Utilizing Choice to Foster Motivation in Literacy

As a Wolfpack WORKS literacy coach, the work I do often focuses on helping Grades K-2 teachers increase their students’ reading and writing motivation, and foster their excitement for literacy learning. When you walk into an elementary school classroom, what’s the first thing that you notice? You may notice what the teachers are doing, what the students are doing, or maybe you notice the set-up of the classroom.

When I walk into a classroom, I notice the students first. I notice the students who are interacting with their peers; the students who are engaged in their learning; and the students who are bored, feel left out, or look confused. I then reflect on what may be causing these behaviors. Are they required to sit in their seat and complete worksheets? Are they reading with their peers? Are they engaged in word work? Are they not sure what to do?

In my role as a Wolfpack WORKS literacy coach, I often hear from teachers that they also notice these student behaviors.

These teachers, however, are sometimes not sure how to engage their students. The question I always ask my teachers is: if you could tell me one strength about each of your students, what would you say about each of them? My Wolfpack WORKS teachers tell me, for example,  that their students are athletes, artists, writers, readers, helpers, mathematicians, scientists, and good friends!

That’s when I introduce choice boards. Choice boards provide multiple options for students to choose their paths of learning based on their interests and skills. Being able to choose their learning activities often keeps students more engaged, intrigued, and excited about their learning. The choices match their interests and hone in on their creativity. Here are two examples of literacy choice boards that I created:

I have seen great success when we offer students choices in their literacy learning! I hope you will consider how and why student choice is so important.



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