Developing Engaged Readers in School and Home Communities

By Linda Baker; Peter Afflerbach et al. | Go to book overview

5
Children's Motivations
for Literacy Learning

Penny Oldfather* National Reading Research Center University of Georgia

Allan Wigfield National Reading Research Center University of Maryland

Researchers studying reading and writing increasingly are focusing on how children gain and sustain engagement in these activities; this topic is a major part of research efforts at the National Reading Research Center (NRRC). Researchers also are addressing more specific questions such as (a) What are the processes by which children become motivated readers and writers? and (b) How do different classroom cultures and contexts influence childrens literacy engagement?1

In this chapter we discuss recent work that begins to answer these questions. The chapter has two major purposes. First, we explore various understandings of the roots of literacy motivation, drawing from research on motivation and research on literacy. The research literature from these two areas is just beginning to converge. Researchers studying motivation propose and investigate what they consider to be the most important motivational constructs and look at how those constructs relate to different achievement behaviors. Yet most of their work has been on motivation in general rather than motivation for specific areas such as reading and writing. Literacy researchers study the processes by which children and adults become engaged in reading and writing, but they do not always fully tap the constructs available from research on motivation. We begin to bridge these gaps by discussing both sets of work, and we make

____________________
*
The authors of this chapter are listed alphabetically because they contributed equally to its writing.

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