Understanding reading motivation across different text types: Qualitative insights from children

Sarah McGeown*, Jane Bonsall, Valentina Andries, Danielle Howarth, Katherine Wilkinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Primary school children engage in a wide range of reading activities, yet we lack insights into why children choose to read different text types. Furthermore, recent studies of reading motivation have been dominated by quantitative research; however, qualitative research is necessary to ensure that children's voices are represented when we study their motivations to read. Methods: Thirty-three children (aged 9–11) from a single school in Scotland participated in individual interviews that focused on understanding their breadth of reading activities and why they chose to read different text types. Interviews were transcribed in full, and a data-driven inductive thematic analysis approach was used to ensure that the full complexity of the data was realised. Results: Children's reading motivation varied considerably across the different text types. For example, children read books to feel happy, relaxed, excited or to become immersed in the story. They also read books to develop their reading skills, because they felt reading was important, or because it was a habit or familiar. On the other hand, children read newspapers to stay informed, comics as they were fun and easy to read, interactive games as they could direct the narrative and audio books when they were tired. Overall, children reported a wide and diverse range of reading motivations, these being closely linked to the different text types they read. Conclusions: This study provides new insights into why children choose to read different text types and provides a strong foundation for further qualitative research aimed at gaining a detailed and comprehensive account of children's motivation for reading.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Research in Reading
Early online date23 Jul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • books
  • qualitative
  • reading motivation
  • text types
  • theory

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