Guest Blog: Use Technology to Motivate More Reading


JannaDougherty
Uncategorized on March 12 2015

Hello Teachers,

Today we’re pleased to bring you a contribution from a group that’s as passionate as we are about technology in education. Learn2Earn is a platform designed to help students and schools raise funds by reading books, and one of their bloggers offered to provide us with some wisdom this week. 

Use Technology to Motivate More Reading

By Jessica Sanders

Video games, social media, and apps—they all distract from one of the most important learning tools for children: books. What’s worse: kids mostly read outside of school (44%), where most of these distractions are readily available.

Luckily, as a teacher, you can use technology to motivate students to pick up a book more often at home. With fun reporting options, simple incentives and access to eBooks, kids will be doing everything they can to read more.

Improve the Book Reporting Process

Technology can be used to motivate more reading when used as a factor in the “if-this-then-that” technique. When you allow students to explore non-traditional options for book reports, the if-then statement looks like this: if I read this whole book, then I’ll get to use the computer (to make a fun presentation for my teacher).

There are a number of tools you can use to implement this motivational technique, including:

Combine Online and Offline

Scholastic’s most recent Kids and Family Report uncovered a number of interesting details about how kids like to read, especially when it comes to choosing between an ebook and a print book.

While the average home still has more print than eBooks (158 to 39, respectively), 65 percent of children polled said they will always want to read print, despite the availability of eBooks. However, it’s important to note the percentage of students who have read an eBook in the various age groups (image below); there is clear interest in having access to both formats.

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(See the full infographic here)

The hidden gem in this information: having the option to read both types may motivate students to read more, since it’s clear they enjoy both.

To use this in class, create a reading punch card—students have to read five print books to read one eBook, for example. Students will not only be motivated by getting their punch card stamped, but they’ll want to keep reading to reach that one eBook option.

Incentivize Their Reading

Incentives are a powerful method for encouraging students to read and become life-long lovers of reading. “The fact is kids have to start reading regularly first before they find topics and books they truly impassion them,” said Raphael Menko, co-founder of Learn2Earn, an online platform that allows students to earn wisdom points and decorate their Owlvatar for reading.

Technology is a great vehicle for providing incentives. Here are a few ideas and platforms to consider:

  • Students who read the most each week get 15 minutes of free time with the app or program of their choice.
  • Sign up for Whooo’s Reading, a free, online reading log. It’s built around Wisdom Coins, which students earn for logging their reading. “My reluctant readers are actually begging me for more time reading and responding. They love earning coins for their work and designing their page and avatars,” said Cheryl R., a Whooo’s Reading teacher.
  • Implement a “tech tool of the week” program, and allow the top reader to choose the tool. Similar to front-of-the-line or chalkboard privileges, this incentive gives students something their peers don’t have, which is incredibly motivating.

Technology is a powerful tool. Consider how you can use it to motivate students to read more, whether you’re using apps, tablets or online platforms. With availability of these tools both at home and in class, you’ll motivate students to read more at in no time.

 Jessica Sanders is the Director of Social Outreach for Learn2Earn, an online fundraising platform that allows students raise money by reading books. She grew up reading books like The Giver and Holes, and is passionate about making reading as exciting for young kids today as it has always been for her. Follow Learn2Earn on Twitter and Facebook, and send content inquiries to social@learn2earn.org.