Student Motivation to Read in Career Technical Education: Using Adolescent Development Theories to Examine Student Motivation to Read, a Case Study

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This study examines the factors that motivate students to read in career technical education (CTE). This study examines the various purposes students have to read and their previous experience and history with reading. The methodology of this study uses a qualitative case study approach. The data for this study was collected through focus group interviews, as well as one-on-one interviews. The interviews were analyzed using the theoretical framework, which consists of disciplinary literacy, motivational theories, and adolescent psychology theories. The findings of this study consisted of four major themes: purposes to read, writing to escape, previous experiences with reading, and characteristics of text. Purposes for reading include importance to the students' career, personal interest in the topic, reading to apply, relevancy to life, and reading to escape. Writing to escape explores students' use of writing to escape the pressures of everyday life, as well as expressions of creativity. Previous experience with reading examines the literacy culture that each case grew up with, as well as their evolving attitude towards reading. Text characteristics outline the various aspect of text that motivate the student to either read or not read.

This study also applies the theories of Ruthellen Josselson's theory of identity, Robert Kegan's theory of holding environments, Sigmond Freud's theory of mechanisms of defense, and Erik Erikson's eight stages of crisis. By examining each case through the lenses of these different theorists, other contributing factors to the motivation of the two cases to read become evident. This study concludes that there is more to students' motivation to read than is currently being researched and taken into account in classroom teaching practice. Implications of this study for further research include applying adult learning theories to literacy implementation practices in classrooms in order to increase student motivation and provide students with a compelling reason to read. This study also questions the approach that current literacy practices use to resolve literacy issues, suggesting a reactive approach versus a proactive approach.

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