Skip to main content

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 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!

View all my reviews


Popular posts from this blog

Project Green Screen SCREEN! Five yards of green cloth, lots of staples, a tripod, and an iPad. That's all it took to transform a corner of our library into a fully functioning video studio.

But then what? Our technology integrator started doing some research on the best apps for green screen creation, and came up with Do Ink.

The App
It took a little practice, but my students figured out the process pretty quickly. Do Ink lets you create 3 "tracks" for your video:

1) the background (can be images from online, students can take pictures, can be videos)
2) the student talking to the camera
3) additional animations

The Process
I brought students to the library class and distributed iPads to groups of 2-3 students. I used my handy document camera to show the steps for opening and using the app. I had students open the app and then immediately start a new project and re-name it.

Important side note: Once Do Ink projects are saved, they are not editable. The app auto-saves pr…

Gut Check Part 2

Courtesy of
A few weeks ago I listened to Cult of Pedagogy's podcast "Gut-Level Teacher Reflection" as I was walking my daily circuit around the neighborhood. I was so impacted I had to listen three times to the same podcast. I even tracked down the worksheets she mentioned because I was so excited about completing the reflection activity. I posted my response to her first gut-level question shortly after I listened to the podcast. Then life happened and I got busy with planning for the new school year. But here I am ready to continue working through the questions.
Question 2: Open up your plan book (or spreadsheet, or wherever you keep your lesson plans from the year) and just start browsing, paying attention to how you’re feeling as your eyes meet certain events. What days and weeks give you a lift when you see them, a feeling of pride or satisfaction? Which ones make you feel disappointed, irr…

Review: The Case of the Missing Marquess

The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Talk
Sherlock famous detective. We've all heard of him. But have you heard of his lesser known little sister, Enola? In "The Case of the Missing Marquess", Enola is faced with the disappearance of her mother. She goes on a great adventure to find her mother, and finds herself in the middle of ANOTHER disappearance. Will Enola find the Missing Marquess? Will she find her mother?

My Thoughts
This is a cute and quick read. I can see middle school students who like mysteries enjoying this series. Reminds me of the Benedict Society series.

My Recommendation
4/5 stars
Grades 5+

View all my reviews