Indiana Reading Journal Volume 44 Issue 1 - Page 29


Often when asked about reading or reading interests, the boys would provide a summary of a text. Instead of sharing why they liked a book or making connections, they responded as one might on a reading assessment. They emphasized story elements such as names of characters and sequential happenings of the story, all on a literal level. The boys’ descriptions of reading neglected to include reader factors demonstrative of any aesthetic stance. The boys all admitted to starting books and not finishing them. Yet, they spoke with pride of the books they had begun and those that they carried or acquired.

The group demonstrated a basic understanding of reading and its relationship to the other language arts of speaking, listening, and writing. Oral language communication of speaking and listening is highly influential to becoming readers and writers (Duke & Carlisle, 2011). Additionally, the boys defined reading as a process of decoding words, reading with accuracy, and developing vocabulary. They used strong literacy components such as vocabulary, writing, and spelling when describing the importance of reading. With fewer than six years of formal public elementary education, the youngsters spoke with terminology acknowledged by reading experts.

The boys’ reading definitions were accurate; yet, most significant is perhaps what was not included. The boys lacked any interactive stance of reading comprehension when defining reading. When asked about reading, the boys nearly always responded that reading is fun and important, but never used terms that demonstrated any connections with what they were reading. They checked out books from the school library, stated popular titles, and sometimes summarized a book, but they never shared what they really liked about a book. The boys shared little or no aesthetic stance to reading (Rosenblatt, 1995).

Three Major Findings

The researcher included the results of the reading survey, the conversational interviews, and observations to interpret findings from the data analysis. Following Creswell’s (1998) spiral image contour, data collection led to data managing, a process simultaneously organized with data collection. Numerous readings of transcripts and memoing assisted in hearing the boys’ reading perceptions, while horizontalization of data separated meaning units from overlapping statements. Emerging patterns assisted in developing a coding scheme to meet the trends of the data. The coded responses were categorized and sorted according to research questions, themes, and trends. The analysis unveiled three major findings for further understanding what reading motivation means from the perspective of young male readers. Considerations are given in the following sections to the consistencies and inconsistencies with implications from the review of literature.

Competition is a motivational factor.

Although a questionable approach for regular classroom practice, one of three major findings in this qualitative study was the influence of competition as a motivational factor in reading. Three examples of competition emerged including measured success, measured outcomes, and acquisition of personal reading materials. The boys consistently referred to reading as scores and grades, which according to Pressley (1998) can have a negative effect on reading motivation. While Pressley encourages teachers to use choice, scaffolding, and social interaction, he discourages the use of grading and competition. Of the facets found to affect reading motivation, some can have a positive effect, while others have a negative effect. The boys measured their own reading success by reading outcomes through grades, test scores, and reading levels. While the success was a motivating factor in reading, the motivation did not carry over into other settings outside of school. The motivation was one to succeed at school rather than a desire to read.

A characteristic of a motivated reader, according to the participants of this study, can be determined somewhat by what he is reading and by the amount of reading materials that he owns and has in his possession. Although the acquisition of books was not found to be a prominent factor of reading motivation in the review of literature, it was a consistent with previous observations by the researcher. Although not directly related, there may be a connection to earlier publications.