Success SignAs students work through Read Naturally stories, their progress monitoring graphs motivate them to put forth their best effort. From the beginning of the story to the end, motivation plays a key role. But this motivation shouldn't end with the story. How can you keep your students motivated to work through an entire level of stories, and the next level after that?

Our Educational Consultant, Karen Hunter, brought this question to her reading lab at Hale Elementary School in Minneapolis. Karen noticed that many students were only vaguely aware of their progress within a level. Often they didn't know the exact number of stories they had completed. But Karen found that when they did know, they were more motivated. “If I pass four more stories, I’ll move up a level!” is a more helpful mindset for a struggling reader than, “I have a bunch of stories left.”

So, Karen developed an easy way for her students to visually track their progress through a level. She designed a set of 24 labels for each level. Each label displays the title of a story in that level. Karen printed off a set of labels for each student to keep in his or her folder. She then instructed students to stick the corresponding label on the front of the folder each time they completed a story.

This system is working extremely well for the students at Hale. Students are motivated by the simple act of sticking a label on a folder after each story is completed. Visual proof of their progress through the level encourages them to continue working hard. Additionally, after a student completes 12 or 24 stories, Karen sends the student’s folder home with a special certificate. Sharing their progress with parents helps motivate the students even more.

Karen found that reluctant readers performed better with tangible proof of their progress and the ability to share it with parents. If you think this system might benefit your students too, feel free to use Karen’s resources, which are available as free downloads on the Read Naturally website. Click here to download the ready-made label sets for each level. The labels (1” X 2.63”) print onto standard-sized sheets of labels and will work with all Encore and Read Naturally Live content.

Do you have unique ways of motivating your students? We’d love to hear your ideas! Please share them in the comments section below.