27 SES 12 B, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
In the past decade, there has been much interest in children’s reading attainment and also their reading habits and attitudes towards reading. In 2002, the OECD drew attention to the fact that ‘being an enthusiastic reader’ and ‘ being a frequent reader’ were more significant in terms of advantage than ‘having well-educated parents’ and concluded that, ‘ finding ways to engage students in reading may be one of the most effective ways to leverage social change’. International data on children’s reading and factors associated with its acquisition indicate variations between different countries (Twist et al., 2007).
Children’s attitudes to reading are important since those who find reading enjoyable are likely to read more than those who do not enjoy the activity. These children thus have opportunities to practise reading skills more and as Guthrie and Wigfield (2000) note provide themselves with ‘self generated learning opportunities’. Children who are highly motivated to read are more likely to continue reading more and across a greater range of materials (Wigfield and Guthrie, 1997).
Despite such research there is evidence in some countries of a decline in book reading amongst young children (e.g.Broddason et al., 2010). Reading also ranks low in terms of popularity of out of school activities (e.g. Maynard et al., 2007). It is therefore important to analyse factors which contribute to children’s motivation and interest in reading.
Various factors influencing children’s attitudes towards reading have been identified. The importance of parents and children’s home environment is acknowledged (Clark and Foster, 2005). The frequency of books in children’s homes, the opportunities which children have to read outside school and the conversations which they hold about books are all important (Ozen, 2001). Socio-economic factors also influence children’s engagement with literature (Machin and McNally, 2006.) The 2006 PIRLS survey indicates that girls perform better than boys on reading attainment and research also indicates that there are notable differences between their attitudes to reading with higher percentages of girls reporting it as an enjoyable activity (e.g. Clark and Foster, 2005). Alongside these factors, schools also play influential roles in guiding children’s reading and in widening their experience of literature available (Guthrie, 2008, Eggertsdottir, 2009)
The above provides the context for the research reported in this paper which compares the reading experiences of children (aged 8-11 years) together with their beliefs and attitudes to literature with those of their classroom teachers from four European countries. The contrasting views of children and their class teachers of literature and classroom practices draws attention to the importance of conducting research to elicit the views of all engaged in learning encounters to support education and has important implications for learning and teaching .
Findings are derived from a recent research project funded by the European Commission on Learning and Teaching Literature in Europe, undertaken by the Universities of the West of England, Bristol (England ) , Akureyri ( Iceland) Murica ( Spain) and Gazi University, (Turkey).
Broddason, P., Olafsson, K. and Karlsdottir, S.M. (2010) The extension of youth. A long term perspective, in U. Carlsson, Children and youth in the digital media culture from a Nordic horizon. The International Clearing House on Children, Youth and Media, Nordicom, University of Gothenberg. Clark, C. and Foster, A. (2005). Children’s and Young People’s Reading Habits and Preferences: the Who, What, Why, Where and When. London, National Literacy Trust [online]. Available: http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/Research/readsurvey.html#Connects [23January 2012] Eggersdottir, R. (2009) Beginning literacy – An interactive approach in B. Culligan (ED) The changing landscapes of literacy – building best practice. Dublin, Reading Association of Ireland. Guthrie, J.T. (2008) ( ed) Engaging Adolescents in Reading. Thousand Oaks, CA;, Corwin Press. Guthrie, J. T. and Wigfield, A. (2000). ‘Engagement and motivation in reading.’ In: Kamil, M. L., Mosenthal, P. B., Pearson, P. D. and Barr, R. (Eds) Handbook of Reading Research: Volume III. Mahwah, NJ, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Machin, S., and McNally, S., (2006) Education and Child Poverty: A literature review. York, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Maynard, S., Mackay, S., Smyth, F. and Reynolds, K. (2007). Young People’s Reading in 2005: the Second Study of Young People’s Reading Habits. London:, Roehampton University. OECD ( 2002) Reading for change; Performance and engagement across countries. Results from PISA 2000. New York, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Ozen, F. (2010) Reading habits in Turkey. Ankara, Kultur Bakanligi Yayinlair Twist, L., Schagen,I. and Hodgson, C. (2007) Readers and reading; The national report for England 2006 ( PIRLS: Progress in international reading literacy study). Slough, England. Wigfield, A. and Guthrie, J.T. (1997). ‘Relations of children’s motivation for reading to the amount and breadth of their reading’, Journal of Educational Psychology, 89, 2, 420-432.
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