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How You Can Motivate Your Students To Read In The Classroom

What This Article About

This article gives EFL teachers some tips on how to make reading comprehension activity accessible and motivating for students.

It describes how to create the basic motivational conditions and generate the initial motivation for reading comprehension in the classroom.


Motivation is one of the key factors that provide the main incentive to learn a foreign language.

Without sufficient motivation, students cannot achieve long-term goals even if they own the best of their abilities.

So, the role of teachers is not only to teach the curriculum but also to motivate their students.

Teaching Reading And Motivation

For teaching reading, the mission of motivating students is a great challenge because they come with different emotional and psychological interests.  

However, using authentic reading texts remains one way of motivating students and making the task of reading in a foreign language interesting for them.

Tips to Create Basic Motivation:

Create a pleasant and supportive learning environment.

The friendly and supportive atmosphere will encourage students to develop their full potential and achieve the required goals.

Set rules or a class contract

This contract should be between yourself and your class regarding behaviour and norms that everyone agrees to.

Divide the class into groups

It depends on your knowledge of students’ interests, levels, skills, and points of strength. Encourage peer support within these groups.

Tips To Generate Initial Motivational And Maintain It

Tell them the reasons for reading

Inform students of the reasons why they are being asked to read authentic texts and explain the benefits to them. E.g.,

  • exposure to real English,
  • developing language awareness,
  • promoting language competence,
  • exposure to real-life vocabulary,
  • developing knowledge of the culture of the target language,
  • and, overall, contributing to achieving long-term language learning goals.

Describe the reading text

Give a brief description of the reading text and try to make this description interesting and motivating.

Relate the reading task to students’ culture and general knowledge.

Give the needed information that helps students’ understanding and learning of new vocabulary.

Select appropriate reading text

Make sure that the reading text is appropriate to students’ learning levels. It is important as too low-level challenges can result in a lack of interest. And the too high-level challenges can lead to over-anxiety or stress.

The word challenge here refers to a task that is not easy. But that can be overcome by giving students needed support and encouragement.

Give clear instructions

Explain how to work with the reading text. E.g. There will be 2-minute-first-silent reading to do a pre-task, then there will be intensive reading for more details, etc.

Encourage students to think about their approaches to reading and how to build their confidence.

All fears they may have about not understanding every word so you should emphasize that 100 per cent comprehension is not necessary to understand the overall meaning.

Utilize clues

Encourage students to use all available and relevant clues from the language, the context, and the illustrations to help make sense of the reading text.

Encourage using reading strategies

Train students on using reading comprehension strategies such as previewing, skimming and scanning, inferring meaning, etc.

Provide a point of entry.

This could be a scene from a story, an illustration, or any paragraph that can be looked at or read in class before starting the actual reading.

This entry will help the reading material to be more accessible to students and sufficiently stimulating to arouse their interest in the setting, characters, and narration of the text.

It can provide a starting point and a future point of reference throughout the reading.

Provide a pre-reading task.

This is before the reading stage. E.g., previewing the title or the sub-headings. Pre-reading tasks can stimulate students’ interest, introduce characters and setting in a story, relate the text to what students already know, etc.

Inform students of the final goal of the reading activity.

whether it is acting out a story, producing a poster, role-playing a dialogue, writing a summary or a letter, organizing a project, etc. Knowing that their work is leading towards something concrete and relevant can help students focus throughout the reading process.

Thanks For Reading

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  • What should be done before starting a reading lesson?
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