Document Type


Publication Date




Reports show that the reading proficiency scores for 17-year-olds have stagnated over the past several decades. In this study, the authors explored older students' academic reading perceptions that might suggest links to proficiency. What do high school seniors really think about class reading? Do they understand what they read? How do they view teacher support for content reading? A quarter of the senior class of one mid-sized high school responded to open-ended questions such as these as well as a Likert-style reading attitude survey. Additionally, the teachers of the student study sample were interviewed about their students' reading behaviors and attitudes. Data revealed that these seniors largely felt confident in their class reading abilities despite the fact that most said they did not do much reading either for school or recreationally. Seniors also reported a lower tolerance for reading long periods of time and showed little preference for reading informational texts. Yet most participants planned to go to college and felt positively about the challenges presented by college-level reading. Student and teacher reports suggested both parties may be locked in a reciprocating cycle of low reading expectations that maintain student non-reading behaviors and unrealistic ideas about the skill level necessary for informational reading comprehension.

Copyright Statement

From The High School Journal, Vol. 96(4), 321-338. Copyright © 2013 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. doi: 10.1353/hsj.2013.0018

Included in

Education Commons