Rosemary Curtis

Child Study
Paper 1
TE 301

Child Study Part 1
Background



Child’s Pseudonym: John
Age: 6
Grade: 1st
Setting for Child Study Session: School

Part 1: Development of Motivation
Motivation is key to a child’s learning and literacy development. Guthrie &
Wigfield (2000) defined motivation in regard to literacy as “the individual’s personal
goals, values, and beliefs with regard to the topics, processes, and outcomes of reading”
(p.405). Motivation is comprised of several factors, including competence motivation,
self-efficacy, Expectancy x Value Framework, Attribution Theory, and volition.
Competence motivation is based in every human’s desire to be competent at what
they are doing (White, 1959). Self-efficacy is the person’s belief in his/her ability to
competent at the task in front of him/her (Peltier, 2014). The Expectancy x Value
Framework is the balance between a student’s expectancy that he/she will be successful
at a task with how much the student values the task at hand. If a student expects that
he/she can be competent at the task and he/she values the task, then the student is more
likely to be motivated to finish the task at hand (Feather, 1982). Attribution Theory is
based on the idea that if a student attributes his/her success at a task to his/her own
efforts, then he/she is more likely to be motivated to put a significant amount of effort

into the task. Whereas, if a student attributes his/her success to external factors, then
he/she is less likely to put effort into the task (Seifert, 2004). Volition arrives at the tail
end of motivation, it is defined as “will, persistence, tenacity, continued self-efficacy”
(Peltier, 2014). So while motivation determines whether or not a student will take on a
task, volition affects whether the will see the task through (Corno, 1989).
Students can form a few different types of motivation. A student can be
intrinsically or extrinsically motivated. Students who are intrinsically motivated, are
motivated by curiosity, a desire to learn, personal interest, etc. Students who are
extrinsically motivated, are motivated by rewards such as grades, or gold stars (Peltier,
2014). A student can also be learning oriented or performance oriented. A student who is
learning oriented is focused on the process of learning, while a student who is
performance oriented is focused solely on the outcome of the activity (Dweck, 1989).
There are a variety of reasons why motivation is important to literacy. High
motivation means higher levels of engagement and higher levels of engagement are
related to higher reading and writing competences. Motivation and engagement can make
up for other risk factors such as a low income or a poor education (Guthrie & Wigfield,
2000). Students with high motivation will likely have high volition, which will help them
avoid giving up thereby improving their sense of self-efficacy. Students who struggle
with reading and writing are less motivated to read (Guthrie, Wigfield, Metsala, & Cox,
1999), so teachers can work to improve students reading and writing simply by helping
improve the students’ motivation to read.
The development of motivation is very fragile. The amount of motivation depends
on the situation, for example, a student may be more likely to want to read on a rainy day

when he/she can’t play outside. As people grow older, they become less motivated to
read and this decline is even steeper for people who are poor readers (Peltier, 2014). A
student’s motivation development is greatly affected by the teaching methods, parental
expectations, and peer support and exposure to reading (Peltier, 2014).
As teachers, ideally students will have high self-efficacy, internal attributions,
high volitions, intrinsic motivation and will be learning oriented.

Part 2: Assessing Motivation
It is extremely important for teachers to assess their students’ motivation. The
first reason to assess motivation is to know what type of motivation the students are
starting with in order to understand how to better help them and how to plan a lesson that
will be motivating for the students. Assessing students’ motivation helps teachers to
moderate their students’ motivation over time, to see if the teaching methods are
successful. Because motivation is situational, fragile, and decreases over time, it is
important to avoid the assumption that motivation is consistent. If a student is struggling
with reading or writing and therefore tries to avoid reading and writing, assessing the
student’s motivation can determine of the student’s competence is related to a lack of
motivation or a need for an IEP.
Motivation can be assessed through observation, interest inventories, reading
attitude surveys, reading journals, and open-ended questionnaires (Peltier, 2014). In my
child study sessions, I assessed my child’s motivation by observing in the classroom, two
interest inventories, and a reading attitude survey.
While observing in the classroom, the form used to take notes was provided by
the instructor and is not found in the textbook. I sat observing in the back of the

classroom for approximately 40 minutes, during which students were primarily
participating in a writing activity. The classroom teacher worked hard to create a positive
learning environment for the students, in which the students were provided opportunities
to share their work with the class but were not forced to share. My child study student
showed no signs of being displeased with the assignment or wanting to avoid completing
the task. This told me that the student is motivated to read and write.
The first interest inventory assessment I used with my child study student is titled
“Here’s How I Feel About Reading” (McKenna, & Stall, 2009, p. 213). I implemented
this assessment by first explaining the assessment’s purpose and then reading the prompts
and allowing the student to write his answers. After he finished writing, I prompted him
to tell me about his answer, ensuring that I knew his answer even if I couldn’t read his
writing and ensuring the validity of the assessment. My child study student, John, enjoys
reading about talking words, basketball, make believe topics, and most everything. He’s
unsure how his friends feel about reading, he enjoys reading fun books, and he doesn’t
like reading boring books. During his free time he likes to play video games, and he
considers reading at home to be boring. John’s strengths determined from this assessment
are that he enjoys reading when the topic is interesting to him, and he’s not concerned
about his friends’ opinions about reading. His primary weakness from this survey is that
he avoids reading at home.
The second interest inventory assessment I used with my child study student is
titled “Tell Me What You Like” (McKenna, & Stall, 2009, p. 214). I began this
assessment by explaining its purpose to John, reading the instructions, and explaining the
scoring system used to score the reading topics. He wrote the score, but I read each

reading topic aloud to him to ensure the validity of the assessment. My student ranked
sports and UFOs at the very top (A+). He gave horses and other countries a B,
drawing/painting a C. Spiders, love, and cooking received an F. The rest of the topics
received an A from John. John’s strength determined from this assessment is that he likes
to read about a variety of topics, which is key because according to the previous interest
inventory, as long as John finds a book topic interesting then he is open to reading the
book. His weaknesses are in the book topics that were rated lower than an A: horses,
other countries, drawing/painting, spiders, love, and cooking.
The last motivational assessment I administered to my student was the
Elementary Reading Attitude Survey (McKenna, & Stall, 2009, pp. 217-222), informally
known as the Garfield Assessment. I began this assessment by explaining its purpose, and
providing instructions for the survey. I again allowed John to circle his own answers
while I read off the question to ensure the validity of the assessment. For recreational
reading, John scored a 37, putting him in the 86th percentile, which means that he is more
motivated to read recreationally than 85% of other first graders. For academic reading, he
received a 31, putting him in the 53rd percentile. His overall reading motivational score
was a 68, which put him in the 72nd percentile, meaning that he his more motivated to
read in general than 71% of other first graders. John’s strengths determined from this
assessment are that John really enjoys reading for fun, particularly when he doesn’t have
anything better to do (i.e. when it’s raining outside) and he likes to read in school most of
the time. His weaknesses determined from this assessment are that he doesn’t enjoy
reading when he’s not interested in the topic or when he could be playing instead and he
does not enjoy reading class or reading tests.

Part 3: Motivation Lesson
Planning
I addressed motivation in my lesson through the concepts of challenging the
student and allowing the student to have control. I chose these concepts to focus on
because according to the assessment data, the primary motivator for my student is
interest. If John finds the topic or activity interesting and fun then he is open to the
activity, however if the activity is boring or uninteresting he will avoid the activity.
According to Turner & Paris (1995), the 6 C’s of motivation include challenge and
control (pp. 662-673). This activity challenged the student to listen to the words of the
story and not use the pictures right away to assist his understanding of the text. He also
had control over the outcome of his drawings as well as strategies that he used to
determine what he should draw.
Teaching
I began the lesson by introducing the book to the child and briefly explaining that
the book was about a boy playing outside with his brothers and he’s trying to convince
them that he has a dragon. While reading the book, I read each page without letting him
see the illustration. I paused after each page to let John draw what he thinks the dragon
looks like on that page. After he finished his drawing, I let him look at the illustration.
For a few of the pages, though not all because that would become tedious, I asked him to
compare and contrast his drawing with the illustration in the book and discuss what
hinted him to draw his drawing the way he did.
At first he was hesitant about the idea of drawing images from the book, he
hesitated at the beginning of the book and took a lot of time between when I finished

reading the page and when he would draw. For the second drawing, he was uncertain
what to draw and said he wanted to leave his drawing the same as his first drawing. I
prompted him by rereading a specific line from the page and he added wings to his
drawing. As we read the book, he started drawing quicker after hearing the page,
requested less help, and would even occasionally begin drawing before I had even
finished reading the page. Near the end, after seeing the illustration in the book, he would
adjust his drawing.
Reflecting
Overall the lesson went well. The main adjustment that I made was a result of
there being fewer adjectives for the dragon as I thought originally, so I adjusted the
lesson to allow John to draw more general images from the book. This worked well
because it also opened up the activity and allowed John to have more freedom in his
drawings. If I were to do this lesson again, I would pick a book with more adjectives in it,
or is more descriptive. This lesson was completed after an assessment that also required
reading a book, which helped me to learn that John doesn’t like the idea of reading two
books in a row. That perhaps it would go more smoothly if I were to read one long book
than two short books. He enjoyed being able to draw while I was reading the book to
him, he likes activities that allow him to be hands on, whether writing or drawing.

References
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