Would you dump a load of building supplies on a lot and tell a random person to "build a house"? Hopefully not!
For the same reason, it is unwise to deposit an academic novel and some study guide questions on a student’s desk and say, “read it.” Student readers, like builders, need a foundation and a blueprint to be successful.
Getting students to read academic novels can be difficult. Students usually lack interest in “school” books for three reasons:
1. they lack prior knowledge to support their comprehension,
2. they don’t know the words on the page and
3. they don’t understand the format of the particular genre.
If we are going to really teach, and not just assign, we have to do some prep work. Teaching students about the novel’s topical concepts, about unfamiliar vocabulary, and the genre of an academic text will pique more interest in that text.
Read: Reading Lessons: 12 Ways to Scaffold Texts for Students