Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Reading (Elementary) -- Iowa; Rewards and punishments in education; Motivation in education; Iowa; Academic theses;


In an age of increased accountability, even down to how well, and how much, students read independently, teachers are looking for ways to motivate students to read. One popular way schools and teachers have looked to increase motivation is with reading incentive programs. Despite this widespread enthusiasm for such programs there has not been solid, replicable research that has supported the continued use of incentive programs to increase students' future motivation to read. This study examined how a reading incentive program affected students' motivation and attitudes toward reading and the time they spent reading. Research was guided by the following questions: 1. Is there a relationship between a reading incentive programs and motivation to read independently? 2. Is there a relationship between a reading incentive program and student attitude toward reading?. 3. Is there a relationship between a reading incentive program and time spent reading independently? Participants included 27 sixth-grade students in suburban elementary school in a small Iowa city._ Participants were divided into a control group and an experimental group for the purposes of comparison. Students kept track of the amount of time they spent reading independently for two weeks prior to any incentives. They also completed the Motivation for Reading Questionnaire-Revised (Wigfield & Guthrie, 1997) to measure attitude about and motivation for reading. A four-week treatment period ensued with the experimental group earning rewards for reading certain amounts of time. Incentives were taken away and students again kept track of time spent reading, as well as again completing the Motivation for Reading Questionnaire (MRQ). Compiled data indicated that this reading incentive program did indeed cause students in the treatment group to read more independently, even after incentives were taken away.· However, there was little evidence to promote the idea that the incentive program increased motivation to read independently. Significant increases were found in only two sub-categories of the MRQ. Overall data indicated no significant changes for either the experimental or control groups. The information gathered in this study indicated that while a reading incentive program might cause an increase in the time spent reading independently, especially during the time of, and directly after, the incentives were in place, there was little evidence that it caused a great change in internal motivation and attitude.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Greg P. Stefanich


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Date Original


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