Link Roundup: Dyslexia and Motivation

Students with dyslexia often find it difficult to summon the motivation to complete tasks. To help bolster motivation, I have assembled links to articles that offer strategies and advice. I particularly like the following sections from Building Motivation in Students Who Have Dyslexia or Other Reading Difficulties –

What builds student motivation?motivating-struggling-students

There are three powerful motivations that drive students’ reading, both in and out of school:

  1. Interest
  2. Dedication
  3. Confidence

An interested student reads for enjoyment; a dedicated student reads for value; and a confident student reads out of belief in personal ability. Confidence is the motivation shown to affect student success more than the other motivations…

Ideally, students should be interested, dedicated, and confident. Students with dyslexia, however, often struggle to be confident, which can undermine their ability to be interested or dedicated.

This becomes a little like the “chicken before the egg” concept. A student needs to be confident to be successful, but he or she needs to be successful to build confidence. Success needs to occur in simple, daily reading tasks. Students with dyslexia or other reading disabilities often have unsuccessful reading experiences that lower their confidence and set them in a cycle of continued doubt and failure.

This cycle is more nefarious than it appears. Students with dyslexia struggle to read successfully, which can undermine their confidence. On top of that, they are often given reading materials that are below their intellectual level, which undermines their interest and ultimately their dedication.

This does not need to be their experience…Students who struggle benefit from small, quantifiable successes in reading. If students are given effective, research-based instruction in a way that empowers them with tools and strategies to help attain success, their confidence will build.

Students are also motivated by choice. Providing students’ choice in their learning and practice, in a way that supports their needs and ensures their success, will yield great dividends. Having choice in what they read based on their interests is also incredibly valuable.

Research-based instruction AND access to stimulating material that a student with dyslexia wants to read (and can read) are essential to helping them maintain their motivation to engage with reading. In addition to phonics-based instruction, teachers can use graphic novels, comic books, or materials that are both engaging and easy to read to ensure that their students with dyslexia stay engaged.

Check out the links below for more ideas on addressing dyslexia and motivation:

Effective Learning and Motivation – Ideas and Strategies for Independent Learning –

Dyslexia Help and Motivation –

The Dyslexic Mind: What Motivates It? – Jennifer Johnson

If you have any tips for motivating students with dyslexia, let us know in the comments!

  • Elizabeth Ross, M.A., SMARTS Media Manager