5 Ways to Motivate Your Adolescent Reader at Home

5 Ways to Motivate Your Adolescent Reader at Home

Families, we know the remote learning situation can be a struggle.

For students, one of the many challenges associated with at-home learning involves focusing on and managing reading assignments while away from friends, teachers, and familiar routines. 

Although adolescents may be used to completing daily homework in middle school and beyond, learning from home full-time is still a major adjustment. Ultimately, remote learning puts skills like self-motivation, initiative, and time management to the test.

If you're a parent or guardian seeking ways to keep your adolescent student on track, teachers and specialists are your best resources—they’re experts at motivating this age group! That said, you can help your adolescent develop intrinsic motivation for reading by offering voice and choice as they tackle their workload.

Although all want our voices to be heard and to have some control over our lives, that's especially the case for adolescents. Here are five quick tips for restoring some of your adolescent's autonomy when it comes to reading assignments:

1. Create a “playlist.”

Although music can be a motivator for adolescents, that isn't the kind of playlist we're talking about here; rather, we're referring to a personal assignment chart that adolescents can compose and follow at their own pace. With this in mind, work together to create a list that includes reading, exercise, fun activities, and school assignments. If a student is unenthused about a particular item on the list, they can use the upcoming items as motivation to push through.

2. Work out the “why.” 

"Why do I have to do this?" "Why does this matter?" Adolescent brains are wired to question authority—after all, thinking independently and evaluating options are part of becoming an adult—so you'll want to talk to your adolescent reader about how the work they're doing now can help them reach a larger goal or is connected to something they view as important. Remember, almost all reading activities support real-world goals, from obtaining a driver's license to getting a job.

3. Get used to saying “I don't know.” 

Even if you do know the answer, embrace the discovery process to highlight problem-solving strategies for your adolescent reader. Fine-tune questions to get at key issues, brainstorm related information based on prior knowledge, and use all available resources (including searching the internet, phoning a friend, and rereading past assignments).

4. Realize that for study skills, one size does not fit all.

What worked for you in school might not be as beneficial for your tween or teen, so it's important to help adolescents find their individual "learning zone." Maybe doodling as they read helps them remember key ideas. Perhaps explaining a concept to a friend improves their own grasp of the information. Or maybe their best course of action is going for a walk to allow what they just learned to sink in.

5. Make your adolescent learner the expert.

If your adolescent complains about what they're reading—so boring! too long! overcomplicated!—ask how they would make it better, then listen to their ideas for what might make the assignment more interesting, more concise, or more straightforward. Engaging in discussions like these can help adolescents both prepare for a reading and process what they've already read.

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Featured White Paper:

Strategies to Support Struggling & Non-Proficient Adolescent Readers: How to Identify and Address Why They Struggle

Proficiency in reading impacts all subjects across the secondary curriculum. Read the white paper by Dr. Suzanne Carreker, Lexia's Principal Educational Content Lead​, to learn about the causes of non-proficient reading as well as possible solutions for helping adolescent students in grades 6 and above learn to read well and find reward in reading.

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