Thanks Colleen! The book project ideas have been amazing. I was so proud of the kids that participated. I know it took dedication from parents too. Great fun!