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Reading motivation is defined as “the motivational drive to read, an area of interest in the field of education,” (McRae, Guthrie, 2009); and the lack of motivation for reading has been a growing problem in the school system.  It is especially prevalent in elementary-aged students because this is when children learn to read.  Lack of motivation for reading is a problem that needs to be addressed because if it continues to grow, it will not only impact the child’s life, but also society as a whole.  

Lack of motivation for reading is a problem that needs to be addressed because if it continues to grow, it will not only impact the child’s life, but also society as a whole.  

Think back to when you were a child and stories were read to you, maybe before bed, or at school.  Perhaps there was a favorite story that you would ask your parents to read to you all the time, there is a good chance over time your parents didn’t need to look at the book anymore because they had read it out loud so many times.  This is because reading aloud helps us to remember easier, and some studies have begun to prove this, “MacLeod has named this phenomenon the “production effect.”

It means that producing written words – that’s to say, reading them out loud – improves our memory of them.” (Hardach) Colin MacLeod, a psychologist at the University of Waterloo in Canada, has done studies over a variety of age groups to show the impact reading aloud has on our memory.  In the studies, people were given a list of words and were told to read some aloud and some silently and then correctly identify them.  “When asked which ones they recognized, they were able to correctly identify 80% of the words they had read aloud, but only 60% of the silent ones.” (Hardach)  

Without reading motivation students are less inclined to read out loud whether it be at home or at school.  This would have an impact on their ability to remember facts that might be important to them.  Reading is also a part of our everyday lives, most people, especially children, or teenagers, text to communicate with their friends.  Yes, often there is not a lack of motivation to read a text from a friend.  However, if these children never learn how to read properly, they might not have the ability to read that text.

 If lack of reading motivation continues to become a problem in schools, our society will see a drastic change in the coming years.  The next generation of businessmen and businesswomen, teachers, doctors, etc. will not have the same abilities or opportunities that the previous generation had.

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September 24, 2021 5:39 pm

Hello Maria,
I love your insights into why not mustering up enough motivation to read can be harmful to the future. Reading is very important to me, and I used to be a very involved reader. I would read everyday for hours on end, but once I started highschool, I stopped. It seemed like no one else read for enjoyment so I adapted to do things my fellow peers did in order to fit in better.

September 24, 2021 5:39 pm

In today’s society, a lot of fo children no longer feel the need to read to entertain themselves. We have phones and other forms of entertainment, so reading is no longer as influential as it used to be. I’ve noticed a big change from when I used to read, to now where I don’t read nearly as much as I used to. Getting back into the swing of reading is a challenge, but a welcome one at that. The points you made in your writing about reading out loud are very true because high schoolers also don’t wanna read for fear of being made fun of when they’re slower at reading.

Thank you for writing!

September 24, 2021 5:37 pm

I like all the different perspectives you included in your piece and I agree that this is a big issue. I think that adding the paragraph asking readers to think back to their childhood and reading it causes them to think and they relate it to how it is today with children. I think that along with the promotion of electronics and games and the internet these kids battle with spending time reading instead of playing games, whereas when we were younger these devices aren’t as readily available and popular. I think this is only getting worse with new generations and needs to be addressed more and encouraged more and more by parents and school administration.

September 24, 2021 5:34 pm

Hi Maria, I agree that a lack reading motivation (in students especially) is an issue that needs to be addressed soon. In my experience, my parents encouraging me to read throughout my childhood has greatly improved my reading comprehension and other English skills. However, people who did not have this encouragement or motivation to read on their own might not do as well in English, which can affect their education as a whole.

Thanks for writing, and I hope to read more of your pieces in the future!

September 24, 2021 5:32 pm

This post reinstilled in me how integral reading is to the formation and sustainability of a healthy mind. I forget things often and I can confidently trace it back to me not activating my mind enough. Reading can be a catalyst of this.

April 12, 2021 7:08 am

Hey Maria. I agree with your post as a whole because I believe that it’s important that as a child, we get accustom to reading. I say this due to the fact that we take in the most information and create potential life long habits as children, so it would be extremely beneficial if certain influences around children (parents, teachers, etc.) would promote academic behaviors like being involved with reading books. Something that caught my eye was: “If lack of reading motivation continues to become a problem in schools, our society will see a drastic change in the coming years.” I think motivation in general is something that needs “momentum”. For example, after brushing your teeth and taking a shower, you’ve already got some momentum of productivity to start off the day, so you a feel a little good and decide to throw out the trash or clean your room, boom momentum! With that built up momentum you make the decision to read the book that you’ve been putting off, although minute as it seems, it’s productivity nonetheless that you continue with throughout the day. That being said, if teens or people who struggle with motivation in general learn how build that momentum, It could definitely apply academically to teens. Thanks for your writing. I hope you continue to bring more interesting topics that sometimes go unnoticed.

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