7 Strategies to Increase Student Reading Engagement

student reading a book
Masthead Waves

Student engagement plays a vital role in student learning. Recent data from EdWeek shows that 45% of principals and 29% of teachers recognize the direct link between student achievement and engagement. But how can we measure and encourage student engagement in the classroom? And how can they use reading as a way to increase it? That remains a question educators tackle year in and year out.

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The Value of Student Engagement in Education

Engagement becomes evident when students exhibit curiosity, resilience in the face of challenges, active participation in the learning environment, and meaningful interactions with their peers and teachers. When students are truly engaged, their learning is enhanced. As an educator, it is crucial to employ effective strategies that foster student engagement in reading. 


Engaged students are students who are actively acquiring knowledge. By immersing themselves in the learning process, they allocate more time and attention to the subject matter, resulting in improved focus. They also possess the ability to think critically, which ultimately translates to higher academic accomplishments throughout elementary, middle, and high school. When students experience success, they are more inclined to remain in school.


Why Is Student Engagement in Reading Important?

Student engagement is important in all subject areas, but in reading, the benefits of engagement extend into other subject areas. When students are engaged in reading, they can discover information and stories that lead to learning in other subjects. They also increase their motivation in the area of reading until it becomes something they do for fun, not just because it’s required. The National Library of New Zealand highlights the link between reading engagement, knowledge enrichment, academic achievement, and cultural understanding. Passionate readers deeply understand texts, propelling them to develop a genuine love for reading.

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7 Ways to Engage Students in Reading

If engagement in reading is so important, how can teachers create more of it? According to Education Week, the teacher/student relationship is essential to student engagement. Teachers create engagement by listening to their students and making small gestures that add up to a big impact for students. Here are some additional strategies that apply to reading engagement.


Organize Your Classroom Library

A properly organized classroom library will help students take ownership of their reading. They can find reading materials they like, and teachers can engage more easily by directing student reading choices. Students can find books based on author, title, and subject area when the library is organized, depending on their reading goals. 


Utilize Free Choice Reading

Exploring different genres and allowing students to choose their reading material can significantly boost their interest and engagement in language arts or English classes. According to a survey published in Edutopia, giving students the freedom to select what they read can increase their motivation and success.


While there will be times when educators guide students to a particular reading material, teachers can also increase student engagement by allowing ample time for free choice reading. Free choice reading involves the student in their reading choices and journey. This, in turn, keeps them engaged because they feel like they have power over their choices in reading material.


Students are more likely to read when they can self-select what they want to read based on their interests. They will find pleasure in what they are reading, and studies have found that this leads to better engagement and overall success in school. This power also creates more involvement and motivation to read.


Cultivate Curiosity and Exploration in Reading

While free choice is important, some students get stuck in reading ruts. Teachers can help them break out by offering suggestions for exploring new genres and books. A strong teacher/student relationship will make these suggestions more appealing to the student. When you get students interested in new reading material, you may find that it creates engagement because of the interest created by the new books.


Encourage Healthy Competition Through Reading Challenges

Another way to motivate students to read is through competition. Reading competitions, especially if set up so all students can succeed regardless of reading ability and speed, make reluctant readers want to read. This, in turn, makes them engaged in the process.


One of the perks of a reading challenge is that it brings peers into the mix. Students who aren’t naturally motivated and engaged in reading on their own may become so when their peers encourage them to compete. If the class is working together to reach a reading goal and “beat” another class, they may become more engaged in the process as a whole.


Increase Reading Motivation Through a Rewards System

Motivation can easily be sparked through small incentives. Our research shows that reading challenges with two to six rewards garner 51% average reader participation, and readers in challenges with rewards log an average of 21 minutes daily. Once they hit a benchmark, something as simple as a sticker on a chart can pique kids’ curiosity. To inspire students, establish a method for them to earn those rewards through their reading efforts. This approach will generate additional motivation for reading, even among students who may not initially be inclined toward it.


Tap Into Technology

Integrating reading software tools in the classroom brings exciting new opportunities to enhance efficiency, personalization, and student motivation. In today’s tech-savvy world, students are naturally attracted to technology. Students can actively participate in their reading journey by utilizing technology that tracks reading progress, like Beanstack’s innovative platform. While some teachers may feel technology is too involved in education, the right technology can profoundly impact the development of a love for reading.


Incorporate Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning creates critical thinking skills. Instead of memorizing material and regurgitating it on a test, project-based instruction gets kids working toward a larger project and implementing various subject areas to reach it. Studies have found that this model of education greatly increases student engagement.


So, how would that relate to the reading classroom? Personalized reading challenges, often created through Beanstack, can be aligned with project-based learning. Adding curated reading lists or reading activities that cover the topic of the project and complement it will increase engagement across the board, including reading engagement. Students become more interested because the reading plays a role in the project.


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How Beanstack Encourages Student Reading Engagement

Beanstack offers a platform that motivates readers through gamification and reading challenges. Here are some of the key ways the tool can create engagement:


Encouraging Reading and Gamification Elements

Students are captivated by technology, finding it both enjoyable and engaging. This sparks motivation and enthusiasm in the classroom and fosters active learning, a valuable educational objective. Through innovative features such as the ISBN scanner and reading timer, students can track their reading progress independently. Incorporating gamification elements like earning badges, achieving milestones, and monitoring reading streaks drives increased reading motivation and heightened engagement. By nurturing intrinsic motivation rather than relying solely on external incentives, a lifelong passion for learning is cultivated.


Custom Reading Challenges and Competitions

Teachers and school administrators can create custom reading challenges unique to their specific goals with Beanstack. These challenges can ignite friendly and motivational competition between students in the classroom and school. Students become more aware of how much others are reading and stretch themselves, making significant progress in their reading journeys.


Positive Impact on Reading Achievement

Beanstack has been proven to have a significant positive influence on reading achievement for teachers and students alike. Students are motivated to continue reading to earn rewards and witness their class succeed in the challenge, leading to improved academic performance. Additionally, overall literacy levels see a noticeable increase as a result.


Intuitive and Flexible Platform

Streamline reading tracking, assignments, and competitions for educators, students, families, and school staff. The intuitive interface of Beanstack guarantees that teachers and students can effortlessly navigate the platform, boosting engagement while utilizing the app. Readers can easily log pages, minutes, books, or reading days. Whether in the classroom, at home, or on the go, entering reading data is a smooth process, removing the need for paper logs.


Transforms the Experience of Reading

Utilizing reading quizzes for comprehension can be beneficial but also creates stress for students, leading to demotivation and reduced reading enjoyment. No one likes to feel like a failure. By focusing on increasing reading time without the pressure of tests, we have observed enhanced comprehension and engagement, ultimately boosting overall reading skills. As students discover the pleasure of reading, they are motivated to persevere, pushing themselves to new heights.


Schedule a Demo Today

Discover the impact of student engagement in reading classrooms with Beanstack. Book a demo today to learn more to see Beanstack in action.

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