Indiana Reading Journal Volume 44 Issue 1 - Page 32

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and Creepy Tales, is a series of short stories. Other selections mentioned during the focus groups included nonfiction texts, newspapers, and magazines. Each of these readings is consistent with the reading preferences as cited in the study. Boys prefer reading comics and humorous books (Merisu-Storm, 2006; Ruttle, 2004; Wigfield & Asher, 1984), selections consistent to the findings of this study.

Classroom Implications

A challenge for many reading teachers is how to help students who are not interested. Motivation is not just about a student’s attitude, but it is also about a teacher’s instructional planning. "Learning normally depends not on effort but on the demonstrations, collaboration, engagement, and sensitivity..." (Smith, 2004, p. 302) He continues to say, "At best, motivation has the beneficial effect of putting learners into situations where demonstrations and collaboration are likely to be found." While even the most effective teaching methodology does not work for every child, a teacher’s best attempt is not in telling students to try harder, but in creating the best conditions possible in which students feel motivated to learn. In many cases, these conditions may be specific to boys or girls.Motivation is a “fundamental part of providing effective reading instruction and is among the most powerful determinants of students’ future reading achievement” (Cooter & Perkins, 2011, p. 564). Within each of the three major findings are encompassed several classroom implications unique to this study.

According to the first major finding, competition influences reading motivation. Measured success such as grades, reading levels, and test scores are motivating factors in reading; yet, they may take the focus from reading for enjoyment to reading for academic success. Since the outcomes and measured success of reading influences a reader’s motivation, reading is portrayed as an academic task. While competition may motivate a reader, the motivation is to achieve a goal rather than a motivation to read. By communicating with students more about their interests and responses to reading rather than reading levels and evaluative scores, teachers can shift the competitive attention from reading achievement to reading as a desirable experience. For example, teachers can dedicate small group instructional time to asking students questions about their interests and acknowledging what they are reading rather than how they are reading. In addition to measured success and reading outcomes, boys may define their reading success through the acquisition of reading materials.. Teachers can resist the urge to gauge a student’s reading motivation by the amount of books or pages completed. They may, in fact, be able to encourage a young reader by the books collected in his desk or toted in his backpack, as this too is part of the student’s identity as a reader. With recent movements to read complex texts, teachers may be tempted to discredit a student’s choice of reading material; however, educators may be able to encourage young readers by valuing the books they choose to acquire.

The second major finding recognizes the need for real connections when selecting reading materials. Reading materials will influence one’s reading motivation when they are familiar to the reader, are compatible to the reader’s language, and are of familiar topics of interest. Familiarity is unique to each reader and his purpose to read. One study can only provide results unique to that particular setting, participants, and methods. In order to generalize the findings of this study, one would neglect one of the major findings, which is to recognize the individual differences that influence one’s literacy engagement. Although reading materials such as World Wrestling Entertainment magazines may not engage all readers, not even all male readers, the results indicate that familiar interests and reading motivation are related. In the case of boys who are enthralled with wrestling entertainment, the topic of wrestling may motivate those readers. For others, the motivating topics will differ. It is the teacher’s responsibility to consider each student’s topics of interest, native language, and cultural background when selecting reading materials. Reluctant readers may only be reluctant when asked to engage with texts that are unfamiliar. Teachers can suggest titles in series for familiarity of characters and reading materials that are most authentic to the students’ lives. A teacher can begin with careful review of the books available in the classroom library.