Literary self-awareness for lifelong reading in young adults

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Healy, Barbara J.H.
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A reading interest survey focusing on habits, interests and opinions was administered to 225 children in grades four to eight. All children were students at an affluent elementary school in Kanata, Ontario, a suburb of Ottawa. This study differs from similar work in the field in that its subjects are Canadian children and the emphasis of the survey is on students' personal opinions, expressed in an open-ended questioning format rather than closed or scaled questions. Students were asked several open-ended questions regarding their opinions about books they read for pleasure in order to evaluate their literary self-awareness. It was found that many students were able to express their ideas about books effectively. In doing so, students expressed that the books they disliked most were required reading for school. These findings indicate a need for teachers to investigate their students' opinions in order to provide more compelling reading materials in their classrooms and promote lifelong reading. It was also found that, though a majority of students surveyed considered themselves to be readers, many of the self-identified nonreaders were not as reluctant as they first appeared. Most nonreaders were not adverse to the idea of reading for pleasure, but expressed an inability to find what they considered "good" books. This indicates an important opportunity for the educational community to help these students build positive reading experiences by showing them how to find consistently good reading material.
Books and reading , Middle school students , Reading (Middle school) , Kanata, Ontario