Do Books Make a Difference? The Effects of an Indigo Love of Reading Foundation Grant and Teacher Professional Learning on Motivation for Reading in a Middle School


  • Robin Bright University of Lethbridge
  • Michele Loman Holy Spirit Catholic School of Division



This study documents, over a three-year period, the effects of an Indigo Love of Reading Foundation grant and teacher professional learning in literacy on the motivation for reading in a large urban middle school. The school-wide focus on literacy included: 1) the development of a Literacy Exploratory, a 50-minute daily period set aside for teachers to help students develop as readers, choose books to read, and have time to be involved in a reading community, 2) ongoing teacher professional learning, and 3) a $125,000.00 Indigo Love of Reading Foundation grant. The grant was provided to support the school’s literacy initiatives through purchasing new books for the library and for the development of classroom libraries for every teacher. Using the Motivation for Reading Questionnaire (MRQ) (Wigfield and Guthrie, 1997), students’ favourable ratings of four aspects of intrinsic reading motivation – efficacy, importance, challenge, and social – increased significantly over the course of the study. Teachers’ perceptions indicate they have valued the school-wide focus on literacy, their principal’s support, and the professional learning opportunities that were offered; they pointed to the effect of the grant on helping them create and use classroom libraries in their instructional practice. Students, too, indicated that their motivation for reading has been positively influenced by the school’s focus on literacy, with the suggestion that teachers continue to offer greater choice in their reading material. The findings of this study do not contradict previous research that shows, overall, motivation for reading declines over the middle school years.

Author Biographies

Robin Bright, University of Lethbridge

Robin M. Bright is a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge. Robin’s passion for how children develop as reading and writers drew her to research, and later, after teaching for 10 years, to choose a life as a researcher, writer and teacher educator working with preservice teachers, practicing teachers, parents, children, and colleagues. Robin was recognized with the University of Lethbridge Distinguished Teaching Award, as the Board of Governors Teaching Chair, and knows that such recognition is only possible with the care and support of colleagues, students, and family. Specifically, Robin researches and teaches in the areas of Early Childhood/Elementary/Middle Education, Teacher Professional Development in Literacy, Writing, and Children’s and Young Adult Literature. She is the author of several books including, Write From the Start: Writers Workshop for the Primary Grades (2002), Write Through the Grades: Teaching Writing in the Secondary Grades (2007) Her work has appeared in the Journal of Reading Education, Canadian Children, The Canadian Journal of English Language Arts, Alberta English, The Writing Teacher, English Quarterly, and the Journal of Teacher Education.

Michele Loman, Holy Spirit Catholic School of Division

Michele Loman worked as a research assistant in the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, before graduating in 2017. She was awarded the Alberta Teacher’s Association William Aberhart Gold Medal in Education for her academic and teaching achievements. Michele is currently teaching middle school Language Arts for Holy Spirit Catholic School Division in Lethbridge, where she shares her passion for reading and promoting literacy with her students and colleagues.




How to Cite

Bright, R., & Loman, M. (2020). Do Books Make a Difference? The Effects of an Indigo Love of Reading Foundation Grant and Teacher Professional Learning on Motivation for Reading in a Middle School. Language and Literacy, 22(2), 18-42.