Encouraging Students to Be Literate

It is important for teachers to motivate students to develop literate lives both in the classroom and in society. For some children the desire and importance of literacy is not instilled within the home so teachers need to be prepared to handle this job on their own. In my opinion students need to understand the importance of being literate. They need to understand that reading, writing, listening and speaking are essential to functioning in society. Everyday our lives revolve around our literacy. It seems nearly impossible to live a functional and successful life as an illiterate individual.
If students do not understand the significance of literacy they may not aspire to become literate. In my classroom I stress the importance of literacy and try to make my students think about the future. Aside from stressing the importance of literacy, I also use strategies to help motivate my students to literate. Many of these strategies and ideas were discussed in our textbook and I feel they are beneficial in motivating students to become literate citizens. One way I motivate my students is through modeling. I try to modeling that literacy can be pleasurable and it does not have to be a painful and forced activity.
Students need to see that I enjoy reading and writing. I also model good reading and writing strategies. It only makes sense that the more my students see and hear me read the more they will want to try it themselves. I can model literacy through read-alouds and other activities. It is also important that students are given real-life experiences. I try to find real reasons for students to write. Sometimes students need to feel a significance to their reading and writing. Are they just constantly writing just to write or is there a purpose?

I ask myself that question frequently. I try to create writing assignments that are meaningful; Students can write thank you cards, Christmas cards and etc. I also feel that technology can be an important piece in motivating students. Some reluctant writers can type out their papers rather then write it out. For some students this is a huge motivator. Using the computer and not worrying about hand-writing can be exciting and relieving for some children. I have used this within my classroom and found it helpful for many students. It is also important to tress here that technology is large part of society today so students should be given the opportunity to express their abilities through technology. Last but not least, Id like to stress the importance to selecting activities that are meaningful, engaging and challenging. Too many times I hear and see students listening to a teacher explain something and then students complete endless worksheets. In my opinion this does not motivate and encourage students to become literate individuals. This tells students that literacy is boring in irrelevant. Teachers need to design lessons that have meaning to the students.
There needs to be some background knowledge and relationship to the student. Lessons should also be engaging and interactive. Students should be able to participate through discussions, think-pair-share, concept maps and other activities that promote thinking and learning. Activities should be challenging but not too challenging. They should require thinking but not too stressful. I like my students to feel success when doing activities. The feeling of success builds confidence. It just seems that when one is confident in their literacy abilities they will be more willing to practice and grow to become better.

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