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Motivation Matters: Quick Tips for Adolescent Literacy: Tips

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Example Motivational Quick Tip: Ask students to complete a project at the end of their reading assignments so that students set a purpose for reading. For example, developing a mural, making a diorama, or constructing a model encourages students to read a text for functional purposes. This is especially successful when students are delving into subjects that are of interest to them. Projects or oral presentations also provide a chance for students to collaborate with others. Group work may reduce the uneasiness striving readers commonly experience and motivate them to use language socially and positively.

Literacy Area: Reading
When reading a chapter book (novel), I would section the reading into one or two chapters at a time. The activities with these chapters varied but usually included a graphic organizer of some type (character, plot, comparison-contrast, etc.). To encourage dialogue, these activities were conducted in pairs or small cooperative groups. Students maintained these activities in a folder until we finished the book. We also varied how we read: buddies, audiotape, silently, etc. Not all children might be motivated all the time, but with variety, many will be motivated some of the time.  Arleen Mariotti of Adams Middle School in Hillsborough County

Literacy Area: Reading
As we read a novel I break the book into smaller "chunks" and have the students not only summarize in paragraph form, but also in a picture. Many of our students are visual learners, so by giving them the freedom to choose what to draw that will help them remember that particular "chunk" of the story they put down on paper what they see in their own mind. Once they finish the book they have a wonderful study guide! Lisa Gaither of Bannerman Learning Center.

Literacy Area: Reading
Be an avid reader yourself of YA/Childrens books and make this evident to your students. Having conversations with your students about what youre reading and sharing your enthusiasm speaks volumes because by this you are showing them that reading is something you value. This also allows you to recommend books to your students based on your knowledge of their likes/dislikes and the books contents. If we want our students to be readers, we must first be readers. Students need reader role-models and in many cases we are the only reader role-model that they may currently have in their lives.  Sonja Perkins of Braden River Middle School.

Literacy Area: Reading
"Houses of Character" In this "Character Building" activity, students of any grade level can learn to use adjectives as context clues (about themselves) to let others discover their secret identities. First, choose/create a model of a house with windows all around. Colored paper looks nice. (Seasons such as Christmas work wonderfully for this lesson, as they can "decorate" their houses with authentic scenes and colors.) Then, cut out 3 sides of the windows and fold open for now. Students write in an adjective describing something positive about themselves in each window. Next, close window and decorate on outside, including the entire house and surroundings. Object of game is for other students to guess who the person is, based on the character qualities, aka adjectives/context clues displayed about each person. Integrates art, grammar, reading, writing, and builds self-esteem! Anita Luciani Bass of Fernandina Beach High School in Nassau County

Literacy Area: Reading
Internet "Scavenger Hunt"! Each student chooses between DiscoveryChannel.com and ESPN.com. Once into the site, students have 10 questions to answer. The students must read several short articles on the website in order to answer the questions. The students worked quietly and were highly motivated to complete the assignment. You can also "step it up a notch". Ask students to read just one or two articles from these high interest websites; then have them answer numerous multiple-choice and short response questions, (similar to FCAT format) regarding the articles: main idea, context clues, author's purpose, etc. Sharla J. Parker of Fernandina Beach High School in Nassau County

Literacy Area: Reading
Assign the students to illustrate a part of the book they are reading. This can be a character, setting, event, etc. The page number (s) should be identified. A quote should also be included. Have them take the vantage point of what graphics would have helped them in comprehending the text. A variety of mediums can be used. Students may draw, use clip art, or images from the web. This activity helps the student visualize. It also supports research skills. The finished product can be adhered to the corresponding journal. The best part though, is the fun students have doing it. Nancy Sherk of Sarasota High School in Sarasota County

Literacy Area: Love of Reading
Alas, I have tried, quite unsuccessfully, to become a YA reader. So, I leave that for our Media Specialist, and in my classroom, I encourage a love of reading another way. As I finish a novel, I bring it to school. I give my students a quick (censored, of course) book talk. At first, my students could not believe how many books I read. Now, they look forward to the book talks and encourage me to finish books so they can hear all about it. It only takes a few minutes once or twice per week, but I am hoping it will make a lasting impression of my love of reading. Gina McGrath of Umatilla Middle School - The best middle school

Literacy Area: Choices
Offering choices develops ownership. When students make decisions they are more likely to accept ownership & control of the results. This sense of control fosters responsibility. When the control belongs to the teacher so does the ownership. However, always offer choices that are equally acceptable in your eyes. Choices can be offered in the areas of: Topics, learning Processes (methodologies) and Products. Within any set topic or theme there are usually a variety of sub-topics where students may identify a personal interest. Learning processes can be varied and students can be encouraged to find alternatives. When students are offered opportunities to make decisions they learn a great deal about the consequences of their choices. L.E.S. of Corp. Academy South Senior High

Literacy Area: Choices & Ownership
Offering choices develops ownership. When students make decisions they are more likely to accept ownership & control of the results. This sense of control fosters responsibility. When the control belongs to the teacher so does the ownership. However, always offer choices that are equally acceptable in your eyes. Choices can be offered in the areas of: Topics, learning Processes (methodologies) and Products. Within any set topic or theme there are usually a variety of sub-topics where students may identify a personal interest. Learning processes can be varied and students can be encouraged to find alternatives. When students are offered opportunities to make decisions they learn a great deal about the consequences of their choices.  L.E.S. of Corp. Academy South Senior High

Literacy Area: Book Choice
Many of my students don't enjoy the books they read because they don't know how to choose books they will like. I go two steps beyond book talks to help my students find books they will enjoy: Step 1: I read a portion of a popular book aloud to the students and have them complete some type of quick, fun activity (drawing, discussing, predicting, debating, etc). Reading portions aloud helps students to go beyond what the book is "about" and experience the author's writing style and difficulty level of the book. The activity helps students to become more interested in the book (and less intimidated). Step 2: After Step 1, I send around a piece of paper with the book's title on top. Students who want to read the book in the future write their name on the list. I keep the lists in a binder. When the book comes back from the first student, I pass it on to the second. (This also encourages them to return my books!) Since I started this system, many more students are reporting positive reading experiences with independent reading. Margaret Little of North Port High School in Sarasota County

Literacy Area: Adolescent
I believe teens should be encouraged to read whatever they want to read: Sports magazines, video game magazines, teen gossip magazines. My slogan to teenagers is "Get your read on". They should read whatever they want- just read!! (This does not include the internet). I believe our choice in literature changes over the years, but we all must start by first falling in love with reading. Everyone likes to read- they just don't know it. When you read you escape into another world and you gain knowledge about that world. Knowledge is power. Smart people have power...because smart people read. www.williespears.com  Author of Keisha's Dilemma (takes place in Panama City, FL). Willie Spears of Camden County GA

Literacy Area: Reading Chain
Create beautiful book chains that represent information and illustrations from your latest class novel. When students read a novel or a section in the textbook, have them make sketches that illustrate the concept or events and include a factual caption. Make a class paper chain of information and pictures. Each student writes and draws on a strip of construction paper. Have the class stand in front of the room. The first student reads their strip and then folds it in a circle while you staple it. The next student reads their fact and then attaches their strip to the chain. Continue through the entire class. Display the chain in your classroom.

Literacy Area: Student Equity Positioning
I plan on making the following changes in my school: To work with administration in developing and implementing the schools equity positioning plan. This plan squarely places students as equal stakeholders in their education. It focuses on the fact that all students, regardless of race, culture, or socio-economic status have an inalienable right to equally share in the aggressive, relevant, and meaningful instructional process. All students are capable of brilliance and are equal stakeholders in their education. This also includes the acceptance and implementation of a more student-centered learning environment, whereby students make decisions that affect their instruction. This, of course, is professionally guided and monitored, with the teacher as the captain of the ship. This creates an unparalleled sense of ownership where pride in accomplishment and success are bottom line features. I will accomplish this by continuing to work with administration in the design and development of the equity positioning plan and, most importantly, invite other teachers and students to contribute to the process. Once the plan is finalized, we will hold staff development sessions that illuminate the plan with solid and sincere ways to implement it. Teacher mentoring will play an important facet in assisting others to understand and implement the plan. Modeling is an important key in implementation. Don Hessler of Martin County High School in Martin County

Literacy Area: Vocabulary
Vocabulary may be the unglamorous stepchild of reading instruction, but getting kids interested in words is crucial to their success as readers. Thus this story: At the beginning of the year, my students HATED doing word maps, but I knew that they needed some word study and they learned words better using word maps. Later in the year, they were enthusiastic about word maps and often REQUESTED that we do them. So I asked what made the difference. It turns out that giving students 3 example sentences helped them to better understand the word so they could do the rest of the map much more easily. Apparently, students are motivated by being able to understand. :-) Also, they loved sharing their clues via the ActivBoard. They enjoyed sharing with each other and felt less pressure to come up with a clue for every single word since they could use one of the clues that was shared with the class if they really needed to. Now my entire Intensive Reading class (all level ones) is telling me that the 50 words that will be on the final exam "isn't many" and they're bragging that they don't have to study because "we already know all of these words" (and they DO). AND they're begging me to let them write a story using as many of the words as possible.  Margaret Little of North Port High School in Sarasota County