Effects of an Extensive Reading Programme on Secondary School Students’ Reading Motivation and Attitude

Master's Thesis, 2020

188 Pages, Grade: 6


Table of contents

1 Abstract


2 Objectives and hypotheses
2.1 Scientificquestion
2.1.1 Hypotheses

3 Theoretical background on extensive and intensive reading
3.1 Extensive reading versus intensive reading
3.1.1 What effects do extensive reading programmes have on students?

4 Theoretical background on motivation and attitude
4.1 Whatismotivation?
4.2 Language learning motivation theories
4.2.1 Behaviouristtheoryofmotivation
4.2.2 Humanistic theory of motivation
4.2.3 Cognitive theory of motivation
4.2.4 L2 motivational self-system
4.2.5 The self-worth theory
4.2.6 The self-efficiency theory
4.2.7 Self-determination theory
4.2.8 The attribution theory
4.2.9 Expectancy-value theory
4.2.10 Motivation created through the value ofthe task
4.2.11 Gardner’s theory of language learning motivation
4.2.12 Goaltheories Goal-setting theory Goal-orientation theory Goal content and multiplicity
4.3 Motivating English class
4.4 What is attitude?
4.4.1 Reading motivation and reading attitude
4.4.2 Role models

5 Theoretical background on reading in general
5.1 What is reading?
5.2 Sight vocabulary, lexical access, memory access and prior knowledge

6 Theoretical background on the implementation of extensive reading programmes in EFL classes
6.1 10 general points to follow in an extensive reading programme
6.2 The level of extensive reading material and the role of graded readers.
6.3 reading in the curriculum
6.4 Reading quantity and reading evaluation
6.5 Where and when to read
6.6 Extensive reading library
6.7 Introducing the students into extensive reading

7 Condition analysis
7.1 Descriptionofthelearners
7.1.1 Class 1Ab and 1Aa
7.1.2 Class 2Ec and 2Ed
7.1.3 Class2Pf
7.1.4 The three control group classes
7.2 Relevance for the learners
7.3 Conditions ofthe room

8 Method
8.1 Extensive reading programme
8.1.1 Preparing the extensive reading programme: library, checkout system and reading evaluation
8.2 Survey
8.2.1 Justifying the hypotheses with the theory and evaluating them with selected items in the questionnaire
8.2.2 Questions 30 and 31
8.3 Student orientation
8.3.1 The procedure and rules ofthe programme
8.4 First lesson of an extensive reading programme
8.5 The Role of the teacher
8.6 End ofthe extensive reading programme

9 Results
9.1 Hypotheses test procedures
9.2 Analysisoftheresults
9.2.1 Main hypothesis Level A Testgroup Controlgroup Level E Testgroup Controlgroup LevelP Testgroup Control group
9.2.2 Hypothesis 1
9.2.3 Hypothesis 2
9.2.4 Hypothesis 3
9.2.5 Hypothesis 4
9.2.6 Hypothesis 5
9.2.7 Hypothesis 6
9.2.8 Hypothesis 7
9.2.9 Hypothesis 8
9.2.10 Hypothesis 9
9.2.11 Hypothesis l0
9.2.12 Hypothesis 11
9.2.13 Hypothesis 12
9.2.14 Hypothesis 13
9.2.15 Hypothesis 14
9.2.16 Hypothesis 15 Level A Testgroup Controlgroup Level E Testgroup Controlgroup Level P Testgroup Controlgroup
9.2.17 Hypothesis 16 Level A Testgroup Controlgroup Level E Testgroup Controlgroup Level P Testgroup Controlgroup
9.2.18 Hypothesis 17 Level A Testgroup Controlgroup Level E Testgroup Controlgroup Level P Testgroup Controlgroup

10 Discussion
10.1 Main hypothesis and hypotheses 15, 16 and 17
10.2 Hypotheses 1-14

11 Conclusions

12 Reflection
12.1 Whatwentwell
12.2 What could have been improved

13 References

14 Appendices
14.1 Listofgraphics, pictures and tables
14.2 Listofgraded readers used
14.3 Complete survey results

1 Abstract

In this thesis we research the influence an extensive reading programme has on the motivation and the attitude of secondary school students regarding reading in English. Based on the pre-existing theoretical research about extensive reading, we designed two questionnaires (one for before the extensive reading programme and one for after the extensive reading programme) in order to measure changes in reading attitude and reading motivation of our secondary school students.

Our sample consisted of 5 secondary school classes in Switzerland and it included all three levels of secondary school (A, E & P). 81 Swiss secondary school students aged between 13 and 16 went through a six weeks extensive reading programme that we constructed while three other classes (one of each level) did not and functioned as control group. Throughout the six weeks students read 20 minutes at the start of every lesson. They were able to choose graded readers from a mobile library which was installed in the classroom. They did not have to take any tests after reading. The only things they had to do is read in their own tempo, choose a book they like from the library and leave a feedback at the back end ofthe books they read in order to inform the next reader of the same book. After six weeks of extensive reading we quantified the changes in reading attitude and reading motivation through the second survey.

All test groups except for the level P class (which is the highest level in the Swiss school system) showed a statistically significant increase in reading motivation. For the most part, the positive attitudinal changes towards reading in English were dramatic thanks to the characteristics of our extensive reading programme. This became evident because especially A and E secondary school students assessed their reading competence much more highly after the programme and they had a lot more fun reading than they had expected before the extensive reading programme.

We thereby conclude that an extensive reading programme has an immense positive impact on secondary school students’ motivation and attitude towards reading in English and should therefore be implemented in every ELT classroom in secondary school.


„If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”

- J.K. Rowling

As J. K. Rowling, the famous author of Harry Potter, opines, reading can be fun when one finds the right book. She also addresses a problem that a lot of students in secondary school usually have: the teacher chooses the “right” book for them and therefore a lot of secondary school students do not like to read. This top-down attitude is well-intentioned but too often counterproductive. Every language teacher has a curriculum that has to be followed and therefore teachers tend to choose books that they think the secondary school students should read to develop their own culture and reading ability. The books that teachers choose are said to be age-based, to have an appropriate difficulty and are usually the basis for an upcoming exam that tests reading ability. As we show in this master thesis, this does not enhance reading motivation and therefore, we opine that teachers should think outside of the box and come up with alternatives in order to motivate secondary school students to not only read in class but to read at home, too.

Another demotivating but common example in a regular foreign language class is reading authentic texts which are too difficult for secondary school students to understand adequately and that they therefore have to analyse sentence by sentence. This makes sense for analysing sentence structures and grammar rules but does not enhance secondary school students’ curiosity in reading English and therefore cannot be called a reading activity.

Interest and difficulty level of texts are only two of many parameters that have to be met in order to get secondary school students to read. There are a lot more criteria and we lay them all out in the theory part of this master thesis, where we try to connect different existing motivational and attitudinal theories with our reading project in an ELT classroom. When we dove into the topic, we also quickly came across the difference between extensive and intensive reading. This differentiation is key when we try to understand what motivates secondary school students to read and what does not.

Based on our theoretical findings we created an extensive reading programme which we implemented into numerous English classes of all three levels of Swiss secondary school (A, E & P). During this period, we measured the reading motivation of every secondary school student before and after our programme in order to quantify the effect our reading programme has on the reading motivation of our secondary school students. We also used control groups at each level of secondary school in order to gauge the possible arbitrariness of our results.

In this reading programme, secondary school students had the choice between 150 different easy readers of various reading levels. These readers were available to them through a wooden, mobile library that we built to be able to transport the books from classroom to classroom.

We hope that the results that are shown and discussed in the latter part of this master thesis may help English language teachers (ELTs) to justify a possible extensive reading programme in front of their principals or others. At the very least it should give them the certainty that it benefits their secondary school students greatly. We do not think that it is the only way to enhance reading ability (intensive reading should not be abolished) nor do we try to prove that an extensive reading programme increases language competence. Although we mention different studies that show that it does exactly that and we have asked our secondary school students the same question.

Reading motivation will automatically lead to all the benefits that come with an enhanced reading ability and therefore we are solely focused on increasing and understanding reading motivation and reading attitude in this master thesis.

2 Objectives and hypotheses

In this chapter we present our scientific question, main hypothesis and our secondary hypotheses which we test in this master thesis. Our main goal in our master thesis is to increase students’ (from now on “students” shall be the equivalent of “secondary school students” to facilitate reading) reading motivation and to evaluate what kind of steps should be taken to achieve that goal. To comprehend that, we used our findings of the theoretical part and created a six weeks long extensive reading programme that takes into account everything we have learnt about reading motivation and reading attitude. To quantify the change in reading motivation of all these students, we created numerous hypotheses and based on these, we created a questionnaire, also with the help of our theoretical findings. The theoretical basis for these hypotheses can be read in the theory chapters 3 through 6 and the structure of the questionnaire which is based on the hypotheses and the theory is described in one ofthe method subchapters (see chapter 8.2.1).

2.1 Scientific question

Our central question that we want to answer is:

How does an extensive reading programme in English classes affect the reading motivation and reading attitude ofsecondary school students?

This is the question that we would like to answer after our own findings and the analysis ofthe results ofthe questionnaire.

2.1.1 Hypotheses

Based on the above-mentioned scientific question, we have created one main hypothesis which is supplemented by a multitude of secondary hypotheses. These hypotheses aim at answering the main scientific question and are at the same time the base themselves for our questionnaire. Some ofthe hypotheses test the scientific research only and not the change in motivation or attitude through our extensive reading programme.

Main hypothesis:

A six-week long extensive reading programme enhances the reading motivation and reading attitude ofsecondaryschool students.

With the ensuing hypotheses, we aim at finding out whether our findings from our theoretical work are true and how they co-relate with the reading motivation of our students at Sekundarschule Arlesheim and Sekundarschule Frenkendorf. This provides us with a solid base to understand the results that we obtain from our questionnaire. Therefore, secondary hypotheses 1 through 14 are targeting to find out whether the theory applies to our students. Only our main hypothesis and secondary hypotheses 15, 16 and 17 aim at quantifying a change with our students regarding attitude and motivation after they have gone through our extensive reading programme. We also have asked our students to detail what motivated them in our extensive reading programme by asking them specific questions about that in our second questionnaire. For these two questions we have not formulated any hypothesis because we have no presentiment which aspects motivated them. Also, it is impossible to formulate a hypothesis for every possible aspect that could have motivated them. Such an aspect would have to be mentioned by at least 95% of the students in order to pass the significance test which would result in accepting the hypothesis. It is also important to know that each hypothesis is evaluated by a number of different questions in our questionnaire. The details of how these questions are constructed, on which theoretical findings they are based and which hypotheses they test are to be found in the method chapter 8.2.1.

Secondary hypothesis 1:

The more students like reading in their mothertongue the more motivated they are to read English books.

Secondary hypothesis 2:

The easier secondary school students find it to read in their mother tongue the more they like reading books in their mother tongue.

The more secondary school students like reading English books in their free time the more likely they enjoy reading English books in school.

Secondary hypothesis 4:

The more secondary school students like reading books in their mother tongue the more they enjoy reading English books in school.

Secondary hypothesis 5:

The better secondary school students understand English books the more they enjoy reading them in school.

Secondary hypothesis :6

The more secondary school students are interested in the English language the more motivated they are to read English books.

Secondary hypothesis 7:

The more positive the attitude of secondary school students is towards the English culture the more motivated they are to read English books.

Secondary hypothesis 8:

Secondary school students who know an English-speaking person that they like are more motivated to read English books.

Secondary hypothesis 9:

The more secondary school students acknowledge the importance of the English language in today’s society the more they are motivated to read English books.

Secondary hypothesis 10:

The more secondary school students acknowledge the importance of reading in order to increase their language competence the more they are motivated to read.

Secondary hypothesis:

The more positive the attitude is that secondary school students have towards their English class the more they enjoy reading in English.

Secondary hypothesis 12:

The better the self-assessment secondary school students have of their English reading skills the more motivated they are to read English books.

Secondary hypothesis 13:

The more the English teacher supports secondary school students while reading in EFL classes the more they are motivated to read English books.

Secondary hypothesis 14:

The more other persons are reading at a certain time the more secondary school students are motivated to read English books.

Secondary hypothesis 15:

After secondary school students went through a six-week long extensive reading programme they assess their own reading ability more positively than before.

Secondary hypothesis 16:

Secondary school students who have gone through our extensive reading programme enjoy reading in school more than they did before.

Secondary hypothesis 17:

After secondary school students went through a six-week long extensive reading programme they have a more positive attitude towards the necessity of reading in order to increase their English language competence than before the programme.

3 Theoretical background on extensive and intensive reading

In the first theoretical chapter we define extensive reading and make the differentiation between extensive reading and intensive reading in order to have a clear definition. We talk about the benefits of an extensive reading programme and why it is extensive reading that increases reading motivation and not intensive reading which tends to do the opposite.

3.1 Extensive reading versus intensive reading

The term extensive reading was first mentioned by Harold Palmer (Kelly, 1969, p. 131). To him, extensive reading meant reading very fast and a lot and that the reader’s attention should be on the content and not on the form (Bamford & Day, 2013, p. 5). It was Palmer, too, who made the differentiation between extensive and intensive reading. For Palmer intensive reading meant to “take a text, study it line by line, referring at every moment to our dictionary and our grammar, comparing, analysing, translating, and retaining every expression that it contains” (Kelly, 1969, p. 111). The fact that he underlined the importance to work with a text intensively and extensively is pioneering since this basic idea was extended by Nation (2007) when he argued that EFL lessons should include language as meaning-focused input, meaning-focused output, language-focused learning and fluency development. Therefore, reading can be a means to different goals. Although for Palmer the line between intensive and extensive reading was not as clear-cut as it is nowadays, since extensive reading was also subject of grammar teaching.

Another person who influenced the term “extensive reading” was Michael West who called extensive reading supplementary reading which was supposed to enhance the enjoyment of reading and have a focus on the individual interests of the readers (West, 1955).

Nowadays extensive reading is widely accepted as one of four observable processes of reading. The three others being skimming, scanning and intensive reading (Bamford & Day, 2013, p. 6).

So finally, what is extensive reading exactly? The Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics defines the term as follows:

“Extensive reading means reading in quantity and in order to gain a general understanding of what is read. It is intended to develop good reading habits, to build up knowledge of vocabulary and structure, and to encourage a liking for reading”, whereas “intensive reading is generally at a slower speed, and requires a higher degree of understanding than extensive reading” (Richards & Schmidt, 2010).

This definition obviously does not cover all the aspects of the two terms. What we can take out of it is that extensive reading is speedier and word-for-word understanding is not required. Furthermore, it aims at developing vocabulary and structure and the motivation to read. In contrast to that it does not become immediately clear why one should waste any time with installing an intensive reading programme in an EFL class. But one gets the sense that as teachers we should absolutely implement extensive reading as it enhances vocabulary knowledge, grammar competences as well as the joy to read. It is not our intention to analyse how extensive reading increases vocabulary and grammar competences. Evaluating this seems too difficult and too broad since we would have to distinguish whether grammar competences have been enhanced through reading or grammar training and we would have to have a larger group of students than we actually have to be able to come to a significant scientific result thanks to a large sample size. Also, the grammar level of each student is different. We would have to precisely define at which level each student is to measure the effect of our extensive reading programme. With all these variables, we argue that our results would have been insignificant as shown by the multiple investigation done on this very topic (Bamford & Day, 2013, p. 36).

Nevertheless, extensive reading increases numerous linguistic traits as we are going to show in the following chapters. The key is therefore to get the students to read and that is why we are solely focused on the aspect of reading motivation and how extensive reading can enhance this. But what is motivation? What is the difference between attitude and motivation? Before we can discuss how to increase the reading motivation of students, we must discuss motivation in general and define it, which we do in the next chapters as well.

3.1.1 What effects do extensive reading programmes have on students?

Bamford and Day (2013, p. 16-20) argue that extensive reading enhances the capacity to read fluently. This is achieved by the development of sight vocabulary, general vocabulary and different knowledge types. Furthermore, multiple investigations on extensive reading programmes from 1981 to 1997 show that extensive reading programmes enhance wide-spread language competences, affect and knowledge such as: general reading ability, attitudes towards reading, motivation towards reading, writing competence, vocabulary, listening and oral competences (Bamford & Day, 2013, p. 34). It is not known to us how this was measured but it represents nevertheless a clear evidence that the four main linguistic competences are enhanced. It seems that reading for pleasure is a key to overall language proficiency.

Going back to Bamford and Day’s argument about reading fluency that is enhanced and how this is achieved, we need to define sight vocabulary, general vocabulary and different knowledge types as these are key to the development. Sight vocabulary is automated the more one encounters a word in different contexts. The reader then identifies and comprehends a word that he has encountered in different contexts more rapidly and precisely. With each encounter of a word the meaning of the word becomes more precise and multi-layered at the same time. The key for this automatization to take place is the level of the reading material. It must not be too difficult because it would then prevent reading fluency by adding other distractors. Explained with Stephen Krashen’s comprehensible input hypothesis, the material needs to be input minus 1 (i-1), meaning that the reading material should be well within the reading abilities of the reader and that he therefore does not have to look up words to understand the meaning of the text. Only then there are not too many i+1 and i distractors that can prevent the reader to foster the meaning of a word and therefore develop automated sight vocabulary (Bamford & Day, 2013, p. 16-17).

It seems quite logical that the more vocabulary one understands the better one comprehends the content. Vocabulary knowledge is therefore a means to an end: understanding a content. It is therefore key that teachers teach vocabulary and offer numerous possibilities to encounter vocabulary in different contexts. One of them would be extensive reading, where a reader encounters words that he already knows but can foster them even more by reading. It seems important to add that vocabulary learning in the context of extensive reading is not learnt by specifically teaching words and the learners also do not have to look a word up if they do not know it. As in their first language, “children learn large numbers of new words in their first language by guessing their meanings in context while they read” (Bamford & Day, 2013, p. 17). Nagy and Herman (1987, p. 27) even argue that this type of vocabulary learning “may be the easiest and single most powerful means of promoting large-scale vocabulary growth”. For this to happen, we would argue that explicit vocabulary learning is also necessary but extensive reading fosters vocabulary and eloquence. Because, in contrast to L1 learners who first learn their mother language orally by listening and then by trying step by step to form their lips to utter the words that they encounter in their daily lives, second language (L2) learners do not have that base vocabulary on which they can build. Vocabulary learning by reading extensively only comes to fruition once a certain level of vocabulary knowledge is achieved, argue William Grabe and Fredricka Stoller (1993). Once this level is achieved, the more students read i-1 reading material the more receptive vocabulary grows.

Bamford and Day (2013) argue furthermore, that reading ensures the growth of world and topical knowledge. This is key in order to ensure comprehension. The more students know, the easier it will be to read books of topics that they already have knowledge in. The process is reciprocal: World knowledge ensures better reading comprehension and world knowledge is acquired through reading as much as possible. Therefore, the increase of both appears to happen parallelly.

That is why Stephen Krashen stated: “The amount of free reading done consistently correlates with the performance on reading comprehension tests, a result that confirms the hypothesis that we learn to read by reading” (1988, p. 291).

As shown, there are numerous benefits for students to read and read extensively. The key is that students begin to read and make positive experiences while with reading in order to read even more because their mostly negative attitudes towards reading change. Richard Day et al. (2017) say that extensive reading is becoming an increasingly important component in English language education. They mention four points which point out that extensive reading can increase the student’s understanding ofthe English language and affects their motivation as well.

1. Extensive reading extends the contact with English outside the classroom. Providing students with graded materials give them the chance to see the language they have learned in the classroom environment in a different context - usually a story.
2. In extensive reading students have the chance to choose what they want to read, when they want to read it and where. This individualises the learning experience and makes it more autonomous.
3. They mention that reading as well as writing has been neglected in language programmes, despite the fact that many students need to develop both skills for further studies or their job. The only way to develop these to skills autonomously is by reading. Writing is skill that needs models.
4. Reading can be pleasurable if taught correctly, especially through an extensive reading programme. And anything that connects language learning with pleasure has a great value.

4 Theoretical background on motivation and attitude

Now that we know what extensive reading is and what kind of effects it has on reading motivation, we need to define what motivation is and what teachers can do to increase the reading motivation of their students. Hence, we elaborate in this second theory chapter what motivation is and present different motivational theories that are important in order to understand the build-up of our extensive reading programme.

Subsequently, we differentiate motivation and attitude and present a scheme that we have adopted for our questionnaire and our extensive reading programme.

4.1 What is motivation?

There are many theories which aim at defining the term “motivation”. The American Psychology Association even thought of replacing the word “motivation” as a search term in its database because there are too many meanings involved in motivation as a concept said O’Neil & Drillings (1994).

In general, these theories have one thing in common: they mainly describe why humans think and behave as they do. The fact that there are that many theories shows that it is impossible to summarise a complex topic such as motivation through one theory only and that the definition is not set in stone. There are numerous variations of it. But Dörnyei and Ushioda (2013) mention that most researchers agree on one thing: motivation is the direction and magnitude of human behaviour. It determines:

- why people decide to do something
- how long they will do the activity for
- how hard they are going to pursue it

Therefore, the key quantifiable parameters of motivation are: reason, duration and intensity.

Dörnyei and Otto (1989, p. 65) define motivation as follows:

“In a general sense, motivation can be defined as the dynamically changing cumulative arousal in a person that initiates, directs, coordinates, amplifies, terminates, and evaluates the cognitive and motor processes whereby initial wishes and desires are selected, prioritised, operationalised and (successfully or unsuccessfully) acted out.”

The keywords of this definition are all verbs. Therefore, motivation is an active evaluative process of an individual who makes her or him proceed into a specific direction. It initiates direction and activity after having received an input (reason) that determines the duration and the intensity of the activity.

Specifically, motivation in learning a second language, the superordinate topic of this master thesis, has been researched for decades and there are hundreds of articles and books that have been published about it. Dörnyei and Kumanyiova (2014) for instance, divide the evolution of scientific L2 motivation research into three broad phases:

- The social psychological period (1959-1990). This phase was initiated by psychologist Robert Gardner and his associates from Canada. They developed the concepts of integrative and instrumental orientation and motivation. In this concept the main motivation for a L2 learner is the community and his desire to be part of it and being able to communicate with his community. Also, career opportunities and an increased salary might help the L2 learner being more motivated.
- The cognitive-situated period (during the 1990s). In this period contemporary cognitive theories from educational psychology were mixed with researches about L2 learning motivation. They tried to bring L2 learning motivation in one line with the mainstream motivational psychology by Robert Gardner. Additionally, they had a closer look at motivation in specific learning settings, particularly in L2 classrooms. Extrinsic motivation is controlled by the environment or the community, you do something for someone else or because you get something for doing something. Other famous terms from this period are attribution (i.e. how you explain past failures or success), self-confidence/ef- ficacy as well as situation-specific motives (i.e. environment related, for example the L2 course you are visiting, the other students or the teacher).
- The new socio-dynamic approaches (first decade of the twenty-first century) focused on motivation influenced by identity in a specific social context. The most famous concepts are the process-oriented conceptualisation of motivation (Dörnyei 2010), in which Dörnyei understands motivation as an unstable emotional state and focuses on how motivation is generated, how it fluctuates and how it can be maintained over time. Norton (2000) made his research on motivation as an investment. He explained how language learning is historically and socially constructed (i.e. a research which included various factors connected to the learner, the learning environment and learning task into one complex system).

4.2 Language learning motivation theories

In the following we introduce several L2 learning motivation theories to understand better why L2 learners are or are not motivated. It is important to know that different researchers have created different models to show how motivation works and they are not always on the same page. But there are numerous overlaps in their theories, the difference lies on the emphasis and quite often in the terminology. It is therefore impossible to settle for one theory as the one true theory. Also, attitude and motivation are often not separated as clearly as psychology studies would do it. Nevertheless, these motivational theories are the basis on which we build our questionnaire and our extensive reading programme.

4.2.1 Behaviourist theory of motivation

Viktoria Mihhailova (2011) splits motivation in language learning into four theories. The most important seems to be the “behaviourist theory of motivation”. This theory focuses on the various types of reinforcement and extrinsic motives that push students to a certain behaviour. Behaviourists argue that reinforcement can be positive as well as negative. A negative reinforcement would be used to avoid a certain undesirable behaviour. Examples for a positive reinforcement might be praise or reward and aim at reinforcing a desirable behaviour and thus, making it more probable. This classic theory was first introduced by Burrhus Skinner (Woolfolk, A., & Schönpflug, W., 2014, pp. 242-274). Nevertheless, this theory has come under critics as Mihhailova (2011) says. It seems to be one-dimensional and does not present a complete picture of motivation.

This theory is like the “extrinsic utility value” by Jacquelynne S. Eccles and Allan Wigfield (see chapter 4.2.10). Both focus on external sources for motivation.

4.2.2 Humanistic theory of motivation

This theory is coherent with the “self-worth theory” by Covington (1992) (see chapter 4.2.5) but extends its thoughts a bit further. It focuses on human needs and personal development. Maslow and Frager who were the creators of this approach designed a hierarchy of needs which was published 1987 in their book “Motivation and personality”. It consists of eight stages.

1. Biological and physiological needs - air, drink, food, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.
2. Safety needs - protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, etc.
3. Social needs - belongingness and love - work group, family, affection, relationships, etc.
4. Esteem needs - self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, managerial responsibility, etc.
5. Cognitive needs - knowledge, meaning, etc.
6. Aesthetic needs - appreciation and search for beauty, balance, form, etc.
7. Self-actualisation needs - realising personal potential, self-fulfilment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.
8. Transcendence needs - helping others to achieve self-actualisation.

They also created a pyramid which explains these needs and the hierarchy of it. The first four needs in this pyramid are basic needs. They motivate a person due to the absence of a particular source. On the other hand, the self-fulfilment needs drive someone due to an intrinsic, inner need to develop, to improve and to succeed. This high-level need includes cognitive needs (getting more knowledge, exploring), aesthetic needs (obtaining beauty, truth, justice), self-actualisation needs (realising one’s potential, self-fulfilment).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Graphic 1 (https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html)

4.2.3. Cognitive theory of motivation

This theory is extremely similar to Zoltan Dörnyei’s expectancy-value theory (see chapter 4.2.9) where two main factors come into play: the person’s expectancy of success in a given activity and the value the individual attaches to success in that activity. The more a person thinks that he or she can achieve the goal and the greater the value ofthe intended outcomes are, the higher the level ofthe person’s motivation will be. However, if the person is confident that he or she will fail the given activity, the effort will fall short of what is necessary, no matter how he or she endeavours.

4.2.4 L2 motivational self-system

In 2005 a new approach on L2 motivation was introduced by Zoltân Dörnyei. Dörnyei published it in his book “The L2 Motivational Self System” (2009) and it follows three main constituents.

- Ideal L2 self: Here the focus is on the L2 learner and how he sees his ideal self in a L2 context. Is the person we would like to become speaking a L2 language and how well is he doing this? We also think about the person we would like to become, maybe a businessman or someone who travels the world. Is it necessary to speak a L2 language? These are the questions L2 learners asked themselves and if the ideal self has to be able to speak an L2 well, then the L2 learner will want to reduce the gap between his actual and his ideal self. Learning the L2 becomes a means to an end.
- Ought-to L2 self: Here the L2 learner learns the target language to avoid possible negative outcomes. This has nothing to do with the person’s own desires or wishes. It rather is a defence strategy. And therefore, the motivation is solely extrinsic and not sustainable if the negative outcome does not loom any longer.
- L2 learning experience: This is based on situation-specific motives. For example, the learning environment or experience (positive success or enjoyable quality of language courses increase the L2 learner’s motivation to learn).

In a nutshell, “The L2 Motivational Self System” suggests that there are three main sources of motivation to learn a L2. First, the learner’s intrinsic motivation to become a better version of himself in a L2 context. Second, the social pressure of the environment to master the L2 and finally third, the experience the learner has made in language courses or with the L2 in general.

4.2.5 The self-worth theory

The “self-worth theory” was first introduced by Martin V. Covington in 1992. He explains that people are highly motivated to maintain a sense of value and worth. This is mainly the case when it comes to competition, failure or negative feedback. As a teacher, it is important to be aware of this theory since it affects certain tasks where a poor performance could affect students’ self-esteem. Rhodewalt and Vohs (2007) give an example which can be applied to a L2 context:

Someone with a low judgement of his abilities might not even try to execute a task, as Bandura has already stated in his theory presented above, but deliberately withhold effort or engage in self-handicapping or defensive strategies, because this would allow failure to be attributed to a lack of effort rather than a lack of abilities.

If we adapt this theory to our research, it is important that students first have a sense of achievement. This can be accomplished by motivating them to read a graded reader under their current reading level. Students that go for books which are above their reading level, might doubt their English skills and therefore protect themselves with a defensive strategy as described earlier or try to cover up their weakness by not putting any effort into the reading project.

4.2.6 The self-efficiency theory

The “self-efficiency theory” was developed by Albert Bandura (2001) and analyses how people’s judgement of their capabilities corelates with their performance while carrying out a specific task, but also whether they begin a task at all after they have evaluated their chances of completing a task. During his studies he figured out that people with a low judgement of their abilities are more likely to give up while doing a more complicated task than people with a higherjudgement.

Important is that most self-efficiency beliefs are only indirectly related to the actual competence and ability. Whether their judgement is correct or not does not matter. It is often based on external factors as other people’s opinions, feedback, evaluation, encouragement, reinforcement or others.

4.2.7 Self-determination theory

Deci and Ryan (2001) came up with this theory as a formulation of the intrinsic/ex- trinsic conception. Mihailova (2011) states that this theory of motivation is one of the best-known theories. It focuses on the self-motivation and self-determination of an individual. On the one hand, there is an intrinsic motivation in this theory which is driven by rewards, such as personal satisfaction, inner interest towards an action, experience of pleasure and joy of doing a particular activity. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is driven by extrinsic rewards, such as good grades, praise or punishment avoidance. Deci and Ryan (2011) describe four forms of extrinsic motivation.

- External regulation is where the individual’s motivation responds to external sources, such as rewards or threats. For instance, teacher’s confrontation and parental praise. That would be coherent with the aforementioned operant conditioning by Skinner
- Introjected regulation. An individual reacts to certain externally imposed rules which are perceived as norms which must be followed in order to not feel guilty. For instance, “I must have the Cambridge Proficiency Diploma to become an English teacher”
- Identified regulation, which involves the individual’s understanding how valuable and useful a particular action is. For example, “I learn this language to get a better job”
- Integrated regulation, which suggests that the individual’s behaviour is assimilated with his or her other values, needs and identity. For instance, “I learn English because I know it will make me more educated”

The intrinsic motivation is driven by one’s natural and inner curiosity and interest.

Dörnyei (2001) differs three types of intrinsic motivation:

To learn (engaging in an activity for the satisfaction of learning, pleasure from understanding something new, satisfying your curiosity)

- To achieve (engaging for the satisfaction from surpassing oneself, coping with challenges or creating and accomplishing something)
- To experience stimulation (engaging in an activity to experience pleasant sensation)

4.2.8 The attribution theory

The attribution theory shows how important the experience for the L2 motivation is. The theory was first presented by Bernard Weiner (1992). Then O’Neil and Drillings summarised Weiners theory in their book “Motivation: theory and research” (1994) and listed the most common attributions in school environments.

- Ability
- Effort
- Task difficulty
- Luck
- Mood
- Family background
- Help or hindrance from others

Dörnyei (2013) says that specially in western countries ability and effort are the most dominant perceived causes. Additionally, he differs between failure that is ascribed to an uncontrollable factor, such as low ability (e.g. “I failed because I am too stupid”) and failure that is ascribed to an unstable and controllable factor, (e.g. “I failed the test because I did not learn”). If a past failure is ascribed to an uncontrollable factor it hinders the future achievements more than a controllable factor where you can change something. This attribution theory is one of the few theories which include emotions in their research in terms ofthe emotional consequences of causal attributions.

4.2.9 Expectancy-value theory

Another theory about motivation is the “Expectancy-value theory”. In this theory which was presented in the journal “Educational Psychology Review” (1994), student’s motivation depends on their expectation on how well they will perform in a specific task and how much they value its achievement. The theory was already introduced by Atkinson and Raynor (1974). They believed that the expectancy-value framework was determined by expectancies of success and incentive values. Additionally, they added two other components to their theory.

1. Need for achievement: People with a high need of achievement are interested in excellence for its own sake not for the extrinsic reward it can bring.
2. Fear of failure: This is the opposite of the need for achievement. Here the person tries to avoid a negative outcome rather than approaching a positive one.

But how do people calculate their chances of succeeding? Dörnyei and Ushioda (2013) mentioned three main theories which are crucial for the key cognitive- mediational processes theorised to determine expectancy of success.

- Processing one’s past experience (attribution theory) - This is pretty similar to the L2 Motivational self-system.
- Judging one’s own abilities and competences (self-efficiency-theory)
- Attempting to maintain one’s self-esteem (self-worth theory) - Similar to the Expectancy-value theory.

4.2.10 Motivation created through the value of the task

Most researches focus on the performance expectancy and how that affects the motivation of L2 learners. Jacquelynne S. Eccles and Allan Wigfield (2002) on the other hand highlight the value of the task and how the task itself affects the learner’s motivation. They have developed four different groups of task value:

Attainment value. Here it is important to perform well in the task as a personal goal. Eccles and Wigfield (2002, p. 119-120) define it as following: “(...) they also linked attainment value to the relevance of engaging in a task for confirming ordisconfirming salient aspects of one’s self-schema (i.e., because tasks provide the opportunity to demonstrate aspects of one’s actual or ideal self-schema, such as masculinity, femininity, and/or competence in various domains, tasks will have higher attainment value to the extent that they allow the individual to confirm salient aspects ofthese self-schemata).”

Intrinsic value: This is the enjoyment someone gets from performing the activity or the subjective interest someone has in the subject.

Extrinsic utility value: People engage in the activity for instrumental reasons or for receiving a good grade or reward.

Cost: Choices are influenced by negative and positive task characteristics and with every decision there are costs. They assume that when choosing one option, you are eliminating the other. Additionally, the effort and time we must sacrifice for a specific task is also influencing our motivation.

These four models affect L2 learners’ motivation and have a big influence on students’ performance. In our study we try to aim for an intrinsic motivation. Because Zoltan Dörnyei (1994, p.175-176) states that:

“Extrinsic motivation has traditionally been seen as something that can undermine intrinsic motivation; several studies have confirmed that students will lose their natural intrinsic interest in an activity if they have to do it to meet some extrinsic requirement (as is often the case with compulsory readings at school). “

With that in mind there should not be any exam at the end of an extensive reading programme. Students should develop an intrinsic motivation and interest to read.

4.2.11 Gardner’s theory of language learning motivation

There are two other important names to mention if it comes to researches in the field of language motivation: Gardner and Wallace Lambert. Elspeth Broady (2005) summarised their key points of the two concepts in the journal “Language Learning Journal”.

- Integrative orientation is founded on the individual’s desire to “integrate” with a certain community that speaks the target language. The motivation is mainly intrinsic and lies in his inner beliefs, purpose and intentions. Furthermore, the integrative orientation can be split up in three main components:
- Integrativeness: the person’s own interest in a foreign language and his desire to be able to communicate with a L2 community. The person might also learn a language due to his or her individual wish for a certain degree in the target language.
- Attitudes towards the language situation, which means the attitude the learner has towards the teacher or the language course. The learner might enjoy the lessons that much that he enjoys visiting this course and learns for pleasure and not only for the subject itself. The learner might get a sense of satisfaction and joy from the process of learning.
- Motivation, one’s own effort, aspiration, desire, attitude towards language learning.
- Instrumental orientation is similar to the Extrinsic utility value. It is based on one’s external wishes. For example, getting a better job or increasing social standing. This type of motivation refers to a strong practical quality. In a classroom context motivation could be created by working for a good grade or to go to a higher level.

4.2.12 Goal theories

Dönyei and Ushioda (2013) stated that theory of “goal” is based on three main principles:

- Goal-setting
- Goal-orientation
- Goal content and multiplicity Goal-setting theory

Dörnyei and Ushioda (2013) define the goal-setting theory as the difference in performance among individuals in terms of differences in goal attributes. The goals can be split up in three categories: specificity, difficulty and goal commitment. This theory is also compatible with the expectancy-value theory explained in chapter 4.2.9. In other words, this theory combines the expectation of an individual with the value of the task. Is the goal reachable and what does one get out of it in the end?

Dörnyei and Ushioda (2013, p. 33) summarised Locke’s (1996) main findings in five points.

- “The more difficult the goal, the greater the achievement
- The more specific or explicit the goal, the more precisely the performance is regulated
- Goals that are both specific and difficult lead to the highest performance
- Commitment to goals is most critical when goals are specific and difficult
- High commitment to goals is attained when (a) the individual is convinced that the goal is important; and (b) the individual is convinced that the goal is attainable” Goal-orientation theory

Unlike the goal-setting theory which was mainly applied to a workspace environment, the goal-orientation theory was developed for a children’s learning and performance in school setting. This theory highlights two contrasting achievement goal orientations.

- Mastery orientation, here students pursuit a “learning goal” or as Ames (1992) calls it pursuit “mastery goals”. The students’ focus is on learning the content.
- Performance orientation, this involves the pursuit of performance goals also called “ego-involvement goals”. Here the focus is on demonstrating your abilities, getting good grades or outdoing other students.

These two goals represent different reasons for engaging in an achievement activity. Crucial for the mastery orientation is the attitude that effort leads to success and the focus is on one’s own improvement. On the other hand, performance orientation is not focusing on the effort, this is just a tool to achieve a goal and the accompanying public recognition. Goal content and multiplicity

In this theory students’ motivation is not shaped by the individual performance. The motivation is influenced by goals which are not focusing on academic performance, achievement or competence. Other goals students might have are: making friends, maintain solidarity with peers, avoid punishment, please the teacher or conform to classroom rules. Dönyei and Ushioda (2013, p. 34) summarise Wenzel’s (2000) research about goal content and multiplicity as following:

“Her work provides valuable insights into how students' academic accomplishments are influenced by the integrated contribution of multiple social and academic goals, and in particular ow the pursuit of non-academic forms of competence such as social competence may interact positively with the development of academic competence.”

4.3 Motivating English class

Frank Hass (2015) mentions in his book “Fachdidaktik Englisch” that many students are bored in their English classes. This does not have anything to do with the amount of material students receive, mainly it is the arc of suspense which is often missing. Repeating the same way of teaching and same materials can lead to a lack of motivation. Hass (2015) splits motivation into two categories: operational motivation and functional motivation. The functional motivation consists out offour areas:

- Intellectual motivation shows how willing the student is to find regularities in the English grammar, in how we form words and sentences
- Instrumental motivation is the same as the extrinsic utility value or the instrumental orientation which was mentioned in this chapter. It primarily focuses on how the English class helps me getting the job I want or helps me being successful
- Hass’ integrative motivation is matching Garner’s theory of language learning motivation. Hass also describes that this kind of motivation is based on your desire to communicate and be a part of a certain community
-Emancipation motivation develops from you valuing your abilities and competences

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Graphic 2 (Hass 2015, p. 186)

Additionally, Hass states that it is impossible to make a clear statement on how motivation works. It is too complex to integrate all internal and external factors since the learning groups are totally different and the categories which were mentioned above blend into each other.

Operational motivation is the joy students have while learning a foreign language (I like learning English).

Dörnyei and Ushioda’s (2013) goal-oriented theory is also mentioned by Hass (2015) and is considered as a key feature for motivation. Furthermore, goals should be doable and transparent for the students. If students fail too often, the operational motivation will suffer.

Hass describes different technics which help to keep the student’s motivation as high as possible.

- The speaking experience should be real. The language students are confronted with material that should be practical and students should see a common sense why they should know it. Additionally, videos, books or magazines in the target language help the students making the learning more meaningful
- Students should have a clear structure and progression. What means that students should start with something easy and slowly work their way up to the more complex task. This is also why we chose to use graded readers and students should start with books slightly under their reading level
- The lexical and structural progression should not be too steep. Learning new grammatical structures and new lexical junks should be scattered over the three years
- Lessons should be student-oriented and the topics should be chosen in a way that students can identify themselves with it. We try to provide that by letting students choose their books and even making recommendations for books that should be bought for the library
- The lessons should be differentiated to support the different learning types. All the graded readers exist in different levels so students can choose the level they feel comfortable with

4.4 What is attitude?

As Bamford & Day (2013, p. 21-31) propose, we must differentiate attitude and motivation. We have looked at motivation in chapter 3.2 and the question that remains is: what is attitude in contrast to that?

Rokeach (1968) defines attitude as follows: “An attitude is a relatively enduring organisation of beliefs around an object or a situation, predisposing one to respond in some preferential manner.” Therefore, in contrast to motivation, which initiates direction and activity after having received an input (reason) that determines the duration and the intensity of the activity, attitude is more inherent or rooted and does not necessarily initiate action. But it is part ofthe aforementioned “reason” for motivation.

Attitude includes an evaluation process by the person in question. “Attitude is a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favour or disfavour”, define Eagly & Chaiken (1993, p. 1). Bamford & Day (2013, p. 22) add that attitude is modifiable and not set in stone, even though it is predisposed, as Rokeach (1968) says in his definition. Attitude is dependent on different variables like other attitudes, strength of a particular student’s attitude e.g. (Bamford & Day, 2013, p. 22). Therefore, attempts to change a specific attitude may not be always successful (Bamford & Day, 2013, p. 22). The key to change an attitude is the knowledge of its source. The source can refer to a multitude of things like “family socialisation, peer group, influence, specific events in the past, sources ofanxiety, basic strivings, mechanisms ofdefence, education, income, occupation, mass media, class affiliation, residence, religion and host of personal variables including intelligence, age, sex, interests, and aptitudes”, as Breer & Locke (1965, p. 8-11) mention. Therefore, it is a very complicated task to change attitudes long-term. But it is possible because nobody is born disliking or liking the English language for example. It can be taught and it can be learned.

4.4.1 Reading motivation and reading attitude

There is an overwhelming conviction that students do not like to read in general and especially not in a foreign language (Bamford & Day, 2013, p. 4). According to Bamford & Day (2013, p. 4) this notion stems from a reciprocal problem. An inordinate amount of students does not have a habit of reading and therefore, there is a bigger chance than not that they are in fact not very good at reading. This is demotivating for them and the chance that they read gets slimmer the more their conviction fosters itself. Obviously, it would be false to generalise this notion for every secondary school student since eloquent students generally like to read and are fluent because of it. That is a fact that Eskey (1986, p. 21) observes, too. He says that reading “must be developed, and can only be developed, by means of extensive and continual practice. People learn to read, and to read better, by reading”.

Therefore, is the task of any secondary schoolteacher to get (especially lower level) students out of this downward spiral that makes them reading a book less likely and prevents them to become adequate or good readers. The prerequisite to read is motivation. But this motivation does not only come from the self-confidence of the student that he thinks that he can read well enough. This motivation is also based on the intrinsic motivation of students regarding the topic of their reading material. If the reading material is appealing to students, students will obviously be more motivated to read and won’t see the text as schoolwork. Especially lower level students of a foreign language “regard a text as an object for language studies and not as an object for factual information, literary experience or simply pleasure, joy and delight”, Simensen (1987) argues. In contrast to that, good students have a meaning-centred approach when reading (Devine, 1984). We could argue, that they have an automatic extensive reading approach, they read for pleasure and do not see it as a struggle where they have to put a lot of effort in it. They do it voluntarily.

Thus, the objective of L2 teachers must be to enhance the motivation to read and have a positive attitude towards reading. But how can L2 teachers make sure of that? The key to change a student’s attitude towards reading is to know the source of a possibly negative attitude towards reading. A central component of attitude, as we have written before, is the evaluation process of a certain material by the user. In regard to second language reading, Bamford & Day (2013, p. 23) propose the following scheme to narrow down the attitude towards this subject.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Graphic 3 (Bamford & Day, 2013, p. 23)


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Effects of an Extensive Reading Programme on Secondary School Students’ Reading Motivation and Attitude
University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland
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This paper was graded with the best mark possible and was the best master thesis our tutor has ever read. This paper will change your attitude towards reading in an English classroom completely.
Motivation, Extensive reading, reading, attitude, reading motivation, research, academic, English language teacher, teacher, ELT
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Nico Studer (Author), 2020, Effects of an Extensive Reading Programme on Secondary School Students’ Reading Motivation and Attitude, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/984812


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