At a recent NJ Devils game, wild cheers erupted when the Jumbotron flashed, "We would like to welcome 450 students from Orange, NJ, as we celebrate their academic achievements through the Reading Plus All-Stars program and the Orange Page Turners Reading Challenge!” I was there, and it was an awesome moment! How did these wonderful students end up at a the hockey game? By reading! Let me explain....
The students were at the game thanks to a motivational contest within a motivational contest. We ran a contest to see who could complete the most Reading Plus lessons, which was part of a broader motivational contest -- the Orange Page Turners Reading Challenge. Still following? Great! Here’s how it worked …
The Orange Public Schools launched a community-wide initiative to read 1 million pages between Thanksgiving and May Day. When I say “community-wide,” I mean it. The WHOLE community was involved –students, parents, police and fire departments – everyone in the Orange community was reading, reading, reading to reach the 1-million-page goal.
When we heard about the Orange Page Turners Reading Challenge, we wanted to help motivate readers to reach that goal. Reading Plus worked with the NJ Devils to get the local National Hockey League team involved in the community. We awarded the top 450 Reading Plus students with complimentary tickets provided by the Devils organization to attend a NJ Devils hockey game.
These contests were designed to help get, and keep, students motivated to read. Some people think of a motivated reader as a student who is having fun while reading. Of course, sometimes this is true, but there’s more to it than just enjoying reading. Dr. John Guthrie (internationally renowned expert on reading motivation and Reading Plus advisor) has stated, “When we talk about reading motivations we refer to (1) interest, (2) dedication, and (3) confidence. An interested student reads because he enjoys it, a dedicated student reads because he believes it is important, and a confident student reads because he can do it.”
In fact, research clearly shows that reading success and motivation are a two-way street. (You can read our research brief here.) Highly motivated students read up to 3x more than those with low motivation. Many reading programs claim to increase motivation, but few actually measure it. Reading Plus helps teachers measure and monitor student motivation and includes specific features – such as eight interest categories from which students choose texts – to increase motivation and build confidence.
As the Regional Manager for Reading Plus in New Jersey, I’m also rooting for my home team, the Orange Public Schools! I’m happy to report that Orange Public Schools not only met its reading goal, it surpassed the goal!
The Orange Public School students proved they are truly motivated, and Reading Plus is thrilled to have helped them along the way. The motivated and confident readers of this community are Devil-ishly good!
How do you motivate your students to read? Add your ideas below!