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Technology in the Classroom to Motivate Reluctant Readers

Janelle Cox

Motivating reluctant readers can be quite a challenge for teachers. Since reading is an essential skill that can affect a student’s performance in all subject areas, teachers work hard to find every way possible to turn their struggling readers into enthusiastic ones. One of the problems that teachers face is that you can’t force a child to read or have a passion for reading: It has to come from within them. That’s where technology in the classroom comes into the picture. In today’s classrooms, teachers are utilizing what their students love best, which is technology in the classroom. Technology has a way of keeping students motivated, as well as engaged in what they are learning. It also has the ability to turn reluctant readers into passionate readers. Here are a few suggestions on how to motivate your reluctant readers through the use of technology in the classroom.

Technology in the Classroom Audio Books

Audio books are a great form of technology that can help to motivate young readers to want to read. While the intention is to have students find a love for reading on their own, you can start by getting reluctant readers to enjoy books by simply listening to them. One of the main advantages of using audio books is that it allows students to hear themselves, which is a great benefit to help them learn to read better. As students follow along with the text, they are learning to read.

You may remember as a young student yourself, listening to a book on tape. I recall sitting in the back of the classroom with huge headphones on, listening to a tape recorder play a book. This was an exciting occasion that many of us looked forward to, because it offered us a fun new way to read.

In today’s classrooms, teachers can now offer students the same kind of excitement, but with an app called Audible. Audible allows students to listen to audio books on anything from a tablet or smartphone to their home computer. It’s a fun new way to keep students motivated to read, while increasing their reading fluency.

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Enriched Reading Apps

Apps such as Homer, Epic, Reading Frenzy, Endless Reader, and Audiobooks offer a variety of special features to help both reluctant and non-reluctant readers enjoy reading. Students can follow along as different characters from the book read to them. They can read to themselves or they can watch as the book virtually comes to life before their eyes. Some of these apps even make you feel like you are watching a movie, versus actually reading an electronic book.

Enhanced books offer students the chance to play interactive games while they read, click on words to hear how they are pronounced, or even test them to see how well they can comprehend what they are reading. These types of features help students get excited about reading. Once you have students excited about reading and they are no longer reluctant to read, then you have achieved your goal. 

Insert Learning Extension

Insert Learning is an extension that lets you turn what students are reading online into an interactive lesson. So when students are reluctant to read because of uninteresting text, all you have to do is add the extension and you can add sticky notes, ask questions, have live discussions, or even embed YouTube videos or other websites to make the text more interesting for students.

Use an E-reader or Tablet

Another great way to help motivate reluctant readers through the use of technology is to use an e-reader and/or tablet. An e-reader is a handheld device on which electric books or other content like magazines can be read. Popular e-readers that you may have heard of are the Nook or Amazon’s Kindle.

Tablets are another electronic way that students can read text. All you have to do is download apps onto your tablet to read the text. The simple change of reading though technology versus a tangible book makes reading more exciting, because it’s something different.

One of the great things about using an E-reader and a tablet is that it has special features. For example, if a student doesn’t know a word, all they have to do is click on it to get the definition. Or, if a student doesn’t understand or can’t comprehend what they are reading, there is a feature for that as well. There are also features to translate words, read them aloud for you, or even to test their knowledge of what students have just read. These features can help make reading less discouraging for reluctant readers, and more enjoyable.

With technology integration, reading is no longer boring or even a static experience. Technology can help to not only inspire reluctant readers, but make it dynamic so that it’s easily adaptable to student interest, and ability.

What technology in the classroom do you use to motivate reluctant readers in your classroom? Please share your thoughts and ideas about this topic in the comment section below we’d love to hear from you.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at

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