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Review: No More Reading for Junk: Best Practices for Motivating Readers

No More Reading for Junk: Best Practices for Motivating Readers No More Reading for Junk: Best Practices for Motivating Readers by Barbara A Marinak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Have you ever really thought about why you do the things you do in the classroom in terms of reading instruction? How many of us have created reading incentive programs, or jumped on the Book It train? In Marinak and Gambrell's book, they (gently) eviscerate the token economy approach to literacy.

In Part 1 (Not This), Marinak takes us through her evolution as a reading teacher, focusing on the many mistakes she, and others, have made. She talks about dressing up and quacking like a duck, and principals shaving their heads, as well as commonly used bribes like candy, toys, and food. I really appreciate Marinak's transparency in part 1, because although she is correcting mistakes that I have made many times in my teaching career, she does it with humor and by pointing out her own mistakes.


In Part 2 (Why Not? What Works?) Gambrell takes over to discuss the research. She starts by explaining motivation theories (behaviorism, self-determination, goal theory, social-cognitive theory). She describes how behaviorism has historically driven much of what happens in education, but then points to study after study that prove behaviorism doesn't work when it comes to increasing motivation to read. She also parks on the idea of intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation in this section. She calls her theory of motivation ARC: access, relevance, and choice. She believes that to truly motivate students to want to read, they have to have lots of access to reading materials and opportunities to discuss those materials, relevant experiences that are interesting, authentic, and moderately challenging, and choice of materials, tasks, and activities.

Part 3 (But That) provides plenty of specific strategies for implementing ARC in the classroom. This is where most of my bookmarks and highlighting occur. One of my favorite strategies that I will be implementing almost right away is the "book blessing" (p. 35), which is a modified book talk. She provides a variety of books to students that she quickly introduces and then uses the "blessed books" in a number of ways...free choice reading, read alouds voted on by students, etc. Her second strategy that will also be implemented in my library is the personal invitation. She shares an experience that was so touching to me about a girl and a paper bag. I won't spoil it for you, but it made me want to bless a kid in the same way. The visual interview is another cool strategy I plan on using in my library, in which kids answer interview questions using only photos (online) or drawings (What was your favorite book in kindergarten? Who is your favorite author now?)

My Takeaways from this Book:
* Daily classroom reading time is a MUST, and will be implemented in my library next year. Research shows that good readers benefit from longer amounts of time, struggling readers need less.
* Students need time to talk about text to each other. I am going to end my SSR time each library period with time for students to debrief each other.
* Teach the concept of AVID READER, which means an eager or enthusiastic reader, one who reads as much as they can whenever they can (p. 37). I will take photos of avid reading and post them in the library.
* Book blessing, as described above, lets me introduce lots of books all at once without the stress or strain of full booktalking. It also provides some scaffolding to my lessons.
* Personal invitation to read. I will be using this idea of hand-picking books for certain students (those special cases who need a little extra attention) and wrapping the books up in newspaper, wrapping paper, comics, etc. with a personal note.
* Visual interview. Will be using pictorial representations of questions so that students have a different way to tap into their creativity.
* Selecting books for the library. I will be forming a TAG for my school library that will include the job of suggesting books to be ordered for the library. I do this already in small doses; I always order student recommendations. But now I will actively seek out their assistance in making collection decisions.
* Celebrating Your Reading Life. I want to involve parents in new and meaningful ways. During Back to School Night and Orientation I plan on introducing my theme for the year #choosekind, and talking about the importance of reading at home. I will ask parents to use our hashtag to post pictures of themselves reading with their kids, and to consider sending in books and materials that are meaningful to their families to be shared with other students.
* BOOK TWEETS!!! This is so happening next year. I will post a Twitter board on the window outside the library with blank tweet papers and the rules of tweeting (see p. 55). I will share exemplars out on our actual Twitter feed. I will ask staff and faculty to participate, as well!
* CHOICE. More of it, as often as possible. Students will be choosing what they read, how they read, where they read, and how they share what they read.
* Who knew ____? Such a cool idea to post a fun fact from my own personal reading each day, such as a newspaper headline or a science fact. I will probably tie this in to the monthly themes I will be using.
* Listography! This is encouraging kids to track their books in lists. We are using Bookopolis this year in 5th grade, so I want to see if kids can tag their books using pre-determined tags (loved it, loved the cover, loved the ictures, i learned so much, not my favorite, want to read it, etc).

That's a lot of takeaways from one little book. I actually borrowed this one from interlibrary loan, but will probably just order my own copy. It is a terrific read, easy to follow, fun, and useful.

5/5 stars!

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