Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Learning

Committee Member

Jacquelynn A Malloy, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Linda B Gambrell

Committee Member

Barbara A Marinak

Committee Member

Phillip Wilder


This study explored the reading motivations of sixth grade students. Results from the Motivation to Read Profile- Fiction/NonFiction survey (MRP-F/NF) (Marinak et al., 2017; Malloy et al., 2017; Parsons et al., 2018) exposed a decline in sixth grade students' reading motivation in both fiction and nonfiction texts. An item analysis revealed survey items relating to students' desire to "tell friends about good books" and "talk about books in groups" were considered items of low motivation.

As a result of the noticeable decline in reading motivation for sixth graders and the difficulty in understanding this decline based on the survey results, three problem statements were established. First, gaps in research remain in regard to how students in the middle grades describe what would make reading more enjoyable for them. Furthermore, there are few instruments that specifically measure middle grade students' motivation to read and also focus on discussion. Finally, a gap in knowledge exists from a researcher, practitioner, and design perspective regarding how instructional models of book clubs can support peer-to-peer discussion of books.

To address these gaps in research, the researcher selected a multiphase mixed method design in order to explore, measure, and address the problem of low reading motivation for students in sixth grade. A multiphase design examines a central problem or topic of interest through several phases of qualitative and quantitative research that builds on data discovered in earlier phases (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011). Each phase then informs or guides the adjacent phases. For the purposes of this study, the researcher separated this study into three phases: Phase I - an exploratory qualitative phase; Phase II – a quantitative instrument design phase, and; Phase III - a design-based case study phase.

At the conclusion of this study a retrospective analysis revealed four theoretical assertions: (a) Choice is important; (b) Peer-to-peer collaboration is influential; (c) Time and value are related; and students' (d) Self-concept is complicated. Students' reading motivation is positively influenced by their ability to participate in an authentic reading experience where they are free to select texts that appeal to them; given time to collaborate in peer-to-peer discussion through a format of their choice with conversational topics that interest them; and can openly and honestly review and recommend texts to others. Based on the results of this study, these authentic experiences may have a positive influence middle grade students' motivation to read.



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