Motivating the unmotivated: A self-study about engaging adolescent readers to read for joy before and during a pandemic

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Dickson, Leslie
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This self-study examines my teaching practice related to adolescent reading motivation and engagement to read for joy and pleasure. Many of my adolescent readers did not like to read and found very sophisticated strategies to avoid reading or perform fake reading during class. In this study, I explore questions related to how I have been changing and studying my teaching practice to foster a love of reading among my teenaged students, and how my teaching practice can create a community of readers. Over a two-year period, I shifted my practice and engaged in practitioner inquiry using the lenses outlined by Buckelew and Ewing (2000). This self-study explores my inquiry over those two years, beginning in September 2019, just prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and concluding in June 2021, while the pandemic was still ongoing. The findings of this study inform and create new thinking about how agency, self-efficacy, and relevance play a role in reading for joy. Findings are presented using the topics choice, relevance, and volume of reading material for independent reading; defining, and re-defining what, or who is a reader; developing students’ agency and self-efficacy; student stamina; re-discovering a lost love of reading; and contradictions in personal teaching beliefs and teaching practice. My findings will contribute to research in an urban Western Canadian context related to these topics.
Adolescent, Reading, Joy, Motivation, Engagement, Self-Efficacy, Agency, Self-Study, Relevance