Seeking new perspectives on self-selected and teacher-assigned texts: exploring adolescent readers’ experiences
Threadkell, Jessica Erin
This study examined the differences between students’ perceptions of teacher-assigned and self-selected literature. Five students from the same grade 8 classroom participated in the study, which consisted of reading either an assigned or self-selected text and participating in semi-structured interviews. The interview transcripts were analyzed and coded according to categories designated by the researcher. Findings indicate that these students were more motivated to read when permitted to select their own texts. Students also seemed to gain a greater understanding of content when reading self-selected material. However, the study participants also spoke positively about certain teacher-assigned books, indicating that quality reading materials with high-interest content may take priority over choice. Recommendations for educators include sharing with students their motivations behind reading assignments, and ensuring that classroom libraries are well stocked with a wide selection of texts.