Motivation Matters

Kelly Roberts Silva, Sacred Heart University

Prepared for EDR 692 Applied Reading and Language Arts Research. A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the coursework required for the post-masters' Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Literacy.


Research has shown a link between motivation and reading achievement among struggling adolescent readers. Numerous studies indicate that reading motivation and students’ self-efficacy declines extensively in adolescence. The purpose of the study was to consider the relationship between student motivation and engagement, and its connection to instructional classroom practices that use real-world reading connections to student experiences, choice of books and materials to read, direct instruction for reading strategies, and student and teacher collaboration. During the six week study, the Serravallo Engagement Inventory and the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessments were used to collect data from eight eighth grade students. Classroom strategies, including Save the Last Word for Me, Written Conversations, and Tweet the Text, provided the opportunity for peer collaboration and relevant links to current social media. Information gathered from student interest surveys enabled the teacher to create a classroom library of high interest reading materials. Therefore, having ample choice of reading materials contributed to longer sustained reading. Consequently, the implementation of student choice, peer collaboration, and relevant literacy tasks resulted in higher self-efficacy in adolescent readers as well as increased reading comprehension.