Getting High School Students Interested in Reading

Motivating Students to Read

Seated young woman reading an oversized book.
Some Students Love to Read But Some Resist It.

Here are 5 ways to motivate high school students to become more interested in reading:

1. Find Books That Match the Teen’s Interests

Let your teen read what appeals to them.

Get students talking about what interests them and help them find books that match those interests. It might be romance novels, the Twilight vampire series, Star Wars, graphic novels or nonfiction books about sports or space.

Whatever it is, the main things is to help teens discover that reading can help them explore content that interests them and motivates them to read more.

2. Match Appropriate Level Books with Reading Skills

Some high school students don’t read because they are not strong readers.

They may say they don’t like to read instead of saying that reading is hard for them. Again, explore their interest with them and then find books that match those interests. Ask a librarian to help you find “high interest – low vocabulary books” that are specifically designed for struggling readers on topics of interest to them.

Another option is to locate audio books for the teens to listen to on topics of interest. Audio books are great ways to build content knowledge and expand vocabulary skills. They can even help English language learners expand their vocabulary and develop a sense of how the English language works.

3. Find Articles on Current Topics of a Controversial Nature then Read Aloud to Model What Proficient Reading Sounds Like

Look for short articles that talk about controversial topics such as “Are Driverless Cars Safe on our Highways?” This type of article can capitalize on topics that teens care about. A great source for finding such articles that students will find interesting is on the website

Read the articles aloud and model appropriate phrasing and pacing for your students while they follow along in their own copy of the text. Listing to proficient reading will help struggling readers understand what good reading sounds like. It will also help them realize that there is valuable information to be learned from the text. Be sure to engage students in meaningful conversations about the topics after listening to the article. Require them to search their copy of the text for “proof” to support their ideas and claims.

4. Leverage Student Interests to Create Oral Presentations

Ask students to identify their passions, special interests and areas of expertise.

Topics might be sports, famous people or celebrities, music, cars politics or anything else students are passionate about. Have each student come up with a key question that they would like to know about that topic.

Once they have their key question, have them use the library or online research to learn more about that topic. Once they have gathered more information, have them organize their findings into a 5 minute oral talk or presentation for the class.

5. Help Students Get Social with Their Reading

Consider creating a class blog where your students can write and post their own book reviews and read the book reviews of their peers.

Since kids like to spend time on social networking sites, capitalize on this love of peer gab by introducing your students to online book social networking sites.

Here are 4 excellent social networking websites to get high school students interested in reading and sharing their favorite books with friends and peers:

Book Sharing Site: Good Reads

  1. The first great site for sharing new “reads” with peers is Good Reads. At Good Reads, readers learn what their friends are reading and share their own book interests with their online peers. They also read reviews of popular books that other adolescent readers have shared, enjoyed, and recommended.

This information can help teens find other books that might also interest them. It also motivates students to find other books they can share on Good Reads.

The Shelfari Website

2. At, a sharing site created by Amazon, students create their own shelf of treasured books. They place books that they are currently reading as well as books they have finished reading on their personal shelf.

Users also write reviews and recommend books that they have enjoyed to other readers with similar interests. Since students are recommending books to their peers. Students can develop new friendships and share books they like with other teens.

The BookCrossing Community

3. Another useful networking site is: At this fun site, readers can “release their books into the wild” by leaving them where other readers can find them.  Books to be shared can be left in cafes, coffee shops, classrooms, parks, and any other place where people go.

Users track where the books go as others pick them up and take them with them. As people find a book, the reader who left it gets comments from the readers who have “found” their book. Books have even been known to make their way to foreign countries!  

Readers complete their book and pass it on to someone else when they have finished reading it. Book passing can take place either inside or outside of the BookCrossing community. 

Readers are amazed at the track their book takes as it is shared and re-shared again and again.  This fun site builds student interest in reading and networking with others. It will keep readers actively searching for more books to read and share with others!

The Book Mooch Website

4. Another book sharing site that students will love is  This site is a type of lending library. Students lend their own books by mail to a new reader who wants the book. Once they have loaned their book to someone else, they receive new books in in the mail from other members of the sharing group.

The only cost for participation is the postage to send the book on to the next person who requests the book that you have offered for forwarding. 

Sharing books through social networking activates interest in reading and motivates teens to share the books they have already read.

Teens can learn a lot from the books they read and they just might make a new friend with similar interests and tastes in books.

Who would have thought that reading could be so fun!

Girl reading a book at the beach under a beach umbrella.
Get Students Sharing What they Are Reading on Student Friendly Sites

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