Ways to get students to read

I was reading about ways to get students to read the assignments, even when they don’t usually read. The resource is not available, but it did have some good suggestions.

Direct student attention to the reading the class period before by saying something SPECIFIC about the upcoming reading, e.g., “When you’re reading chapter 7 this week, pay particular attention to the author’s explanation of X and think about how it compares to Y.” Statements of this nature are generally more effective than “Don’t forget to do the reading.”

Tell students you will be giving unannounced quizzes on the readings a number of times throughout the term—and do it. Vary the quiz times so that they won’t be predictable (i.e., go ahead and give a quiz two periods in a row!). Be sure the quizzes count at least a small percentage toward the final grade.

Give students short in-class tasks based on the readings to perform in small groups or in pairs at the beginning of the period. When lack of preparation hurts their classmates in addition to themselves, students often feel a stronger sense of responsibility to do the work.

Of course there’s also the
put it in syllabus
make sure your lectures build on the reading
make homework assignments useful.

But you know those already, don’t you?

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