Aranda (Jones) Bell


Education: Bachelor of Science in elementary education (December 2002)

McNair Project: Motivating Reluctant Readers (2000)

Mentor: Mary Kay Zabel, Ph.D.

Research Question: Does a planned motivationally designed environment, curriculum, and strategy approach, improve a reluctant reader's attitude towards reading?

In order for students to develop into mature, effective readers, they must possess not only the skill, but also the will to read (Anderson, Hiebert, Scott, & Wilkinson, 1985; Borkowski, Carr, Rellinger, & Pressley, 1990; Paris & Oka, 1986; Winograd & Greelee, 1986). Motivation is a critical piece of a child's cognitive and affective literacy development (Gambrell, 1996), and must be sparked both externally and internally. Eight students, grades third through fifth were the focus of this study. Motivation was infused into the curriculum, methodology, and classroom environment. Numerous intervention techniques, including 30 minute daily planned interactions between students and researcher, reading aloud specifically chosen books to the students, student involvement in engaged reading, employing hands-on activities related to the books, guiding the students through the process of goal-setting, encouraging students to read a variety of literature, and essentially communicating with the student about his/her progress on a regular basis were used to support an environment designed to promote motivation towards reading. Specific teaching techniques designed to communicate motivation and enthusiasm were used, utilizing music, art, and drama to make connections with the literature being read and to share it with others. At the beginning and end of the research, the students participated in an audiotaped conversational interview, and the Elementary Reading Attitude Survey (McKenna, Michael C. & Kear, Dennis J., 1990). Although students' scores stayed about the same on the attitude survey as at the beginning, student enthusiasm was high and a longer intervention time may show changes in scores.