Practices which contribute towards grade 6 learners’ reading motivation
Motivation is an important element in reading success. There is a concern that many learners are not choosing to read on their own and that independent reading opportunities during the school day appear to be diminishing. Research suggests that if children do not read on their own, they may lose some reading ability. The Department of Education conducts systemic evaluation tests to determine the literacy and numeracy levels of Grade 3 and Grade 6 learners in South Africa. These tests reveal that a high proportion of learners are scoring below the required level for the grade. There are a number of reasons why the learners are not performing at the required level for the grade but educators are determined to improve learners’ reading and comprehension skills. Many educators therefore ask, “How do I get my learners to read?” Not all learners are reluctant to read. Some learners do show an eagerness to read and write and they enjoy reading. These engaged readers are intrinsically motivated and value reading. In contrast, disengaged readers are inert and inactive and avoid reading. Often extrinsic measures such as punishment or rewards would coerce these learners to read. The aim of this study is to determine which teaching practices would motivate learners in a grade 6 class to read. Key theories which underpin this study are social constructivism, social learning theory and socio-cultural learning theory. Qualitative data and quantitative data were collected from interviews and questionnaires. The research tool which was used to measure the learners’ self concepts as readers and the value of reading is referred to as the Motivation to Read Profile (MRP). The MRP was devised by Gambrell, Palmer, Codling and Mazzoni (1996:520). Because the study followed an action research model, an intervention strategy was implemented which allowed the researcher to measure effects and to reflect on teaching practices and reading methodology.