Social and cultural influences on children’s motivation for reading

Authored by: Scott G. Paris , Stuart McNaughton

The Routledge International Handbook of English, Language and Literacy Teaching

Print publication date:  February  2010
Online publication date:  February  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415469036
eBook ISBN: 9780203863091
Adobe ISBN: 9781135183141


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In schools around the world, the most important accomplishment in primary grades is the ability to read one’s native language, because it is the gateway for continued learning. Decoding print or characters into speech, however, is a minimal threshold that must be augmented with desire and interest in reading, thoughtful strategies, scaffolded instruction, and wide opportunities to read diverse materials if children are to become independent and self-regulated learners (Paris et al., 1991; Snow et al., 1998). Thus, students need to acquire and apply motivation to learn to read, to monitor and construct meaning from texts, to use reading instrumentally for various purposes, and to read for pleasure and enjoyment. In this chapter, we provide a summary of theoretical principles underlying motivated reading, consider some factors that enhance or inhibit children’s engaged reading, and use distinctive cultural examples to illustrate the concepts.

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