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Reading Attitudes

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Student Reading Attitude and Interest Inventory
Candace L. Young
Grand Canyon University: 553
June 3, 2014

Students Reading Attitude and Interest Inventory The attitude that students have about reading has changed and involved with every generation. Even though being able to read and specifically being literate is necessary to success in today’s society, many students have negative attitudes in regards to reading. In addition to their negative attitude, today’s student also has a plethora of other activities available for them to do rather than pick up a good book. As we continue to grow as a society in our educational and work endeavors, students now more than ever, need to change their attitude in regards to reading. This paper outlines the trends and attitudes of fifteen ninth grade students in rural West Virginia.
Why Attitudes? The word attitude can be defined in a number of different ways and everyone has an attitude towards most things in their life, including reading. Alexander and Filler (1976) proposed a definition for read-specific attitudes. Their definition stated that a reading attitude is a system of feelings related to reading which causes the learner to approach or avoid a reading situation (Alexander & Filler, 1976; Verhoeven & Snow, 2001). It is important to understand the attitudes students have towards reading for two major reasons. One, attitude can affect the level of reading ability that a student eventually achieves. One’s attitude can have an influence on the amount of practice a student puts into reading as well as the effort they put into their practice. The other factor is how one’s attitude can effect if they choose to read or not. Even students we are fluent readers but have poor attitudes will choose to do something else rather than read if they have the option. This choice is now known as aliteracy (McKenna, Kear, Ellsworth, 1995).

Questionnaire Fifteen students were given a questionnaire that required them to decide to what degree the agreed with various statements regarding reading. Students could choose from strongly agree, agree, disagree, and strongly disagree.
Overall results The overall results of the questionnaire showed the majority of the students have a more negative attitude regarding reading than positive. While no students agreed they hated reading, many of them did disagree with the statement they read outside of school. While students do not necessarily hate reading, is appears that many do not do more than they have to. The statement I like to listen to stories read to me received a majority of agrees, however, the statement I like to read to others, was met with a majority of disagrees and even strongly disagrees. With those two statements, it can lead one to believe that the majority of students enjoy listening to stories but prefer to be the one not reading them. This could be caused by a lack of desire to read or perhaps the fear of reading aloud to others (Johnson, 2014). The results of the survey also showed that the girls had a more positive attitude toward readings than the boys. More of the girls agreed that they were a good reader and also agreed more to reading while not in school. This trend seems to fit with nationwide trends (McKenna, Kear, Ellsworth, 1995).
Open Ended Questions The second part of the survey allowed students to provide their own answer to a series statements regarding reading. These questions ranged from the students favorite types of books to why they find most important about reading. The first statement on the questionnaire asked students what types of books they enjoyed reading. Overall students reported three types of books they enjoyed; romance, science fiction, and “good ones”. This left the question that could and should be asked and answered, what are good books? Another interesting find from the surveys was how students responded to the question, “what is the most important thing about reading?” The overwhelming answer to this question was that it is important to be able to understand what you have read. This response is spot on with what teachers should be teaching across the curriculum which is literacy or understanding of what one reads. Another trend that was evident in the survey is what students chose to do in their free time. While responses varied from going outside, to hanging with friends, to sleeping, not one student responded with reading. For generations, children have had other options besides reading, but never have there been so many to choose from. These options could be the reason many students choose not to pick up a book. A study conducted in 2007 showed the average American only spends seven minutes of their daily reading for pleasure but spent two hours a day watching TV. This study also concluded that while students reading scores are increasing when they are 9 -11, the scores get worse with age. This trend could be the result of the attitude students acquire with age, the lack of encouragement from teachers and parents to read, or the options that older children have to do rather than read (CBS, 2007).
Classroom usage It is important for teachers to not only know the reading abilities of their students but also their attitudes towards reading. This information can be helpful for lesson planning as well as incorporating reading techniques and reading encouragement into daily lessons. In regards to the survey, the data that was collected could be used to help teachers assist with lesson planning. The general trend reflected in this survey was that while students thought it was important to understand what one reads, they also stated that the majority of reading they do is in school. Students also expressed that they do not like to read to others, but most agreed that they are good readers. Based on these few facts from the survey, teachers could develop lessons plans that helped students increase their literacy. There are numerous strategies that teachers can pull from to add literacy to lessons in all content areas. Since many of the students reported they only read in school, teachers could incorporate more at home reading assignments and encourage students to read other literature than what is assigned. Teachers can offer these as bonus point or projects that students can work on over the course of the year. Additionally, since many students reported they did not like to read aloud, teachers could encourage this type of reading and even require it. Students can read anything from the directions for a science problem, to a word problem, to a scene from Romeo and Juliet. This can help students with their confidence, their fluency, and comprehension. Like many skills, modeling is a great way to get students to read. Many schools have a DEAR program (drop everything and read) which gives students time to read for pleasure during school. This is a great time for teachers to read as well and encourage students to do the same. From a personal standpoint, I think I should implement some if not all that was mentioned above. While I teach Math, it is important that students practice their reading and literacy skills in all classes. These skills can be helpful in Math and other non- ELA classes and can help students be more successful. Students’ attitudes and the trends they following regarding reading will continue to change with each generation. In today’s society students have many other options they can choose from rather than a good book and many find it easier to just Netflix the movie. However, as educators it is important to try to understand and identify what keeps students from reading and what teachers can do to increase students’ amount of reading as well as their skill. Reading will always be the first portal to a new world; it is up to educators to help students find their way out.

References
Alexander, J. E., & Filler, R. C. (1976). Attitudes and reading. Newark, Del: International Reading Association.
CBS News (2007, November). Study: Americans reading a lot less. Retrieved June 4, 2014, from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/study-americans-reading-a-lot-less/

McKenna, M., Kear, D., & Ellsworth, R. (1995). Children's attitudes toward reading: A national survey. Reading Research Quarterly, 30(4), 934-956. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/748205?uid=2134&uid=380781521&uid=2&uid=70&uid=3&uid=380781511&uid=60&sid=21103826768311
Johnson, L. (2014). 10 Reasons nonreaders don't read — and how to change their minds. Retrieved June 4, 2014, from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/10-reasons-nonreaders-dont-read-mdash-and-how-change-their-minds
RIF (2014). Children who can read, but don't... Retrieved June 4, 2014, from http://www.rif.org/us/literacy-resources/articles/children-who-can-read-but-dont.htm
Verhoeven, L., & Snow, C. E. (2001). Literacy and motivation: Reading engagement in individuals and groups. Hoboken, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Overall summary of data collected. Number listed by statement was the one most reported.
1. I enjoy going to the library. 2-3
2. I hate reading. 3
3. Reading is boring and a waste of my time. 3
4. I think that I am a good reader.2
5. I like to listen to stories read to me. 2
6. I like to read to others. 3-4
7. I only read when the teacher makes me. 3
8. I read even when I am not in school. 3 (1 students answered with 1)
9. I am interested in reading books when I am alone. 2-3
10. Only nerds like to read. 4 For the next set of questions, students should provide an answer:
1. My favorite kinds of books are ________________. Romance/Science fiction/ “good ones”
2. The last book I read was _________________. Varied (however many was the Mocking Jay, which I found out was assigned in their English class)
3. My favorite thing to do in my free time is ___________________. Sports/outside/sleep
4. My favorite TV show is __________________. Varied (but all had one)
5. When I grow up, I want to be a __________________. Varied
6. If I had a million dollars, I would __________________. Get out of here
7. If you are reading something that does not make sense, what can you do to help you understand? Ask someone or Google it (says something about the generation)
8. What makes someone a good reader? Reading a lot/ reading quickly/ understanding what they read
9. What makes someone a good writer? Writing a lot/ imagination
10. What is the most important thing about reading? Understanding what you read

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