Engagement and Motivation in Reading

Authored by: John T. Guthrie , Allan Wigfield

Handbook of Reading Research

Print publication date:  April  2000
Online publication date:  April  2014

Print ISBN: 9780805823981
eBook ISBN: 9781410605023
Adobe ISBN: 9781135688967


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Within a given school at a given time, some students are intent on reading and writing to understand. They focus on text meaning and avoid distractions. These engaged readers exchange ideas and interpretations of text with peers. Their devotion to reading spans across time, transfers to a variety of genre, and culminates in valued learning outcomes. In contrast, disengaged readers are inactive and inert. They tend to avoid reading and minimize effort. Rarely do they enjoy reading during free time or become absorbed in literature. In this chapter, we discuss work on engaged reading and its consequences, with a particular focus on how children’s motivation contributes to engagement. We also discuss how various instructional processes can facilitate reading engagement and motivation.

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