Recently, I, the High School Reading Specialist, was involved in a workshop with our Library Media Specialist and some English teachers. We were discussing ways in which we can motivate high school students to become readers; thus the title, reasons to read. We came up with a decent list of ideas from a book club to an open mic night to share student written stories or poetry. We had some trouble trying to find authors that would consider visiting our students to perhaps encourage and motivate our students to both read and write. I was wondering, has anyone had any success in this area? Are there any recommendations on how to find authors (not costing an arm and a leg) or ideas to help get our students involved in a reading community?

Tags: author, incentives, motivation, read, reading, reasons, to, visits

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Certainly, you might want to consider the use of a blog to get feedback from an author. (See the famous example from Will Richardson's class: You could email some authors and see who might be willing to commit to commenting in advance.
Our elementary teachers had some success with this back in February in connection with "I Love to Read" month. A local author or two came in, but we also got the Lieutenant Governor of the province of Manitoba to come him. The L-G is a largely ceremonial job but is fairly profile here in Canada being the offical head of state for the province. I'm not sure if there's an American equivalent to that, but all kinds of prominent townspeople could probably be cajoled into coming in and reading. If your town has a pro sports team, could players come in? If your objective is to motivate, an NHL hockey player will probably motivate more people than a really good but obscure author.
We read a book several years ago and the author agreed to join our threaded discussion on Blackboard. It was fun!
Emi, I really think the question is what are we asking students to read. If the idea is to develop reading comprehension, the ability to read for learning, I really don't think it matters what students are reading. They should definitely enjoy the topic. Therefore you might have students select topics in which they are interested. They could then fill a mock role of authors and describe the book from the authors perspective. Of course, it's obviously not the real author.

If you want to engage a real author you might consider using Web 2.0 equipment such as Skype and communicating with the author from a distance.



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