Providing instruction is important to get kids to read. Set them up to be successful. Provide background, guide reading with questions or activities, and provide assessment points along the way to ensure that students don't get too lost.
Missy gave you some great activities that may help. I think that you also have to spend some time up front discussing the vocabulary that they are going to encounter as they read. This is especially true with the science classes.
It begins with the passion of the teacher, of course; however, sometimes that's not enough. You've already gotten some effective techniques, and you will undoubtedly get more in this discussion. I'll simply suggest that a variety of activities which encapsulate all learning styles at some point is effective in gaining and maintaining reader interest. If you're reading Macbeth, design his family crest keeping in mind the qualities of both a soldier and a murdering king. If you're reading poetry, use lyrics and music to enhance your study. These kinds of meaningful activities, interspersed throughout the reading unit, will help the marginal readers stay interested. My caution is this: don't let the "fun stuff" overtake the necessary and meaningful. Enhance is the word, not substitute. Used effectively and appropriately, these can be important learning tools for reading.
Once students are in high school, consider using these activities:
- Use a trigger letter. It is a letter about an issue that the text will discuss. Jeff Wilhelm has done much research on the issue of reluctant readers and this is a strategy he has seen used effectively.
- Have students complete a Directed Reading Thinking Activity. (DRTA)
- Have students complete a Think-Aloud about what they are reading.
- Have students annotate the text while reading. (If they are school books, instead of writing in the book, they can use post-its.
- Have students do a jig-saw read. This means some students read one part, other students read another part, and so on. Then, when all students return together, everyone reports on what happened in their section.
Thank you Aunt Lori for your post... appreciate that.