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Sixty-five 6-year-olds (first graders) from different sociocultural backgrounds and their mothers participated in a study examining children's motivation for reading in relation to parental beliefs and home literacy experiences. Each child completed an individually administered Motivations for Reading Scale that assessed several theoretical dimensions of reading motivation, including enjoyment/interest in reading, perceived competence as a reader, and sense of the value of reading. Parents were interviewed regarding their beliefs about reasons for reading, their beliefs about their child's interest in learning to read, and their ratings of the frequency of their child's experiences with printed materials. Results revealed that the beginning readers had generally positive views about reading and that no differences in motivation were associated with income level, ethnicity, or gender. Empirical support was provided for the distinctness of the dimensions of value, enjoyment, and perceived competence. Parental identification of pleasure as a reason for reading predicted children's motivation for reading, as did parents' reports that their child took an active interest in learning to read. Children's motivation for reading was not associated with frequency of storybook reading or library visits, but frequent use of basic skills books (ABC books) was negatively associated with motivation. The study demonstrated the importance of looking beyond quantitative indices of home literacy experiences in accounting for the development of motivation for reading; parents who believe that reading is pleasurable convey a perspective that is appropriated by their children, either directly through their words or indirectly through the nature of the literacy experiences they provide.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland, USA 2: Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2002

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