Middle school students' reading experiences and behaviors and their relationship to reading achievement and self-efficacy: a study of one rural middle school in South Texas
Warren, Christie L
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This doctoral study examined the relationship between middle school students' reading experiences and behaviors, reader self-perceptions, and reading achievement. This study also explored whether or not the characteristics of middle school readers differ because of gender or ethnicity. Participants attended a rural middle school, grades six through eight, in a South Texas farming community. Over half of the students believed reading was important and read at least once or twice a week. A majority of students also preferred to read text messages, magazines, websites, and fiction. A higher percentage of females than males enjoyed reading, read because they believed it was fun, and read realistic teen fiction. More Caucasian students than Hispanic students enjoyed reading and believed reading was important. A majority of students, regardless of gender or ethnicity, held positive reader self-perceptions and attained the passing standard on the TAKS. Statistical analyses revealed that students with more positive reader self-perceptions scored higher on their TAKS, as did female and Caucasian students. Students who enjoyed reading and read more frequently also scored statistically significantly higher on their TAKS. Females ranked higher than males in their enjoyment of reading and belief that they read enough; males ranked higher in their belief that reading is boring and that they do not read well. On the average, Caucasian students ranked higher than Hispanic students in their enjoyment of reading, number of books in their homes, and the belief that reading is important. The more teachers know about their students' experiences and interests, the more they can "tailor-fit" their instruction and locate reading materials that will promote interest and achievement in reading. Teachers who know their students' reader self-perceptions can work to maintain and improve them by creating a learning environment conducive to student success, which will foster students' feelings of competency with reading and transfer to the literacy tasks of their content area classes, as well as their reading outside of school. In addition, the achievement gaps between the genders and between the two predominant ethnicities confirm the need for teachers to be responsive to their students' individual needs and interests as learners.
"A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction."