The Motivation Breakthrough: 6 Secrets to Turning On the Tuned-Out Child

Any child can be motivated to learn.

“If he only would apply himself…”

“She can do it if she puts her mind to it.”

“He just doesn’t seem to care.”

“She’s just not trying.”

Motivation is the key to learning. But very few parents and teachers have an effective arsenal of techniques at their disposal. Enter educator and acclaimed author Rick Lavoie, who arms all those who deal with children with proven, effective tools and strategies they can use to encourage any child to learn and achieve success.

Lavoie’s practical, innovative approach begins with a quiz that helps a parent or teacher identify — using six different possible models — a child’s motivational style.

    • Is she motivated by power?
    • Does he need prestige?
    • Does praise mean a lot to this child?
    • Does contact with other people inspire this child?
    • Does he like to do projects?
    • Does she enjoy receiving prizes?

He then explores each motivational style in depth, presenting proven techniques, strategies, and scripts that can be used in the classroom and at home to break through a child’s apathy and discouragement and inspire him to succeed and achieve.

Along the way, Lavoie explodes some common myths about motivation: for instance, he demonstrates that rewards, punishment, and competition are not effective motivational tools. He gives specific advice throughout for parents and teachers of children with learning disabilities and provides detailed instructions for how to create a motivated classroom. He outlines the parent’s role, the teacher’s role, and suggests ways in which they can work together to encourage children to reach their potential. The book’s final chapter, “What Does Madison Avenue Know…That Maple Street Elementary School Doesn’t,” reveals what parents and teachers can learn from some of the most powerful motivators in our children’s world: advertisers.

With empathy and understanding, backed by decades of experience in the classroom, Rick Lavoie gives parents and teachers the key to unlock any child’s enthusiasm and responsiveness. The Motivation Breakthrough will revolutionize the way parents, teachers, and professionals reach out to and motivate all children.

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  1. Very basic information for teachers, but may have new information for parents. This is a book that is similar to the ones about learning style, personality types, and “love languages.” It follows the same pattern. It discusses the importance of finding out the strengths, likes and dislikes of kids, how they interact with other people and with the information they are given in school. It talks about what motivates different people, and how to tell what motivates certain children, so that you can use that to encourage compliance and participation. It is not written in highly technical language. So it is parent friendly. I had a tough time with the first 3 chapters. I didn’t think the author was ever going to stop talking about himself! Also, he had one example in the 1st three chapters that I found disturbing, and it hung over the rest of the reading. He goes on and on about how important it is to find what motivates adults and children to change. I mean on and on. Then he goes into an example of a teacher who would take recess away for a student. He has a talk with her. She doesn’t change. So he just writes in the special education plan that the teacher can’t take away recess for the student anymore. Now, I agree with the idea that taking away recess is ineffective. But, if he tried to find out what motivated the teacher, and tried to do something to bring about a change (thereby keeping her from doing it to another student) he obviously failed. So did he try other things that didn’t work? Or did he just not trust his own concepts enough to try them? It seems like that situation should have been used to back up his idea on how this whole concept works. Or just leave it out of the book. Because, as I read the rest of the book, I kept wondering if I could trust it to work if he didn’t (or if he did, he didn’t include how he tried it in this example.) Overall, the book has some good ways to find out what motivates a child, and then gives ideas on how to use that information to help the child reach their potential. The book contains a lot of snippets about teacher/student problems. Like the “I have to go to the bathroom” question. Then it gives this laundry list of ways teachers deal with it. Then, his solution is “just let my people go”. Serioulsy, that is how he ended the chapter. If a kid says they have to go to the bathroom, let them go whenever they ask. Uh, ok. But does he need to take 15 pages to say that? I gave the book 3 stars, because if you skip the author’s self indulgent chapters (1-3) and go straight to the ways to sort out the childs styles and cross read those in the chapters that give information on each type it is a good useable resource.

    Laura B. "Kindle Fan"
  2. Lavoie leads the field! Dr. Lavoie again shows keen insight into the plight of America’s learning disabled students. His opinions are often controversial, but always thought provoking. In this book, he addresses not only the needs of the learning diabled child, but also the professional educator and parent. He is not afraid to challenge us to re-evaluate our view of the role of teacher, and by challenging us, compells us to reassess what dynamic teaching is all about.I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who deals with a non-compliant student or child, and learn the difference between motivation and behavior modification. It’s definitely a must for all special education teachers!

    Dennis Bass "SpEd guy"

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