ADOLESCENT READING

PREFERENCES/INTEREST/CHOICES

IN VARIOUS GENRES

 

BY

CONNIE FRAZIER

 

FOR

 

ENGLISH ARTS FESTIVAL

 

JACKIE GLASGLOW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

PROSPECTUS:

 

 

     The adolescent reading preferences/interest/choices in various genres are an area that has mystifies me since I began teaching in 1996. Why do students ages 12 to 14 select the novels they do for independent reading? The research on this topic varies from the differences between males and females, to the different stages of reading development in comparison to their age and maturity. From the research and the use of my English classes of seventh and eighth graders, I would like to try to answer my question stated previously.

     First, before answering this question some terminology must be defined so that there is a universal understanding of the terms used in this multigenre paper. Genre means: the category of different pieces of literature. For example: historical fiction, realistic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, etc. Reading preferences means: “A reading preference is a stated or implied choice between several reading options.” (Lynch-Brown, Tomlinson, 1993, p.11). Reading interest means: A reading interest “… comes from within oneself, can encompass whatever can be imagined, and implies freedom of choice.” (Lynch-Brown, Tomlinson, 1993, p.12). Reading choice means: The selection of books that they may select to read independently.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

PROSPECTUS                                               1

PROLOGUE                                                 3

CAUGHT IN THE ACT                                        4

WHY                                                      5

A STUDENTS’ VIEW POINT                                   6

OWNERSHIP OF READING                                     7-8

SURVEY SAYS:                                             9-10

REPETEND GRAPHS                                         11-12

NOTESPAGE                                               13-16     

WORKS CITED                                             17-18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

 

PROLOGUE

 

Dear Reader:

 

     As a seventh and eighth grade language arts teacher the area in question is how and why do my students select the books they do for their independent reading assignment for my class? Will this influence them to be life long readers? Also do I have enough variety of genres and book titles in my personal library for them to select from?

     This multi-genre paper is generated from the perspective of my language arts classes of adolescents in relationship with their reading preferences/interest/choices they make for their independent reading selection. The genres used are first a collage to capture the students reading different reading material. Second, a poem derived from the research and teaching experiences of adolescent readers. Third, an interview with a student on his reading preferences/interest/choices and habits. Fourth, the experiment of allowing the students to take ownership of their reading selection for the last four weeks of school. Fifth the survey done on their reading preferences/interest/choices and compared to the research. Finally the repetend will be represented by a graph of their survey.

Enjoy!  Connie Frazier

                                             Caught in the Act                                                               4

 

 

5

 

WHY?

 

 

Why do some of us like to read?

Why are there those of us who do not like to read?

When does our thirst of reading begin?

When do we realize reading is important to our future success?

Why do we choose the reading material we do?

Do we consider the character, plot, point of view,

Setting, style, theme, and tone when we choose a book to read?

Or is it the title that grabs our attention, then the cover, and finally the short introduction on the back of book.

 

What stage of reading are adolescents in?

Are they in early middle, or late adolescents

Or are they in the fourth stage of where they relate to the story as if it were them in a certain situation?

 

Do we read only for pleasure?

Or do we read for information as well?

Why do we choose the reading material we do?

Why do we have the reading interest we have?

Why do we have the reading preferences we have?

Why do we have the reading choices we have?

Is it because of our gender female or male?

Is it for the laughter or the fear we seek?

Or is it finding clues and solving the mystery?

Or learning about history in a relaxing way?

Or is it having an adventure from a safe haven?

 

How many novels do we read?

Zero a year?

One a year?

Five a year?

Or even if we are lucky ten a year?

 

Why do we read?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

 

A STUDENTS’ VIEW POINT:

 

I = Interviewer

S = Interviewee

 

I. What types of books do you like to read?

S. Action, Mystery, Scary, Adventure

 

I. Why do you like those types of books?

S. Because they are interesting?

 

I. Why are they interesting?

S. They just are.

 

I. Tell me one thing about each of the book types you selected.

S. Action is never dull and is always doing something. Mystery

   makes me wonder and keeps me interested in the book. Scary

   stories are the same as mystery books. Adventure is want to do

   the same thing or parts of the book that I am reading.

 

I. How do you select the book you want to read?

S. First I look at the title, then the cover, then the back of

   the book.

 

I. Do you like to read?

S. Yes, when I don’t have anything else to do because it gives  

   my something to do.

 

I. How often to you read?

S. Three to four times a week for about a half hour. Also I

   usually have a book to read at all times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

     OWNERSHIP OF READING

 

 

     “Class we have exactly four weeks left of the year and since you did not seem to enjoy my selection of reading from the Literature Book I have decided to let you select what we read the next four weeks. First I want to count you off by twos.” After they counted off by twos I gave the following directions: “All the ones on this side of the room and all the twos on the other side of the room. Now you will each need a literature book, one person to be the assigned writer, and each of you will need to select the stories you want to read and tell the writer so that you can make a list of the stories you want to read.”

     The above conversation was done again with my other eighth grade class with the following results:

 

     Period 1/8 Group One Chooses:

     “A Fable”              

“Anne Frank” 

*“Stop the Sun”

     “From Something to Declare” 

“A Running Brook of Horror”

“This Land Is your Land”

*“The Ransom of Red Chief”

*“Fear”

“Auntie Misery”

“Peso Bill”

*“Flowers of Algernon”

“A Woman in the Snow”

 

Period 1/8 Group Two Chooses:

*“Flowers of Algernon”

“The Bet”

“The Great Rat Hunt”

*“Stop the Sun”

“Pandora’s Box”

*“The Ransom of Red Chief”

“The Moustache”

“The King of Mazy May”

“War Party”

*“Fear”

 

Amazing to me was that they had selected at least four of the same titles which have * by them.

 

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Period 2/9 Group One Chooses:

 

“Charles”

”The Running Brook of Horror”

*“Stop the Sun”

“A Mother in Manville”

“Icing on the Cake”

*“The Ransom of Red Chief”

“Pandora’s Box”

“Orpheus & Eurydice”

“The King of Mazy May”

“The Story of the Eyewitness”

“The Lady or the Tiger”

*“Flowers of Algernon”

“The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank”

“The Diary of Anne Frank”

“Still Me”

*“Fear”

“Peco’s Bill”

“One Million Volumes”

“Who’s on First”

“War Party”

“The Moustache”

 

Period 2/9 Group Two Chooses:

“Still Me”

“Orpheus and Eurydice”

“Aunty Misery”

“The Bet”

*“Flowers of Algernon”

“The Diary of Anne Frank”

“Raymond’s Run”

*“Stop the Sun”

“A Fable”

“A Running Brook of Horror”

“A Mother of Manville”

*“The Ransom of Red Chief”

     *“Fear”

 

Amazing to me was that they had selected at least four of the same titles which have * by them as the 1/8 period did. By giving them the choice to select what they read is giving them ownership.

 

 

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SURVEY SAYS:

 

Questions Asked:                  Answers in Bold

 

1.     Do you like to read?

22 yes and 2 no

2.     Why or Why not?

Yes---Imagine things, learn and develop relationships with characters, fun, opens worlds outside your life, break from reality, getting involved in book, cozy, exciting, something to do, characters, plots, escape form despised reality, mind off your troubles, experience stuff that can’t really happen, enjoyable to have experienced and lessons by what I hear in my head, I read because I’m not happy O can read a book and get away from my troubles. Mental ideas, entertaining, help me relax at night to fall asleep, nothing better to do.

 

No--- Projects too many, to much to read, and can’t get into the books.

 

3.     What genres do you like?

Fantasy 16, Realistic 14, Sci-Fi 11, Historical

Fiction 9, Mystery 7, Myth 5, Horror 4, Non-fiction 3, Adventure 2, Classics 1

4.     In one or two sentences tell why you like that particular genre?

ADVENTURE Can’t put it down

CLASSICS  Love life and description

          FANTASY   Like to be in this world.

 Not on earth Out of ordinary

 Use of imagination.    Entertainment

          HISTORICAL Learn about the past.

                                                   See what it was like years ago.

                    Imagine the past

                    Like what happens in the past.

          HORROR    Suspense, gore, and being scared.

          MYTH      Use imagination

          MYSTERY    Figuring out the clues and the suspense.

Enjoy the twist and list the surprise    

ending and twisted endings.

NONFICTION True story

 

 

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REALISTIC  Educational and entertaining

Relate to the characters, that it could     

happen and imagine solve in story.    

SCI-FI     Action, futuristic, not on earth,  entertainment, space, and radical different worlds.

5.     Which genres do you not like?

Non-fiction 12, Sci-fi 11, Historical Fiction 7,

Romance 6, Mystery 5, Classics 5, Fantasy 3,

Realistic 3, Comedy 1, Horror 1

 

6.     In one or two sentences tell why you do not like that particular genre?

CLASSICS    Too descriptive, not a good plot,
  overrated, and dull and the old English
       hard to follow.

          FANTASY     Can not relate to and to whimsical.

          HISTORICAL  Boring and to far back in time.

Plot is already familiar and not important.

          MYSTERY     Boring to the end. Not true to life.

NONFICTION  Boring

REALISTIC   Boring

ROMANCE     Sappy, mushy and not appealing.

SCI-FI      Can not get into the scenario and to out of the ordinary.

Doesn’t catch my attention.

Run on and on about nothing.

Boring and no plot.

To futuristic and complicated and boring information.

7.     How do you select a book?

By the title, the cover, summary, others

recommendation, thickness, award read the first page

 

8.     Why do you read?

Required, exposure to ideas, enjoy and relaxing, pleasure, nothing better to do, information and I mature with the different types of reading, assigned, fun, parents make me.

9.     How often do you read?

15 read everyday   4 whenever I have free time

 4 two to three times a week     

10.          Are you male or female?

8 Males 16 males

 

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READ

 

 

 

(GENRE SELECTION FOR YES)

GENRE

MALES

FEMALES

RESEARCH

ADVENTURE

1

1

Both Sexes
CLASSICS

0

1

 

FANTASY

7

9

Strong Female

HISTORICAL

3

5

Strong Female

HORROR

1

3

 

MYTH

3

2

 

MYSTERY

1

5

Both Sexes

NONFICTION

1

2

Strong Male

REALISTIC

4

10

 

ROMANCE

0

0

Strong Female

SCI-FI

7

4

Strong Male

 

 

 

READ

 

(GENRE SELECTION FOR NO)

GENRE

MALES

FEMALES

RESEARCH

ADVENTURE

0

0

 

CLASSICS

1

4

 

FANTASY

0

3

 

HISTORICAL

4

3

 

HORROR

1

1

 

MYTH

0

0

 

MYSTERY

2

3

 

NONFICTION

4

8

 

REALISTIC

2

1

 

ROMANCE

3

3

 

SCI-FI

2

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12

READ

(WHY DO YOU READ)

RESPONSES
MALE
FEMALE
RESEARCH
ENJOY

2

3

Yes

NOTHING BETTER TO DO

1

0

 

PARENTS

0

1

 

PLEASURE

2

2

Yes

RELAXING

1

0

Yes

REQUIRED

4

6

 

 

READ

(DO YOU LIKE TO READ)

 

 

MALES
FEMALES
RESEARCH
YES

8

13

Females are  more likely to read

NO

0

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13

 

 

NOTESPAGE

 

My inspiration for my topic of adolescent reading preferences/interest/choices was driven by students who often ask me to help them select a novel off of my book shelf which contain over 500 different titles. “Caught in the Act”, the collage was as the name infers catching my students independently reading a novel or a selection from their literature book. “Why?” was driven by the research where most of the questions asked and some of the responses were in the research done on the topic. As for the interview I thought that by asking a student select questions it would give me incite as well as a point in reference to compare to the research already done. The experiment was a last minute “light-bulb” idea when the story I had selected out of the literature book did not go over as well as I thought it would. So I broke the class into two groups and asked them to choose what they wanted to read. The surprising thing is that in both classes all four groups chose the same four stories. The last genre their survey was to get a better idea of their opinion and thoughts on reading.

     From the research done and the five genres the various things I learned were that females are more than likely to be the readers versus the male population. The reason for this

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difference was not founded in the research I did on this subject matter. However, in my class that I took the survey in there were two females who stated on their survey that they did not like to read. In one article titled “Reading Interests of Middle School Students and Reading Preference by Gender of Middle School Students in a Southeastern State”, it stated that “girls had a stronger interest for romance, adventure and historical fiction” (Higginbotham, 1999). From my survey done only the historical fiction held true to be a girl's strong interest. In the same above article mentioned it stated that males preferred sports and science but in my survey they had a strong preference in fantasy and sci-fi. In Lynch-Brown, and Tomlinson, book entitled Essentials of Children’s Literature, page 12, “Preferences of boys in the middle grades include action and adventure stories and sports stories. Preferences of girls in the middle grade include fantasy stories, animal stories, and stories about people.” The survey only agrees with those founded for girls in the Lynch-Brown and Tomlinson book.

     The “NEA Poll on Reading Habits of Adolescents”, cited that adolescents 42% of the students polled read for “fun and pleasure”, and that 35% of those students poll read for “facts and information”. Also in that poll they found that, “when it

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comes to specific reading interest, young people’s preference reflect a rich and diverse set of topics.” (Peter D. Hart Research Associates, February,2001). Bernice E. Cullinan put this in perspective with the statement in her book Children’s Literature in the Reading Program, page 98, “A story that evokes laughter, wonder, sadness, curiosity, or fear invites a reader to have a genuine interaction with character and the events in their lives.”

     Finally the last thing I learned was that adolescents have different ages and stages in development in their reading. For example G. Robert Carlsen, has three stages of development for the adolescent child which are the early, middle, and late. Carlsen’s age bracket for each is that the early adolescent are ages 11-14, the middle adolescent age bracket is 15-16, and finally the late age bracket are the juniors and seniors in high school. “In middle adolescence Carlsen suggest that for both boys and girls ‘Literature becomes a way of seeing themselves and testing possible solutions to their own problems (Carlsen 1980, 40)” (Bloomingame, Goodson, 1999). Alleen Pace Nielsen and Kenneth L Donelson came up with the idea of six stages of development which range from birth to college.  They stated in their theory that: “It is during the fourth stage, junior high and high school, that readers enjoy finding themselves in a

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story; finding their friends, enemies and other people of interest; and checking out the “facts” presented in realistic, problem novels.”  (Bloomingame, Goodson, 1999).

     To come full circle with the question proposed from the beginning of this multigenre paper: Why do students ages 12 to 14 select the novels they do for independent reading? My answer to this question would be that there is no set answer. That there are varying things to be considered such as the developmental stage of their literacy, whether they are male or female, and that each individual will have a different preference, interest, and make varying choices of what they will read independently.

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WORKS CITED

 

 

Beers, Kylene and Samuels, Barbara G. (1998). IntoFocus:

Understanding and Creating Middle School Readers.

Massachusetts: Christopher-Gordon Publishers, Inc.

 

Blasingame, James. and Goodson, Lori A. “A Portrait of

Popularity; Analysis of Characteristics of Novels From

Young Adults’ Choices for 1997”. The Alan Review. Digital

Library and Archives. http://www.scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournal/ALAN/fall1194/ chance.html

 

Criscoe, Betty L. and Gee, Thomas C. (1984). Content Reading:

     A Diagnostic/Prescriptive Approach. New Jersey: Prentice-

Hall Inc.

 

Cullinan, Bernice. (1987). Children’s Literature in the Reading

Program. Delaware: International Reading Association.

 

Farnan, Nancy. (1997). “The Aesthetic Role of Literature in the

Middle School Curriculum”. Middle School Journal.

Http://erice.net/ericdc/EJ615384.

 

Higginbotham, Shelly.(1999). “Reading Interests of Middle School

Students and Reading Preferences by Gender of Middle School Students in the Southeastern States”. ERIC:ED429279

 

Lynch-Brown, Carol. and Tomlinson, Carl M. (1993).  Essentials of

Children’s Literature. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 

 

Parent Resources”. Lockwood Schools Parent Resources. http://www.lockwood.k12.mt.us/parentres/parhome.htm.

 

 

Peter D. Hart Research Associates. (February, 2001). “Reading

Matters National Education Association (NEA) Poll on the

Reading Habits of Adolescents”.

http://www.nea.org/readingmatters/readpoll.html>NEA.

 

 

Robb, Laura. (2000). Teaching Reading in Middle School.

     New York: Scholastic Professional Books.

 

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Schulthesis, Constance. (October 1990). “A Study of the

Relationship Between Gender and Reading Preferences in

Adolescents. ERIC: ED367376.

 

 

          Supporting Young Adolescents’ Literacy Learning:

A Joint Position paper of the International Reading

Association and National Middle School Association”. 1996-2003 International Reading Association.

http://www.reading.org/postitions/supporting_young_adolesc.html.

 

Trelease, Jim. (1989). The New Read-Aloud Handbook. New York:

Penguin Books.

 

Vacca, Richard T. and Vacca, JoAnne L. (1986). Content Area

Reading Second Edition. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.