Creating Positive Reading Attitudes

With Book Choice, Book Recommendations, and Book Talks

Why is a positive reading attitude important?

Having a positive attitude about reading may increase motivation to read.

  • Developing students’ reading motivation may also support their reading proficiency (Guthrie et al., 2007).
  • When children are positively motivated and believe they can master a skill they are more likely to take part in tasks that necessitate the skill, persevere when they come across difficulties, and have a strong sense of their capability and success when it comes to reading (Metsala, Wigfield, & McCann, 1997)
  • The critical period of the elementary school years is where reading motivation and achievement are developed. A lack of motivation to read can develop as early as first grade and can have harmful effects on later reading ability (Putman & Walker 2010).

Book Clubs

Second Grade Book Talk

why does it work?

  • A key factor in fostering students’ reading motivation is providing students with opportunities for meaningful social interaction around books (Miller, 2015).
  • Students’ motivation to read increases when they are provided with opportunities to choose their books and discuss those books with peers (Moss and Hendershot, 2002).
  • Being given the opportunity to recommend books, having books recommended to them, and having their reading choices validated increases students’ motivation to read (Gambrell, 1996).

How did I do it?

I conducted an action research project which included the following components:

  • What: Motivation to read
  • Why: This study sought to rejuvenate students’ motivation to read, and for students who had not yet lost their motivation to read, this study sought to inspire them to hold on to that motivation and remind them that reading is meant for both academia and pleasure.
  • How: I brought the social aspects of reading into focus by allowing students to read any books of their choosing, to recommend the books they read to their peers, and to discuss those books with peers who have also read those books.
  • Who: Participants included nineteen 2nd-grade students in one class
  • Where: The study took place in a 2nd-3rd grade school in rural eastern North Carolina
  • When: The intervention occurred over a 6-week time frame (January 5, 2016-February 11, 2016).

What do the results show?

The data revealed that the intervention did not directly impact students' motivation to read, however the intervention affected students' attitudes about reading. Students' attitudes about reading were more positive at the conclusion of the intervention than they were prior to the intervention.
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Findings indicate that providing students with opportunities to choose what they read, and discuss their reading with their peers builds a positive community of readers with this group of participants. In this study, a positive community of readers included student-initiated book sharing, student-initiated discourse about books, and positive student attitudes about reading.

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What can you do?

You can implement all or some aspects of this intervention in your own classroom! Due to the fact that this action research was designed with the needs of this second grade class in mind, the results cannot be generalized to other settings. However the following are presented as possible changes to the study:

-increase the amount of time for the study

-begin the study earlier in the school year

-implement the intervention in more classrooms and across varying grade levels

Contact Faison Powers