The Effects of Choice on Reading Engagement and Comprehension for Second- and Third-Grade Students: An Action Research Report
Keywords:literacy, literacy acquisition, reading, reading comprehension, choice, silent reading, aloud reading, Montessori
Poor literacy rates contribute to low school performance for children across America. In particular, low-income schools continue to struggle with declining literacy rates. Issues with literacy are often attributed to lack of reading comprehension. This study tested the effects of choice on reading comprehension in second- and third-grade students at a high-income school and a low-income school. Students were observed while reading silently and aloud to see if either method affected reading comprehension. Data were collected from 32 students before, during, and after reading to determine whether students’ comprehension levels were higher when given opportunities to choose their own books or when they read assigned books. Trials were performed while students read silently and then aloud. Results indicated that students had higher comprehension levels both when they could choose their own books and when they read silently.
Barnett, W. (1995). Long-term effects of early childhood programs on cognitive and school outcomes. The Future of Children, 5(3), 25–50. https://doi.org/10.2307/1602366
Burns, S. M., Griffin, P., & Snow, C. E. (Eds.). (1999). Starting out right: A guide to promoting children’s reading success. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Campbell, J. R., & Donahue, P. L. (1997). Students selecting stories: The effects of choice in reading assessment. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, NCES 97-491. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pdf/main1994/97491.pdf
Chow, P.-H., & Chou, C.-T. (2000). Evaluating sustained silent reading in reading classes. The Internet TESL Journal, 6(11). Retrieved from http://iteslj.org/Articles/Chow-SSR.html
Dearing, E., Kreider, H., Simpkins, S., & Weiss, H. B. (2006). Family involvement in school and low-income children’s literacy: Longitudinal associations between and within families. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 653–654. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022?06188.8.131.523
Deci, E. L., Schwartz, A. J., Sheinman, L., & Ryan, R. M. (1981). An instrument to assess adults’ orientations toward control versus autonomy with children: Reflections on intrinsic motivation and perceived competence. Journal of Educational Psychology, 73, 642–650. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-06184.108.40.2062
Entwisle, D. R., & Alexander, K. L. (1998). Facilitating the transition to first grade: The nature of transition and research on factors affecting it. The Elementary School Journal, 98, 351–364. https://doi.org/10.1086/461901
Epstein, A. S. (2007). The intentional teacher: Choosing the best strategies for young children’s learning. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Gardiner, S. (2005). Building student literacy through sustained silent reading. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Hasbrouck, J. (2006). For students who are not yet fluent, silent reading is not the best use of classroom time. American Educator, 30(2). Retrieved from http://www.readingrockets.org/article/students-who-are-not-yet-fluent-silent-reading-not-best-use-classroom-time
Hawkins, R. O., Hale, A., Sheeley, W., & Ling, S. (2011). Repeated reading and vocabulary-previewing interventions to improve fluency and comprehension for struggling high-school readers. Psychology in the Schools, 48, 59–77. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.20545
Hohmann, M. (2005). Growing Readers early literacy curriculum: Teacher guide. Ypsilanti, MI: HighScope Educational Research Foundation Press.
Iyengar, S. S., & Lepper, M. R. (2000). When choice is demotivating: Can one desire too much of a good thing? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 995–1006. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-35220.127.116.115
Lewis, M., Alessandri, S. M., & Sullivan, M. W. (1990). Violation of expectancy, loss of control, and anger expressions in young infants. Developmental Psychology, 26, 745–751.
Lillard, A. S. (2005). Montessori: The science behind the genius. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
McCallum, R. S., Sharp, S., Bell, S. M., & George, T. (2004). Silent versus oral reading comprehension and efficiency. Psychology in the Schools, 41, 241–246. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.10152
Murnane, R., Sawhill, I., & Snow, C. (2012). Literacy challenges for the twenty-first century: Introducing the issue. The Future of Children, 22(2), 3–15. https://doi.org/10.1353/foc.2012.0013
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. Retrieved from https://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/nrp/pages/smallbook.aspx
NICHD Early Child Care Research Network. (2005). Pathways to reading: The role of oral language in the transition to reading. Developmental Psychology, 41, 428–442. https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-1618.104.22.1688
Olofsson, A., & Niedersøe, J. (1999). Early language development and kindergarten phonological awareness as predictors of reading problems: From 3 to 11 years of age. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 32(5), 464–472. https://doi.org/10.1177/002221949903200512
Pressley, M., Mohan, L., Raphael, L. M., & Fingeret, L. (2007). How does Bennett Woods Elementary School produce such high reading and writing achievement? Journal of Educational Psychology, 99, 221–240. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1037/0022?0622.214.171.124
Reibstein, D. J., Youngblood, S. A., & Fromkin, H. L. (1975). Number of choices and perceived decision freedom as a determinant of satisfaction and consumer behavior. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 60, 434–437. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0076906
Sanden, S. (2014). Out of the shadows of SSR: Real teachers’ classroom independent reading practices. Language Arts, 91, 161–175.
Sénéchal, M., & Young, L. (2008). The effect of family literacy interventions on children’s acquisition of reading from kindergarten to grade 3: A meta-analytic review. Review of Educational Research, 78, 880–907. https://doi.org/10.3102/0034654308320319
Snow, C. E., Burns, M. S., & Griffin, P. (Eds.). (1998). Preventing reading difficulties in young children. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Stanovich, K. E. (1986). Matthew effects in reading: Some consequences in individual differences in the
acquisition of literacy. Reading Research Quarterly, 21, 360–407.
Storch, S. A., & Whitehurst, G. J. (2002). Oral language and code-related precursors to reading: Evidence from a longitudinal structural model. Developmental Psychology, 38, 934–947. https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-16126.96.36.1994
Strickland, D. S., & Riley-Ayers, S. (2006). Early literacy: Policy and practice in the preschool years. National Institute for Early Education Research, Policy Brief. Retrieved from http://nieer-www1.rutgers.edu/resources/policybriefs/10.pdf
Takeuchi, O., Ikeda, M., & Mizumoto, A. (2012). Reading aloud activity in L2 and cerebral activation. RELC Journal: A Journal Of. Language Teaching Research, 43, 151–167.
Vitto, J. (2003). Relationship-driven classroom management. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc.
Whitehurst, G. J., & Lonigan, C. J. (1998). Child development and emergent literacy. Child Development, 69, 848–872. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.1998.tb06247.x
Wiesendanger, K. D., & Birlem, E. D. (1984). The effectiveness of SSR: An overview of the research. Reading Horizons, 24(3). Retrieved from
How to Cite
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. Authors can view article download statistics for published articles within their accounts.
Journal of Montessori Research
The following is an agreement between the Author (the “Corresponding Author”) acting on behalf of all authors of the work (“Authors”) and the Journal of Montessori Research (the “Journal”) regarding your article (the “Work”) that is being submitted for consideration.
Whereas the parties desire to promote effective scholarly communication that promotes local control of intellectual assets, the parties for valuable consideration agree as follows.
A. CORRESPONDING AUTHOR’S GRANT OF RIGHTS
After being accepted for publication, the Corresponding Author grants to the Journal, during the full term of copyright and any extensions or renewals of that term, the following:
1. An irrevocable non-exclusive right to reproduce, republish, transmit, sell, distribute, and otherwise use the Work in electronic and print editions of the Journal and in derivative works throughout the world, in all languages, and in all media now known or later developed.
2. An irrevocable non-exclusive right to create and store electronic archival copies of theWork, including the right to deposit the Work in open access digital repositories.
3. An irrevocable non-exclusive right to license others to reproduce, republish, transmit,and distribute the Work under the condition that the Authors are attributed. (Currently this is carried out by publishing the content under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 license (CC BY-NC.)
4. Copyright in the Work remains with the Authors.
B. CORRESPONDING AUTHOR’S DUTIES
1. When distributing or re-publishing the Work, the Corresponding Author agrees to credit the Journal as the place of first publication.
2. The Corresponding Author agrees to inform the Journal of any changes in contact information.
C. CORRESPONDING AUTHOR’S WARRANTY
The Corresponding Author represents and warrants that the Work is the Authors’ original work and that it does not violate or infringe the law or the rights of any third party and, specifically, that the Work contains no matter that is defamatory or that infringes literary or proprietary rights, intellectual property rights, or any rights of privacy. The Corresponding Author also warrants that he or she has the full power to make this agreement, and if the Work was prepared jointly, the Corresponding Author agrees to inform the Authors of the terms of this Agreement and to obtain their written permission to sign on their behalf. The Corresponding Author agrees to hold the Journal harmless from any breach of the aforestated representations.
D. JOURNAL’S DUTIES
In consideration of the Author’s grant of rights, the Journal agrees to publish the Work, attributing the Work to the Authors.
E. ENTIRE AGREEMENT
This agreement reflects the entire understanding of the parties. This agreement may be amended only in writing by an addendum signed by the parties. Amendments are incorporated by reference to this agreement.
ACCEPTED AND AGREED BY THE CORRESPONDING AUTHOR ON BEHALF OF ALL AUTHORS CONTRIBUTING TO THIS WORK