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Background
 Kiara
 6
 First Grade
 Hiawatha Elementary School

Part 1:Development of Motivation

Motivation in schooling is defined as, “the tendency to find academic activities

meaningful and worthwhile and to try to get the intended learning benefits from them.” (Brophy,

1998, p.12; White, 2015). It is important for a teacher to understand the importance of

motivation and how to implement motivational orientations through instructional strategies.

Research by Turner and Paris (1995) supports that the most reliable indicator of motivation for

literacy learning is not the type of reading program that districts follow, but the actual daily tasks

that teachers provide in their classrooms.

There are many factors that influence motivation depending on age and interests. As

students get older their attitude towards reading tends to worsen and it’s up to the teachers to

acknowledge these statistics and focus on motivation (McKenna & Stahl, 2009, p. 205). There is

also the belief that motivation is “fixed” and a student is either really motivated or not motivated

at all. This is not true, since motivation is situational. The situational outlook on motivation

means, “Any given person can be very motivated, not at all motivated, or somewhere in between

depending on the situation” (White, 2015). An example of this definition can come from reading

motivation, and what may motivate a student to read their favorite book outside of school may

not motivate them to read a chosen book inside of school. Motivating students is also equally

shared with the students themselves, and their effort and willingness to put into a given task.

There are two factors that are directly related to student motivation and that is “the belief that
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he/she will be successful” and “The value of the outcomes gained through successful completion

of the task” (Feather, 1982; White 2015).

There are different kinds of motivation within humans as they develop and learn. There

are also different motivational orientations that influence the effort put into a task and result in

different goals, known as the attribution theory. The attribution theory explains that either,

student motivation is influenced by students believing their own efforts influence their learning

and in result they put in more effort in their future tasks, or students believing that they fail due

to lack of ability and start to form a negative view on their future tasks and give up (White,

2015). Teachers must understand these concepts because they have a huge impact on student

motivation, especially literacy motivation inside and outside of school.

Part 2: Assessment

Literacy motivation specifically refers to the motivation to read and write (White, 2015).

Reading motivation is defined as, “the individual’s personal goals, values, and beliefs with

regard to the topics, processes, and outcomes of reading” (Guthrie and Wigfield, 2000, p. 405;

White, 2015). Understanding reading motivation is important when instructing students as well

as assessing their level of reading motivation. When teachers assess the reading motivation of

their students they can create meaningful activities and lessons that can engage students and

increase motivation to read and write. There is also a relation between engage reading and

reading achievement which can contribute to reading performance (Guthrie &Wigfield, 2000).

Reading assessments are crucial to literacy motivation because reading assessments are

based on a model. According to McKenna and Stahl (2009), “The model helps the reading

specialist recognize patterns in the data, determine the course of instruction, identify the child’s

strengths, and identify which aspects of reading knowledge are obstructing the child with reading
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problems” (p. 2). When using these models to assess motivation, there are many forms that can

be used in the classroom. These forms include: classroom observations, reading journals, open-

ended questionnaires, interest inventories, attitude surveys, etc. (McKenna & Stahl, 2009, p. 206-

207; White, 2015). Reading motivation is often developed by factors such as each reading

experience both positive and negative, beliefs about what will happen when opening a book, and

how those students hold in high regard view reading (McKenna & Stahl, 2009, p. 204). Teachers

need to be aware of their instructional strategies in order to fully influence reading motivation in

a positive and effective way. These strategies include: Being a reading role model, bring in other

adult role models, provide time for recreational reading, consider the kinds of incentives you

provide to students for reading, and consider literature circles or idea circles (McKenna & Stahl,

2009, p. 210-211; White, 2015).

In TE301, the class was given a number of assessments to complete with a student, and

the first session involved assessments to learn about the personal interests of the student. The

assessment included two different interest inventory surveys and an attitude survey that would

engage the student but also motivate them to talk about what they were interested in and how

they felt about certain topics. When first meeting Kiara, she was very eager to share her

thoughts on reading and her interests in books. I wanted to get a more detailed idea of what her

thoughts were on certain topics, genres, activities and overall attitude on reading so I used an

attitude survey, interest inventory list, and the Garfield assessment in the McKenna and Stahl

(2009) book to assess the reading motivation of Kiara.

First, I wanted to evaluate Kiara’s general views on reading inside and outside of school.

The attitude questionnaire, “Here’s How I Feel about Reading”, suggested that Kiara has

experience with reading outside of school and likes to read and learn. However she stated that
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the worst thing about reading was the hard parts that she couldn’t read on her own. She then

proceeded to explain that she liked to read outside of school but her parents mostly read to her so

when she had trouble reading on her own she usually asked her parents to read to her.

Next, I wanted to know Kiara’s interests on certain topics in order to bring in books for

future sessions that were both enjoyable and engaging. Knowledge of her interests could also

help me keep her motivated to read. Through the interest assessment, “Tell Me What You Like!”

I found that Kiara had many interests and she was clear on grading what she really liked with an

“A” and then grading what she really didn’t like with an “F.” The data was useful for showing

the specific topics that I would find books about and bring to our sessions. This data could also

give me the opportunity to find other books related to those topics and maybe expose Kiara to

different genres.

Lastly, I used the Garfield assessment, “Elementary Reading Attitude Survey”, to ask

Kiara questions involving her reading experience and then asked her to pick the Garfield that

best described her attitude about that question. Data from the assessment was scored by Kiara

choosing her attitude about the question as, very happy, kind of happy, just okay, and not happy.

Kiara’s answers on the Garfield assessment suggested that she viewed reading as something that

really excites her and makes her happy. The questionnaire also suggested that enjoys reading

outside of school with her parents, even though she might struggle on reading certain parts of

books. Overall her assessment when scored showed that her percentile rank for recreational

reading was higher than her academic reading but they were very close in scores. Her percentile

ranks were higher than 50, which show that she has a happier overall attitude towards reading in

both recreational and academic reading.


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Part 3: Lesson

In the first session I wanted to start addressing motivation by using instructional

strategies to build a relationship with her first and having her become more comfortable with me.

I shared some of my own experiences with reading and assured her that even though she

struggled reading at times, I also still have trouble reading certain books, and there is always

improvement in reading and writing. Using the instructional strategy of, being a good role model

yourself, (McKenna & Stahl, 2009) I was able to get more detailed input in her attitudes,

interests, and feelings towards reading. The strategy motivated Kiara to share her personal

thoughts whether they were positive or negative and in return I was able to evaluate her general

views on reading. Also knowing about Kiara’s interests areas arms a know-how that is needed to

recommend books that match existing enthusiasms (McKenna & Stahl, 2009). Another

instructional strategy I used was considering the kinds of incentives I provided to Kiara for

reading (McKenna & Stahl, 2009; White, 2015). After learning about what specific kinds of

books and topics Kiara liked, specifically animals, I told her I had many animal books that I

would share with her in our future sessions. I also did a read aloud with Kiara that involved

animals and humor and she really enjoyed the book. I told her that I could bring in another book

of that same series for our next session, which excited her.

When I administered the lesson I wanted to make sure we had time to become familiar

with each other and I did not want to rush on our assessments. I made sure to use open-ended

questions between each lesson to reflect on what Kiara had answered for the previous

assessment. I also wanted to emphasize that these assessments were not a test and that I just

wanted to get to know her and her interests. We first talked about activities outside of school that
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she liked to do, and then as we got farther through the assessments I focused more on what she

liked to do inside of school and how her activities related to her reading attitudes. At the end of

each assessment I addressed her attitudes that were both negative and positive to get a better

understanding of her strengths and weaknesses. Her response to my lesson and instructional

strategies were effective and positive. She appreciated that I shared my own attitudes toward

reading because as we get older there is a tendency to decrease in motivation and reading

attitudes worsen over time (McKenna & Stahl, 2009). This strategy was also useful because

motivation towards reading is affected by each and every reading experience, and how those we

hold in high regard feel about reading (McKenna & Stahl, 2009, p. 204). The negative attitudes

Kiara discussed with having trouble reading certain books or words, her response to my read

aloud and strategy to bring more books with topics she liked made her more engaged and

focused. She was very interested in the Garfield assessment by coloring in Garfield and using

different colored marker for answering the assessments. During our assessments and read aloud

she rarely was distracted by other students and teachers walking by, and was energetic when I

told her that I would be coming back with a book about animals for our next session.

Also during our read aloud she made multiple comments on each page and we took time to talk

about what was happening in the story, which made me think she enjoyed the book and story.

In conclusion, the first session was very meaningful and effective and I believe that Kiara

is a great student to work with. She was very forward and friendly when first meeting me and she

was open to discussing her attitudes and interests with me. Kiara was also excited when I told her

we would be learning a lot about reading and I would showing her new books. She also didn’t

show me any behaviors that indicated she didn’t want to do the activities or lessons and she was

able to make them fun for her by coloring with different markers. Even though she doesn’t read
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by herself a lot and mostly looks at the pictures in books, she reads with her parents outside of

school and finds books enjoyable. The only challenges I see in the future will be teaching her

about the structure and reading of words. My initial plan was to build a relationship with Kiara

and see if we could have conversations that didn’t involve a strict structure and I believe that was

very successful. Now that I have a general feel about her attitudes I think for my future lessons I

will construct more structured lessons to see if she is still able to stay motivated and engaged. I

also would like to include more instructional strategies that can build her confidence and ability

to read on her own. She showed motivation in reading and learning which is a great base to

developing reading comprehension. I was not sure what to expect with this first session and I

think the planning and the assessment taught me more about the importance of reading

comprehension. There are a lot of ways to approach the assessments but it wasn’t until after the

session that I got an understanding of how to instruct my student and effectively teach her

through the cognitive model. Since motivation encompasses all of the factors in the cognitive

model I think that will help the instruction and progress of Kiara’s reading comprehension.
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References

Brophy, J. (1998). Motivating students to learn. New York: McGraw-Hill. Powerpoint.

Guthrie, J.T., & Wigfield, A. (2000). Engagement and motivation in reading. In M.L. Kamil,

Mosenthal, P.D. Pearson, & R.Barr (Eds). Handbook of reading research: Volume III.

(pp.403-422). New York: Erlbaum.

McKenna, M. C., & Stahl, K. A. D. (2009). Assessment for reading instruction (2nd ed.) second

edition. New York: Guilford.

Turner, J., & Paris, S. G. (1995). How literacy tasks influence children’s motivation for literacy

(Article). Retrieved from online school website from:

https://d2l.msu.edu/d2l/le/content/145193/viewContent/1912675/View

White, K. (2015) Motivation (PowerPoint Slides). Retrieved from lecture notes online from:

https://d2l.msu.edu/d2l/le/content/145193/viewContent/1845302/View