Reading Motivation In Upper Elementary Grades: What Fifth and Sixth Graders Say About Narrative and Informational Text

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership and School Counseling

First Advisor

David E. Lee

Advisor Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling


A causal-comparative, mixed method design is employed in this study of reading motivation in 5th and 6th grade students in one rural, east Texas school. Sixty-eight participants revealed no significant difference in the motivation to read from 5th to 6th grade as was hypothesized in this study, contradicting the works of Clark and Rumbold (2006), Jakobsons (2005), and Guthrie and Davis (2003). However, Pearson correlations did find statistically significant relationships between value of reading/motivation and self-concept/motivation. The significance of the problem of reading motivation can be found in the works of Hodges (2004), Edwards (2002), and Codling, et al. (1996). Additionally, Bickel and Howley (2000), Cunningham and Stanovich (Matthew effects in reading, 2001), and Howley, Howley, and Johnson (2002) discuss the relationship between motivation and achievement. In conversational interviews students named specific reading skills that they felt were important to being a good reader, along with their sources of reading materials, reading motivation, and what those people did to excite them about reading. Additionally, students named favorite narrative authors and favorite narrative and informational titles along with their reasons for selecting said titles. Ancillary findings included the autobiographies of several African-American figures. Recommendations for policy and practice include budgeting funds annually for the purchase of high quality reading materials in various mediums in order to make reading meaningful for students. Recommendations for future research suggest a larger sample size, replicating the study in alternate settings and with older students for consistency of results.