Engaging Adolescent ReadersGreat Smokies Reading Council
Presented by Kenny McKee,
BCS High School Literacy Coach
Walk-Around Reading Survey
Fill in the first columns with your answers.
Talk to someone else in the room to see how your reading is alike and different.
Adolescents FIVE Overarching Needs Related to Reading Engagement
Competence and Autonomy
Young people live in the present and are rarely concerned about the future; as a result, they are generally not concerned with how schoolwork relates to an unclear future.
Classroom activities must have relevance to teens’ lives in the present for them to be motivated to read.
Ideas for Meeting Students’ Needs for Relevance Ask students about their interests and find ways to
integrate their interests into the curriculum.
Monitor engagement through formative assessment.
Use surveys to learn more about students.
Have students create products and presentations for their peers.
Develop inquiry units where students use research to answer a big idea…”Does age really matter?”
Link to background knowledge (Anticipation Guides)
Let’s hear what these high school seniors had to say!
Ideas for Meeting Students’ Needs for Choice
Whenever appropriate, provide mini-choices that empower students to increase their investment in learning:
•Select a text.
•Select a page to read.
•Select sentences to explain.
•Identify a goal for the lesson.
•Choose three of five questions to answer.
•Write questions for a partner exchange.
Self-Selected Reading Matters
In the effort to improve reading, motivating students to read more is ultimately more important that what they are reading.
Booktalks help students learn more about books and authors. They can entice them into “trying out” books.
Types of Booktalks
First-Person (Believe it or not, this is teenagers’ favorite!)
Web-based “commercials” that function much the same as traditional booktalks.
Teens need to feel like they can accomplish a task in order to even attempt it. Thus, goals must be perceived as achievable in order for teens to feel competent (Cleveland, 2011).
Teens also “seek to establish independence firmly”, so they feel comforted when they have the tools to complete tasks autonomously (Anderson, 2004).
Companion Texts are useful for introducing students to concepts in your content area or for practicing thinking strategies out loud.
Strategies for Building Competence and Autonomy
Shortened readings of difficult text.
Reading about a similar topic in a less complex text.
Reading with a partner
Literacy Groups (and a choice in roles)
Affirm students’ identities as readers.
Teach self-monitoring and other literacy strategies.
Use Learning Targets
“Transactional” Reading Strategies
“Readers who possess a set of strategies or processes use them as needed to construct meaning when texts are challenging” (Ogle & Lang, 2011).
“INSERT Note-taking and Discussion”1. Explain INSERT codes to students.
? = Questions, Confusing parts- = Disagreements! = Surprising ideas+ = Important ideas
2. Have students read and make annotations.3. Use the INSERT discussion form to have students
discuss their thoughts in small groups.4. As time progresses, you can invite students to create
their own annotation codes.
(Ogle & Lang, 2011)
Teens crave relationships.
Many teens (especially those living in poverty) need opportunities to test and clarify ideas with a small group of peers before presenting ideas to a whole class.
INSERT Note Discussion
1. Model the strategy. 2. Explain the procedure to students (Give suggested times to
stop reading like every two lines, every three paragraphs, etc. depending on difficulty of text.)
3. The partner’s job is to offer a response to what was said.4. Dependent readers often need help in making their Say
Something comments.5. Students first need to practice using Say Something on
very short texts.6. As with all strategies, modeling will need to be frequent.
“Dramatic Enactments” or “Instant Replays”1. Divide the text into sections that
students can “re-create.”2. Explain to students that they will be
“acting out” a segment of the text to show their understanding. Model.
3. Students will read the text with partners to decide how it will be acted out.
4. After acting it out, students must explain why how their “skit” relates to the content they read.
Media as a Way for Students to Make Connections
Media as a Way to Interact
Let’s Set Some Goals!