OMG! I Hate Reading

Hate_reading-2“Oh my God! Why do we have to read? I hate reading.” I hear this all the time from middle and high school students. Many of them also do not do homework because they just don’t read. These are the students that give me a mission as a teacher.

I find out what they are interested in and there is always a book or magazine on motocross, nature, art, or anything else they are interested in. These are the students who either learn in a different way or the motivation to read is not there for a variety of reasons.

When I was young, I distinctly remember reading fairy tales and little golden books with my parents. There were always books, magazines, and newspapers in the house. Even though both of my parents worked full-time jobs, they still found time to share literacy activities. This taught my brother and me that reading was important. According to Gladstone et al. (2016), the following is true about reading motivation:

Prominent theoretical models of achievement motivation focus on children’s beliefs, values, and goals as the primary “drivers” of their motivation (…Central motivational beliefs include competence-related beliefs such as self-efficacy, or one’s confidence in one’s ability to accomplish different tasks)… and the sense of control and autonomy individuals have over their learning. Researchers also have discussed different ways in which individuals value activities, including how important they are to the individual, how useful they might be, and whether or not they are interested in the activity.
Students’ valuing of activities such as reading are particularly important influences on their choice to do them…Finally, although motivation often is considered an individual variable or characteristic, social context and social relations impact students’ motivation as well, particularly during the early adolescent years. (p.2-3)

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Unfortunately, if students do not connect to literacy at an early age, it is harder to get them motivated to read in the adolescent years. This will have a negative impact on everything in education from math to science too, yes, even English Language Arts.
What many of these “OMGers” do not realize is, that reading does not always have to be fictional novels. An article about their favorite rapper or scientist, a comic or graphic novel, owner’s manuals for cars, or even social media, are all center around literacy. If a student who does not like to read novels can be shown that literacy is not just about Mark Twain or Jane Austen, then we, as literacy professionals can start to close the gaps.

 

Written by: Sarah Warring

 

References
Gladstone, J., Wigfield, A., & Turci, L. (2016). Beyond Cognition: Reading Motivation and Reading Comprehension. Child development perspectives, 10(3), 190-195.

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