Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Major Advisor

Keith Thiede, Ph.D.


This qualitative study had two main purposes: One, to discover the nature of interactions that motivate adolescent students to read; and two, to follow how adolescents’ views of interaction and reading motivation evolve over time. The study’s research question was: What do student artifacts and interviews within both middle and high school contexts reveal about adolescents' perceptions of interactions with peers, teachers, and family and their motivation to read? The concept of interaction used within this study was based on a collaborative group-process learning context (Webb & Palincsar, 1996) and a social constructivist conceptualization of intrinsic motivation for literacy learning (Oldfather & Dahl, 1994). The study focused on eight students in Boise, Idaho from August 2007 to November 2009, following students throughout their eighth grade year, in which the researcher was their Reading instructor, and into their ninth and tenth grade years, when students were no longer enrolled in the researcher’s classes. Based on a review of the research literature, hypotheses were as follows: first, changes in student reading motivation would correlate with quantities of interaction; second, students would be more motivated by interactions with other students as opposed to interactions with adults; and, third, levels of reading motivation and interaction would both diminish as students journeyed through their scholastic experience. In a 2007-2008 pilot study, 52 students in three groups were given time for in-class independent reading and three varying levels of student interaction. Quantitative pilot study data included one-way composite scores and one-way ANOVAs from Wigfield, Guthrie, and McGough’s (1996) Motivation for Reading Questionairre, with few meaningful results. Qualitative data included student “literautobiographies,” reflections, and surveys; class-constructed generative webs during the 2007-2008 school year; and, during the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years, three separate one-on-one interviews with students. Results were contextualized within a priori themes in the adolescent reading motivation research literature, including access, conducive environment, choice, multiliteracies, family and friends, and teacher and pedagogy. Newly emerging themes included survival interactions, informal interactions, and “known-ness” interactions, which motivate adolescents to read. Results were consistent with the study’s first hypothesis, but inconsistent or inconclusive with the study’s second and third hypotheses. Links with prior research, implications for educators, recommendations for further research, and limitations culminated the study.