Dimensions of Reading Motivation among Filipino Bilinguals

Although previous studies have been able to identify a number of reading motivation dimensions, Wigfield and Guthrie (2000, in Baker & Wigfield, 1999) still think that “questionnaires containing other kinds of items could potentially uncover other aspects of reading motivation. We believe it is important for researchers to extend the search for additional dimensions of reading motivation” (p. 39). Their idea makes sense because as reflected in the review earlier, there have been only four reading researchers who have modified their original questionnaire and added some items, which they deem appropriate for the participants they had in their studies in order to capture the dimensions of their reading motivation. None of these motivational researchers has claimed any generalization as far as their findings are concerned. Along this line, the present researcher is particularly interested to study and explore whether there are dimensions of reading motivation which are truly unique to Filipino bilingual adolescents. This particular group of learners has not been tapped in earlier reading motivation research since past participants have been monolingual and EFL learners.

Using a basic tenet in reading education that reading in one’s first language is different from reading in one’s second language, this researcher argues that it is probable that learners who are reading in their native language and those who are reading in a distant language would have different reasons for doing so from those who are reading a language that they learn openly and naturally like their first one. The age of the participants is another factor that may provide different results. The previous participants were either children or college students. If indeed reading motivation decreases at certain age and grade levels (middle grades and early adolescents), a study with adolescents will either confirm or weaken this finding.

But what are the possible other dimensions of reading motivation? What are the sources of these dimensions? Articles on reading comprehension discuss many factors that affect the reading process. These factors have been categorized as reader, text, and context factors (Ocampo, 2006). These categories are said to be linked with one another. For instance, a grade 4 student may be able to comprehend a story from his or her textbook, but may have difficulty if given a story from a grade 6 textbook. This highlights the importance of text factors. Whereas, when a seemingly uninteresting text to a class may become exciting when a teacher employs creative reading activities and tasks points to the importance of context factors in reading. In fact, it has been observed that instructional methods play an important role especially in second language learning.

From this background, this researcher would like to look into the various text and context factors of reading as possible sources for the other dimensions of reading motivation, and which will differentiate the bilingual readers’ reasons for reading from those of the monolinguals and EFL readers. If reader, text, and context factors in reading are indeed interrelated, could it be possible that certain text and context factors are also dimensions of motivation to read? What follows is a short review of studies that found particular text and context reading factors to be associated with some affective factors.

An important step taken by a reader to be able to make sense of the printed page is to connect what he or she is reading with his or her existing body of knowledge. A text that contains information and details close to what a reader already knows is likely to be understood and appreciated better than one which has ideas that are far or opposite to what a reader perceives to be true and correct. So far, research on content schema has revealed that learners have better comprehension, read the text faster, and recalled more of the content when they have background knowledge on the topic being discussed in texts (Steffensen, Joagdev, & Anderson, 1979, in Carrell, 1 9 83; Johnson, 1983; Aron,1986; Malik,1990, in Carlo & Sylvester, 1996; Pritchard,1990; Roller & Matambo,1992; Abu-Rabia, 1996). Similarly, Anderson (1982, in Fox, 1990) found that more interesting materials were more likely to be attended to by students and so they spent more time reading these texts.

Context also plays an important role in attempting to develop students’ genuine love for reading, as reported by previous researchers. Self-selection or giving students some choices as to the reading materials, manner of expressing their comprehension of the text is strongly-linked to motivation to read, persistence, effort, and attention, while social interaction among the students, teachers, peers, and family also fostered intrinsic motivation to read (Gambrell, 2001; Morrow, 1992, in May, 2001). Fox (1990) recommended that teachers encourage their students not to read books they are not enjoying, not to use threatening ways of checking students’ reading, and to ensure that students read in a relaxed and comfortable place. Gee (1999) had similar points that can be summarized in 5 Cs: give students opportunities for Choice, Challenge, Control, Collaboration, and Connection. Moreover, they should be taught to accept and attempt to read both easy and difficult books.

– Mante-Estacio, M.J. “Dimensions of Reading Motivation among Filipino Bilinguals.” TESOL Journal 7 (2012): 10-29.