- "Explain why you chose the readings you did, as well as their purpose, value, and relevance to the course. Students see this as a sign of respect." This helps students see that the readings selected have a substantive connection to the material taught; you didn't just choose them so that the students would have something to read. It might also prime them a bit for the reading experiences to come.
- "Preview and promote the next reading assignment in class, and help students over the hump by letting them start reading key pieces in class." I've always tried to do the latter, giving students some hints as to what they might be reading for in what's assigned for the next class meeting. But I like the latter, too: If you've got a few minutes at the end of a class meeting that will go unused, why not encourage students to read? They've already set that time aside anyway, and they can't finish a reading they never start!
- "Stop lecturing the readings in class." Obvious enough, though this is probably the reason that even conscientious students often don't read.
- "Teach reading strategies." I.e., help students identify conclusions, teach them how to use marginalia, cue them into how the reading is structured. I couldn't agree with this more. It may seem a little embarrassing for students to admit they really don't know how to read the texts we assign, so it's up to instructors to take initiative and break the silence on this issue.
All in all, I find the tone of these articles refreshing: Getting students to read need not be all fire and brimstone, with lots of pop quizzes and other extrinsic motivators. Echoing my earlier thoughts on this subject, I tend to think that we have to sell students on the value of reading by connecting it to meaningful learning. In other words, get them to see reading's rewards rather than issuing threats.