How I Motivate My Students To Read

April 30, 2018 0 By Sarah

Motivation… as a teacher that can be a very daunting word. We know we must motivate our students to want to learn and succeed, but how?! That depends on the teacher (the motivation of the teacher), the students, and what those students are motivated by. I have found that a little friendly competition seems to motivate the majority of students. This year I have an amazing group of 4th grade students that totally bought into my motivational tactics this year and ROCKED the reading world.

My school uses Accelerated Reader, which I really enjoy. This program allows you to print off a word count, which tallies how many words each student has read. This is what led the brainstorming session for ideas. Students could to a certain amount of words (rockets, race cars, boats…), earn medals for reaching small goals or achieve levels and win prizes…. and then the AR mountain was established! I marked increments of 50,000 going up the mountain with 1,000,000 at the peak. I took pictures of my students pretending to climb (or dab) up the mountain so they could actually watch themselves climb. This in itself seemed to be enough motivation, however I wanted each student, even those that did not reach 1,000,000 million words to still reach goals and receive something for doing so.


I used every 250,000 words as a major goal. When they reached each goal, they were given a degree and a prize. 250,000 words= Associates Degree, 500,000 words= Bachelor’s Degree, 750,000 words= Master’s Degree, and 1,000,000 words= Doctorate Degree. Quite a few went beyond 1,000,000 words, in which they were able to go up the mountain again and earn the degrees in a different field this time. Once the reach 1,000,000, I also allow them to ride in a buggy, fly up in a gold cape, take a mountain bike, or whatever their creative minds come up with. One student chose a dirt bike his 2nd time up the mountain and two others chose space shuttles. In my next post, Stetson University, I will detail my prizes and how I got them all for FREE. Yes, every teacher’s favorite F word, FREE!