How Can The Motivation to Read Profile Help Teachers?

How Can The Motivation to Read Profile Help Teachers?

The Motivation to Read Profile is a tool to help teachers support and improve reading motivation for their students.

Literacy experts Sharon and Phil Callen have decades of experience in helping students improve reading motivation in the classroom, and supporting teachers to do this themselves.

According to Sharon and Phil, it’s understanding a student’s self-concept as a reader and the value they place on reading that will help teachers to adapt their strategies and resources, and make better decisions in the classroom.

This is where the Motivation to Read Profile (MRP) comes in. The MRP is a survey tool (available here) that allows teachers to collate information and gain insights on their young readers which in turn helps to design effective and engaging instruction.

Motivation to Read Profile Questions

Sharon explained on Episode 31 of The Teacher’s Tool Kit for Literacy that there are 20 questions in the survey, which are separated into different parts.

“So first part of the survey is self-concept as a reader, and there’s five questions. So what kind of a reader are you? What are the easiest things about reading? What’s hard about reading? What do you have to do to become a better reader? And how could teachers help you to become a better reader?” she said.

“So that’s now really valuing the personal response, and because it’s one-on-one you can really gather insightful, honest information because there’s no one else over hearing this.

“Then the second part is another eight questions about the value of reading. So what kinds of books do you like to read? Do you read different things at home than at school? What kinds of things other than books do you read at home? How do you find out about books you might like to read? What books do you want to read now? What could teachers do to make reading more enjoyable? Is it important to learn to read well? And what kinds of reading will you do when you’re in?”

Sharon further explained that there are also questions which target a student’s perception of their reading compared to their friends and peers.

“So do my friends think I am a very good reader, a good reader, an okay reader, or a poor reader? Do I read not as well as my friends, about the same as my friends or better than my friends? So this is about how I see myself as a reader compared to others, and this is asking about what level am I on?

“There’s questions about, do I tell friends about the good books I’ve read? Do I think libraries are really great place to spend time or a really boring place to spend time in? When my teacher asks me a question about what I’ve read, can I talk about it? When my teacher reads books aloud I think it is really great, great, boring, or really boring?”

Once teachers have conducted these surveys, Sharon and Phil emphasised the importance of collating all the information and making any changes in the classroom that will increase motivation.

“I would definitely want to collate the kinds of responses that I would get to particular questions. Sometimes I would just put a tally next to the children who gave this kind of response,” Sharon explained.

“But things like, what kinds of books do you like to read? That’s really important for me to know because that’s going to help me know what kinds of books I’m going to introduce to the class … and know the genres and areas that aren’t represented at all. So we might say, well, how’s that motivating? Well they may be staying with the same genres and topics because they don’t know what else to be reading.

“It shows the things that we can do, because if we’ve got a lot of responses about, ‘we don’t like libraries’, then there’s some work for us to do around that. Are we taking our students to the school library? Have we got a classroom library? Do we see the purpose and the importance and the value of a library?

“So all of those things give us both a child view and a class view of where we need to put some energies.”

The best part is this tool isn’t a one-size-fits-all. Sharon said it can be easily adapted and designed by teachers to suit the needs of the particular school or classroom.

“It’s been created in a way that you can adjust and you don’t have to be doing all of the questions that are in it. It’s really here as a starting point. And one of the schools that I worked with a number of years ago designed their own profile and survey and that’s really what this is about,” she said.

Sharon said teachers and faculty have the opportunity to make it a ‘whole school piece’ which engages multiple year levels.

“In the R – 6 school that we’re currently using this in, the reception teacher said ‘oh my goodness, I want my students to be able to do this survey as well, and I’m going to use our buddy class of Year 6’s to be the ones to ask the children the questions’,” Sharon said.

“So here is a way of making it a whole school piece in such a delightful way where the older students, who will also be doing their own survey, will be able to ask the five year olds.

“That’s really meaningful and purposeful. And the school collectively is making a commitment to this and really wants to find out some information that they have never found out before more to, without a doubt, better inform their teaching.”

How should teachers conduct the Motivation to Read Profile survey?

Sharon recommended a more ‘conversational interview’ and face-to-face discussion with each student.

“So the really the important thing around this Motivation to Read Profile is that it can give you such an expanded view of of each student, groups within the class and class-wide student needs with actually very little investment of time,” Sharon said.

“It’s not like the phone calls that come where they say ‘we will need 20 minutes of your time to complete the survey’. Five minutes is going to give you so much information, and it is good for it to be conversational. We can also get students to write it, but you’re going to gather so much more information by having the conversation with the student.”

When should teachers use the Motivation to Read Profile tool?

Sharon revealed that while it can be applied at any point in the year, teachers will gain the most value at the start of the school year.

“It’s a great beginning of year piece, but if you haven’t done it yet, well now is the best time to do that,” she said.

“When might you do it again? I might do it in six months time. I might do it at the end of the school year. For some children, I might want to do that more often to see whether I’m hitting the mark or not.”

Access the MRP survey via Teachific.

Read more about the MRP here.

Listen to more from Sharon and Phil on Episode 31 of The Teacher’s Tool Kit for Literacy below or subscribe on Apple PodcastsSpotify or Google Podcasts.

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