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
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.
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