Assessing Motivation to Read

The Motivation to Read Profile - Revised

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If They Won't Read, They Won't Learn

Students who are on task and engaged in what they are reading are more likely to share with peers, interact at appropriate times and be more on task. Research in the field has a strong tie between reading motivation and reading achievement. "Motivation can be described as a willingness to engage in an activity and a willingness to persist in the activity, even when it becomes difficult" (Urdan & Schoenfelder, 2006). This assessment was designed to assist teachers in understanding a students' perceived value of reading as well as their self-concept as a reader in order to make appropriate instructional decisions and groupings.

This assessment is an updated form of the Motivation to Read Profile a reading survey and conversational interview originally developed in the mid-1990's. This assessment is geared to students in grades 2-6 in upper primary to late elementary school. Updates to this survey assessment and interview portion included questions about student use of digital text while maintaining information on reading narratives and informational texts. An area at the base of the assessment allows the teacher to suggest adjustments to instruction that would be suitable for results of the survey as well as student interview.


This assessment was field tested in three schools, one in Virgina, one in Pennsylvania and one in South Carolina. There were a total of 118 third graders, 104 fourth graders, and 54 fifth graders, resulting in N = 281.

Teachers were given copies of the assessment and scoring guidelines. "Scores from the assessment were loaded into a spreadsheet and validity and reliability was conducted using Mplus statistical software" (Malloy, Marinak, Gambrel & Mazoni, 2014, p. 275).

"Reliability testing using Cronbach's (1951) alpha revealed an a = .87 for the full scale, an a = .85 for the value subscale, and an a = self-concept scale. A nonparametric analysis was used to determine a validity using a root mean of square error of approximation (RMSEA)." (Malloy, Marinak, Gambrel & Mazoni, 2014, p. 275).


The Mplus analysis system was used to run statistical analyses to show validity and reliability through survey responses through maintaining internal validity and maintaining threats.

Classwide data can be entered into a spreadsheet and item tabulation may be used to identify students who may benefit from classroom practices that value student interest levels in reading. Highlighting scores that are at a 2 or below would be beneficial in identifying students who are at risk of becoming aliterate.

This assessment may be used as a thermometer to gauge the temperature of students' with their values and self-concepts as readers in their room. Understanding a student's self-concept as a reader prepares the teacher to provide the support required for engaged readings (Malloy, Marinak, Gambrel & Mazoni, 2014, p. 279).

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How to Use in the Classroom

Assessing the individual and collective views of students regarding their value of reading and self-concept as readers is a classroom practice that supports effective teaching, group planning, and individual instruction (Malloy, Marinak, Gambrel & Mazoni, 2014, p. 281). Be sure to emphasize with students during the survey that there are no right or wrong answers, the purpose is for the teacher to know what motivates their students as readers.

Start By...

1) Reading Aloud the Survey Assessment to Students While they Take It.

  • If taking the entire survey as a class - allow 20-25 minutes.
  • If breaking into two parts, questions 1-10 and 11-20 - allow 15 minutes each session.

2.) Score student responses to note interest levels - use the scoring guideline above.

3.) Meet with students individually to ask them about their reading interests and preferences at home, school and if they prefer print texts or digital texts. This is the conversational interview document found below.

  • Allow 15-20 minutes per student interview. The self-concept as a reader and value of reading interview may be given at the same time or broken apart into separate times.

4.) Taper instruction in the classroom or small group to meet the needs of the students.

5.) Check back in midyear with the assessment again to see if student motivation has changed.

This assessment can be given at the beginning of the year and again at midyear to check for changes in the student. An effective educator integrates all available knowledge of the student and their interests in designing motivational lessons (Malloy, Marinak, Gambrel & Mazoni, 2014). By implementing this assessment, a teacher meets not only academic needs of the child but personal needs as well.

APA Citation

Malloy, J., Marinak, B., Gambrell, L., Mazzoni, S. (2013). Assessing motivation to read: The motivation to read profile-revised. The Reading Teacher, 67(4), 273-282.

Urdan, T., & Schoenfelder, E. (2006). Classroom effects on student motivation: Goal structures, social relationships, and competence beliefs. Journal of School Psychology, 44(5), 331-349. doi: