Families, motivation, and reading: pre-adolescent students and their reading motivation and family reading habits
Research indicates that reading motivation declines as elementary students grow older. This reading motivation is multi-faceted with a variety of influences. Additional research indicates that when families are involved with students' reading as well as with school activities, students can reap positive academic benefits. Involving families in reading, however, declines as students progress to the upper elementary and pre-adolescent years. There is a lack of research concerning family involvement in reading with pre-adolescent students, particularly in regard to the effect of family involvement on reading motivation.;The purpose of this study was to determine the reading motivation and family reading habits of sixth grade students at Prairie Elementary School (pseudonym) during the 2007--2008 school year. Throughout the school year, 36 families participated in a control group that completed the regular district independent reading curriculum. Additionally 34 families took part in an experimental group that completed the 15 independent reading homework assignments as family homework. A survey was utilized at the beginning and end of the study to measure students' reading motivation as well as family reading habits in both the control and experimental groups.;The results of the research study indicate that family involvement homework tasks do affect specific family reading habits of older students. Particularly, those students and families who took part in the family homework tasks reported an increase in mean response scores given for how often they read together. In contrast, students and families of the control group all reported a decrease in mean response scores from pretest to posttest for how often they read together. The study did not, however, find a difference in reading motivation for either the control or the experimental group of students.;Because change was noted in the family reading habits of those participating in the experimental group, the study indicates that family involvement tasks may continue to play a positive role for pre-adolescent students and their families. Knowledge of the role that family involvement tasks may play with students in this age group may help educators to better design family involvement opportunities at Prairie Elementary School and similar school districts.