Motivating Struggling Readers

Motivating Struggling ReadersThe following is a summary of an article entitled Motivating Struggling Readers in Middle School through an Engagement Model of Classroom Practice (Guthrie & Davis, 2003). The full article can be found here.

The article discusses important concepts in learning and transition between primary and high school (in this case, middle school, as it is an American article). Focussing specifically on literacy, the article demonstrates that lower levels of student engagement equate to lower literacy outcomes.

This is due partly to the disengaging way in which some literacy is taught, but also due to the fact that students are transitioning between two different environments abruptly. In the antecedent, students had one teacher who could differentiate the literacy levels of different students, however in the following environment of middle school, one teacher is unable to personalise or differentiate literacy due to the fewer contact hours with individual students, and also the isolationist environment this has the potential to create.

As a result, the writers recommend higher levels of engagement in literacy teaching, and the application of different transitionary techniques to make the movement between different schools a less jarring experience for students.

The issue at hand in this article is about literacy levels. Literacy is a completely cross-curricular component of learning – that is, it goes across different subjects. If a student struggles to read and write, it is likely that they will struggle in all areas of learning, even those which are less reliant on reading and writing skills.

Reading and writing skills form the basis of assessment and instruction. Someone who struggles to read may misinterpret questions asked of them in exams and assessments. They may also lack the vocabulary to understand deeper meanings in questions, or the relationship between words.

Thus, one’s vocabulary and literacy affects their ability to participate in all areas of their schooling. This is why it’s so important to make sure that all students have a high level of literacy to help them engage in all subjects during their schooling career.

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