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No More Reading for Junk

Best Practices for Motivating Readers

Motivational principles that help students see reading as its own reward.

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eBook + Print Bundle
The Not This, But That Series
Full Description

Pizza. Pez dispensers. Nerf balls. When we give students “junk” to reward reading, we are focusing their intention away from the act of reading and from their own independence as readers. Instead, we can create classrooms where reading is seen as its own reward. In this book, esteemed researcher Linda Gambrell provides a research-based context for cultivating children’s intrinsic motivation to read and identifies three essential principles, the “ARC” of motivation:

  • access: giving kids a wealth of reading materials and opportunities to discuss texts

  • relevance: offering high interest, moderately challenging and authentic reading experiences

  • choice: allowing students to self-select texts and reading activities

What exactly do those principles look like in action? Reading specialist and researcher Barbara Marinak shares the strategies and techniques that make a difference for student readers’ motivation, turning disengaged readers into passionate ones. “Pizza and Pez dispensers are short lived,” Linda and Barbara write, “but confident and empowered readers are likely to remain motivated for life.”   

Additional Resource Information

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In Depth

In this book you have the opportunity to learn from two of the very best. Barbara and Linda bring enormous expertise in how to motivate students to read. Barbara has spent years as a teacher and as an administrator working to develop passionate, lifelong readers. Linda has long worked with teachers and fellow researchers uncovering those approaches and practices that are most promising for fostering reading motivation. I could not be more pleased or proud to feature these educators in this latest installment of the Not This, But That series.

In Section 1, you will learn that early in her career, Barb herself engaged in practices to promote reading motivation that we now recognize as unlikely to be effective (by far my favorite was the time she dressed up as a duck!). Like any of you reading this book, Barbara’s heart was in the right place, but she did not yet know of the theory and research that can inform development of reading motivation.

In Section 2, Linda teaches us what research says about fostering reading motivation. You will love the way Linda writes accessibly about a number of research studies related to reading motivation and organizes them into a single model that can powerfully shape our daily practice.

Barbara and Linda team up in Section 3 to describe specific class- room practices you can use to help students want to read and keep reading. Some of these practices are relatively simple to accomplish—such as surveying students about their reading interests or providing an individual student with a book you believe he or she will like; others, such as forming and sustaining book clubs, are more complex but worth every minute. With so many ideas included, I urge you to return to this section again and again as you add practices to your toolkit.

Enjoy reading about reading enjoyment!

— From the Introduction


Related PD Services

Email if you would like to contact Barbara A. Marinak directly about professional development support.

Email if you would like to contact Linda Gambrell directly about professional development support.

PD Resources From Ellin Oliver Keene



Email if you would like to contact Nell K Duke directly about professional development support.