Kids & Family Reading Report: 5th Edition

Scholastic (2015) Kids & Family Reading Report: 5th Edition. New York: NY.

This biannual survey explores the reading attitudes and experiences that most influence children's reading habits, including reading aloud at home, independent reading at school, presence of books in the home, and more. Findings from the 2014 survey show that just over 1,000 children ages 6 to 17, only 31 percent said they read a book for fun almost daily, down from 37 percent four years ago. The report asks what makes children frequent readers, creating two models for predicting children's reading frequency-one each among kids ages 6–11 and 12–17-constructed through a regression analysis of more than 130 data measures from the survey. Across both groups, three powerful predictors that children will be frequent readers include: (1) the child's reading enjoyment; (2) parents who are frequent readers; and (3) the child's belief that reading for fun is important.

How Well Are American Students Learning? With Sections on the Gender Gap in Reading, Effects of the Common Core, and Student Engagement

Loveless, T. The 2015 Brown Center Report on American Education How Well Are American Students Learning? With sections on the gender gap in reading, effects of the Common Core, and student engagement (March 2015) Washington, D.C. The Brown Center on Education Policy, The Brookings Institution.

Part I of the 2015 Brown Center Report on American Education: Girls score higher than boys on tests of reading ability. They have for a long time. This section of the Brown Center Report assesses where the gender gap stands today and examines trends over the past several decades. The analysis also extends beyond the U.S. and shows that boys’ reading achievement lags that of girls in every country in the world on international assessments. The international dimension — recognizing that U.S. is not alone in this phenomenon — serves as a catalyst to discuss why the gender gap exists and whether it extends into adulthood.

Can Readability Formulas Be Used to Successfully Gauge Difficulty of Reading Materials?

Begeny, J. C. and Greene, D. J. (2014), Can Readability Formulas Be Used to Successfully Gauge Difficulty of Reading Materials? Psychology in the Schools, 51: 198–215.

Teachers, parents and textbook companies use technical "readability" formulas to determine how difficult reading materials are and to set reading levels by age group. This study from North Carolina State University shows that the readability formulas are usually inaccurate and offer little insight into which age groups will be able to read and understand a text. In the study, 360 students (grades 2-5) read six written passages out loud. The researchers assessed the students’ performance, giving each student an "oral reading fluency" score, which is considered a good metric for measuring reading ability. The researchers then used eight different readability formulas to see which level each formula gave to the six written passages. Results varied widely, with one passage being rated from first grade to fifth grade level. The levels assigned by the readability formulas were then compared with researchers’ assessments of each student’s actual ability to read the material. Seven of the eight readability formulas were less than 49 percent accurate, with the worst formula scoring only 17 percent accuracy. The highest-rated formula was accurate 79 percent of the time.

The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children

Naidoo, Jamie C. The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children, adopted by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) on April 5, 2014.

This white paper explores the critical role libraries play in helping children make cross-cultural connections and develop skills necessary to function in a culturally pluralistic society. The paper calls for libraries to include diversity in programming and materials for children as an important piece in meeting the informational and recreational needs of their community. The white paper also includes a comprehensive list of diversity resources, online collection development resources, awards for culturally diverse children’s literature, multicultural children’s program resources and more.

The Joy and Power of Reading: A Summary of Research and Expert Opinion

Bridges, L. (2014) The Joy and Power of Reading: A Summary of Research and Expert Opinion. New York: Scholastic.

This summary of research and expert opinion highlights the importance of reading volume, stamina and independent reading and how that builds comprehension, background knowledge, vocabulary and fluency skills. The report also discusses the value of reader choice and variety in developing motivation and confidence; guided reading and interactive read alouds in schools; and reading aloud plus talk at home.

Print Books vs. E-books

Chiong, C., Ree, J., & Takeuchi, L. (2012). Print books vs. e-books. Joan Ganz Cooney Center.

This initial small-scale study explored parent–child interactions as they read print and digital books together. How do adults and children read e-books compared to print books? How might the nature of parent-child conversations differ across platforms? Which design features of e-books appear to support parent-child interaction? Do any features detract from these interactions?

Contexts for Engagement and Motivation in Reading

Guthrie, J.T. (2001). Contexts for engagement and motivation in reading. Reading Online, 4(8). International Reading Association: Washington DC.

Engaged reading is a merger of motivation and thoughtfulness. Engaged readers seek to understand; they enjoy learning and they believe in their reading abilities. They are mastery oriented, intrinsically motivated, and have self-efficacy. Teachers create contexts for engagement when they provide prominent knowledge goals, real-world connections to reading, meaningful choices about what, when, and how to read, and interesting texts that are familiar, vivid, important, and relevant.

Dimensions of Children's Motivation for Reading and Their Relations to Reading Activity and Reading Achievement

Baker, L., & Wigfield, A. (1999). Dimensions of children's motivation for reading and their relations to reading activity and reading achievement. Reading Research Quarterly, 34, 452-477.

This study was designed to assess dimensions of reading motivation and examine how these dimensions related to students' reading activity and achievement. A heterogeneous urban sample of fifth- and sixth-grade children completed the Motivation for Reading Questionnaire, designed to assess 11 possible dimensions of reading motivation, including self-efficacy, several types of intrinsic and extrinsic reading motives, social aspects of reading, and the desire to avoid reading. The students also completed several different measures of reading activity and reading achievement. The strength of the relations between reading motivation and reading achievement was greater for girls and for white students. Cluster analyses revealed seven distinct groupings of children based on their motivational profiles that were related to reading activity and, to a lesser extent, to reading achievement. The study demonstrates that reading motivation is multidimensional and should be regarded as such in research and in practice.

Changes in Elementary School Children's Achievement Goals for Reading and Writing: Results of a Longitudinal and an Intervention Study

Meece, J.L., & Miller, S.D. (1999). Changes in elementary school children's achievement goals for reading and writing: Results of a longitudinal and an intervention study. Scientific Studies of Reading, 3, 207-229.

An achievement goal framework was used to examine changes in students' motivation for reading and writing in the late elementary years and to evaluate a classroom intervention project. The longitudinal study involved 431 students in Grades 3 to 5. Results showed significant declines in task-mastery and performance goals within the school year and across grade levels. There were few sex differences in students' goals for reading and writing. The intervention project included 8 teachers and 187 students in Grade 3.
This study showed how various instructional modifications can influence students' achievement goals, perceived competence, and strategy use in reading and writing. As teachers provided more opportunities for students to complete challenging, collaborative, and multi-day assignments, students became less focused on performance goals, and low-achieving students reported less work avoidance. The educational implications of this research are discussed.

"Writing is thinking on paper. " — William Zinsser