The Impact of Assigned Reading on Reading Pleasure in Young Adults

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Stacy Creel, Assistant Professor, School of Library & Information Science, University of Southern Mississippi

Creel, Stacy. “The Impact of Assigned Reading on Reading Pleasure in Young Adults.” Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults 5 (2015): n. page. Web. <Date accessed>.


This research presents the results of a survey of 833 U.S. adolescents, ages twelve to eighteen years old. It was hypothesized that teachers are assigning reading (rather than students self-selecting books) and that this leads to dissatisfaction with reading. Additional factors (gender, age, and self-identification as a reader) were also examined for their influence on reading satisfaction. The results indicate that approximately one-third of the respondents were allowed to select books for school reading assignments and that self-selection had a statistical impact on their self-perceived reading pleasure. Limitations include geographic location, a non-random sample, and data collection by various surveyors. This study adds to the growing body of research showing that student self-selection of reading materials leads to greater pleasure and interest in reading.


Teens aren’t reading anymore.1 Teens are reading.2 Teens are reading differently.3 While there is controversy regarding teens and their reading habits, there is one time when educators would like to assume that teens are reading: during school-assigned reading. This study presents findings on how adolescents, twelve to eighteen years old, self-report their pleasure or displeasure with the last book they read for school. In addition, it examines factors that might influence their reported satisfaction, such as whether or not they were able to choose the book themselves and whether or not they self-identify as a reader.

Literature on Assigned Reading with Teens

The Reading Decline

Studies on the reading habits of children and teens have shown that reading begins to decrease around the ages of thirteen and fourteen.4 In one study of students in first through sixth grades, the decline in attitude toward academic reading was evident even in the youngest readers.5 In Gallo’s study of 3,339 students in fourth through twelfth grades, the decline in reading satisfaction with assigned reading was evident in both remedial and advanced students, and the level of dissatisfaction increased as grade level went up.6 However, there is some evidence that this decline may be attenuated by self-selection, which increases positive feelings about reading.7

Impacts on School Reading: Choice

In 1999, Adolescent Literacy: A Position Statement for the Commission on Adolescent Literacy (CAL) of the International Reading Association put forth seven principles for advancing adolescents’ literacy. The first principle is that “adolescents deserve access to a variety of reading material that they can and want to read.” Being able to select their reading material is an essential act of independence for adolescents. “All adolescents, and especially those who struggle with reading, deserve opportunities to select age-appropriate materials they can manage and topics and genres they prefer.”8 An Australian study of teens reported on “the fundamental role of choice in students’ enjoyment of and motivation for reading,” especially for males.9 When comparing books that students selected for themselves with the ones assigned by teachers, students said that books they chose for themselves contained “more violence, were funnier, scarier, more realistic” versus the school choices, which were “boring, harder to read, too dry, written in an antiquated style, too ‘prissy,’ or ‘dumb.’”10 Self-selected books were also more likely to have teen characters, unlike the classics and teacher-selected books, which tend to feature adult characters.

Middle-school students—typically known as being resistant to reading and for having negative attitudes about reading—are often assigned teacher-selected class novels.11 Students “are expected to become independent readers, yet they get limited opportunities to explore their own interests in reading, to read at their own pace, or to make their own decisions about whether or not to read a book.”12 A survey of over 1,700 sixth-grade students suggests that for many of these students (42%), motivation to read was tied to students being able to choose what they read and having good choices available.13 These students’ most negative experiences were “directly related to assigned reading,” which they found difficult to understand and boring.14 “Clearly, something happens to the reading experience of young people to make it seem a lot less enjoyable when they reach secondary school than it was in primary school.”15 But this can be turned around, as shown in a case study of 53 eighth-grade students.16 Teachers were able to meet the curriculum requirements using student self-selection; they found that when “students were provided time in school to choose books, read them, and reflect on them, they became more interested in reading and connected characters and themes in their favorite texts to their own lives in meaningful ways.”17

Impacts on School Reading: Treatment and Topic

In addition to teachers’ reading choices being less interesting to teens, their treatment of the material plays a role in teens’ dissatisfaction with assigned reading. Cope’s survey of almost 300 high school seniors reported that school reading experiences were often negative due to the assigned-reading experience, especially when coupled with students’ additional disdain for writing book reports and what they perceive as the over analysis of books.18 Students had trouble making sense of the teacher-assigned books, found them difficult to read and boring, and could not figure out how the books related to their lives or future success. During the process of teaching classics, teachers teach complex literary structures and concepts, limiting student enjoyment and personal connection. Along with assigned reading, the lengthy over analysis of literature is tied to students’ negative school experience,19 which is compounded by students’ inability to “independently access the knowledge and information embedded in the books and other printed materials that are part of a curriculum.”20 This is often due in part to teachers assigning books that are written for adults and beyond students’ cognitive level.21

Impacts on School Reading: Gender

In Nippold, Duthie, and Larsen’s study of 200 older children and young adolescents, reading for pleasure was only moderately popular and declined as age increased, with boys showing a marked difference from girls on time spent reading for pleasure.22 Girls read more often for pleasure and outperformed boys on standardized tests of reading literacy.23 Teacher choices and a mismatch with the interests and needs of boys compounded their negative experience and negative reading attitude.24 Assigned school reading is not representative of boys’ interests and their “real life,” and the books were considered “boring, difficult, and off point.”25 While teachers tend to select narrative fiction that is of little interest to boys, studies show that providing students the freedom to choose their own reading materials contributes to an increase in positive feelings about reading.26

Literature Review Conclusion

Research indicates that there is a definite theme of student dissatisfaction or “concern about the texts they are required or ‘forced” to read in the classroom,”27 and that this dissatisfaction is connected to the decline in reading.28 Teachers may be aware that research shows that self-selection is important; however, finding “enough time to provide regular opportunities for reading self-selected texts during language arts time or to read along with their students” is difficult in light of time required for skills teaching and preparing students for statewide tests, as well as the pressure on teachers to increase students’ scores on these mandatory tests.29

Purpose of the Study and Overview of Methods

The purpose of this study is to determine if adolescents are choosing their own reading in the school setting and if the following have an impact on students’ reported satisfaction with the books they read for school: self-selected versus teacher-assigned reading, gender, self-identification as a reader, and age. This research presents statistical analysis of a survey of 833 adolescents, ages twelve to eighteen years. It is important to note that some surveys had missing data, so depending on the statistical test being used and the variable being tested, the total count ranges from 833 to 806.

Research Questions and Hypotheses

RQ1: Are teens being allowed to self-select assigned reading?

H1: It is hypothesized that adolescent students are not being allowed to select their own reading.

RQ2: Which of the following factors affect satisfaction: self-selected versus teacher-assigned books, gender, identification as a reader, age?

H2: It is hypothesized that self-selection, gender, identification as a reader, and age will all affect satisfaction with reading. It is anticipated that self-selection will lead to greater reported satisfaction. It is also anticipated that females, identified readers, and younger readers will be more satisfied with the books they read for school, whether self-selected or teacher-assigned.


Surveys can be used to identify the subjective feelings of a population and to gather these feelings into quantifiable data.30 Surveys are especially appropriate when data is not available by other means, such as in existing reports. Previous studies have used surveys to assess teens’ reading habits and attitudes.31 This survey is not a random sample of adolescent readers; it is a convenience sample. It can be difficult to make inferences about the population of interest in convenience samples because of selection bias. The selection bias in this instance was mitigated to some extent by using a variety of sampling locations—for example, churches, parks, malls, etc.—but the results are not intended to be read as strictly generalizable to the full U.S. adolescent student population.

Survey Sample

Adolescents twelve to eighteen years old were surveyed on their reading habits and their responses to the last book read for school. The survey was conducted by graduate students in LIS 226 Young Adult Literature and Related Resources at St. John’s University. In addition to Responsible Code of Conduct training, the surveyors were provided with a script (appendix A) and training. Internal Review Board permission was granted to have the adolescent respondents give their own informed consent versus parental consent so that participants could provide honest answers. Additionally, to prevent bias toward finding “readers,” the interviewers did not seek respondents from schools or libraries. No identifying information was collected, except for age and gender, and the adolescents were approached in public settings like churches, malls, parks, and so on, if they appeared to be within the age range (12–18). Age was the only criterion for participation. No one was excluded based on race, beliefs, gender, or socioeconomic status. The survey took approximately three to five minutes. There was no penalty if potential participants declined or stopped after starting. The following independent variables were collected: location, gender, age, and self-identified as a reader or non-reader. Dependent variables included the following: self-selected reading versus teacher-assigned reading and response to the last book read. Participants also provided the titles of the last school-required book and the last thing they read for fun. They were allowed to provide additional comments. Regression analysis and chi-square tests of significance were used to assess the relationships between the independent and dependent variables.


Eight hundred thirty-three teens in the New York Tri-State area responded to the survey in the fall of 2009. Table 1 details the ages of the respondents: 323 respondents were male, 504 were females, and 6 did not report their gender.

RQ1: Are teens being allowed to self-select assigned reading?

To address the research question regarding whether or not teachers are allowing teens to self-select their required reading, survey respondents were asked: “What was the name of the last book you read for a school assignment? Did you get to pick it?” The survey results indicate that 71.3%, or 581 of the students, reported that their reading was assigned by the teacher. Just 234 (28.7%) of the students were able to self-select their reading. The hypothesis that teachers were more likely to assign reading rather than allow students to self-select was accepted for this group of participants. These results are graphically displayed in figure 1.

RQ2: Which of the following factors affect satisfaction: self-selected versus teacher-assigned books, gender, identification as a reader, age?

To address whether or not allowing self-selection results in higher rates of positive experiences with reading, a simple cross tabulation of self-reported reading experience and self-selection versus teacher-assigned reading was conducted. Given the existing literature, it was hypothesized that students who self-selected required school readings would rate the experience more positively than those who read teacher-assigned books. As indicated by the results in table 2, teens reported more positive experiences when they were allowed to self-select their reading material. Of the 234 students who were allowed to self-select their reading material, 41.0% (96 students) responded that they loved the book they read. In contrast, only 21.3% (124 students) of those who were assigned reading reported that they loved the book they read. A chi-square test was also conducted to test for statistical significance in self-reported positive experiences between self-selection and teacher-assigned reading. The results reveal a Pearson chi2(3) of 49.65 (p = 0.000). Thus, the difference between reported reading pleasure across students who were assigned reading versus those who self-selected was statistically significant.

The existing literature points out that gender, age, and self-identifying as a reader are also factors that affect experiences with reading. The Pearson chi2(3) of 4.53 (p = 0.210) found in table 3 indicates that there was not a statistically significant difference across genders. The Pearson chi2(6) of 21.07 (p = 0.002) in table 5 demonstrates that there was a statistically significant difference in self-reported positive experiences across reading frequency or self-identification as a reader. Unlike in previous studies found in the literature, the Pearson chi2(24) of 34.54 (p = 0.076) in table 4 shows that there was not a statistically significant difference in reported positive experiences across ages. These descriptive statistics yield mixed support for the findings in the current body of literature, with self-identification as a reader being linked to positive experiences, while age and gender are not.

It was anticipated that females would be more likely to self-identify as readers and to report satisfaction in both types of school reading—self-selected and teacher-assigned. In this study, teens who responded that they read at least once a week were classified as readers; 70% of the respondents fell into this category. Teens reading less frequently (once a month, once a school term, once a year, or never) were classified as non-readers. Previous studies find that gender plays a role in being a reader; however, in this study of the participants reporting both gender and reading frequency, of the 323 male participants, 69% identified as a reader, and 71% of the 500 females identified as a reader.

In order to assess the relationship between self-selection and reading pleasure—while controlling for the influences of gender, self-identification as a reader, and age—an ordinary least squares regression model was estimated. The sample size for the estimation is 806 since 10 respondents had missing information. The results from the OLS regression model (table 6) indicate that the overall model is statistically significant and that all but one of the hypotheses can be accepted. Gender and self-identification as a reader had a statistically significant effect on reading pleasure. Even after controlling for gender, age, and self-identification as a reader, there was still a statistically significant effect for self-selection versus teacher-assigned reading. Students who were allowed to self-select their reading material were more likely to say that they enjoyed their book. In addition, the results confirm findings from the previous literature that females are more likely to self-report pleasure in reading than males and that self-identified readers are more likely than others to self-report pleasure in their last book. In this sample, age was the only variable tested that did not have a statistically significant effect on reading pleasure.


Due to the limited geographic location, the New York Tri-State area, and the fact that the sample was not random, the work described here cannot provide definitive answers or be used to make generalizations to students outside the area. Another limitation is that the consistency of data collection was dependent on the graduate students following the design protocol exactly. Additionally, this survey only sought information on the last book that students had read for school and if it was teacher-assigned or self-selected. It did not take into account that some teachers might use a combination approach—alternating teacher-assigned books with student-selected books.


Despite the recommendation of the Commission on Adolescent Literacy (CAL) as far back as 1999 that students benefit from being able to select their own reading as a means of advancement for adolescent literacy, this study demonstrates that students are still being assigned reading by teachers and that it still negatively affects their enjoyment and views of reading. Studies have also shown that as reading increases, vocabulary increases.32 “Reading is a prime source of word exposure, particularly for complex and low-frequency words, and there is evidence from research that the amount of time spent reading is closely associated with word learning.” It makes sense then that reading be promoted as “a school-based activity” and as a “leisure-time activity.”33 Proponents of self-selected school reading understand that this can help students build a lifelong love of reading; however, opponents point out the loss of literary culture and the feasibility of teaching as many as thirty different books to thirty students.34

As far back as 1997, Cope was advocating:

If we want students to grow as readers and develop a lifelong love of reading, then we must trust them to choose literature that they can connect with, literature that will inspire them to read more. Whether we take the small step of allowing students to choose their reading from lists we provide or the giant step of a reading workshop format, we need to relinquish the stranglehold we have on our students reading.35

Twelve years later, the New York Times ran an article about a reading workshop built around teacher-to-student discussion, student-to-student discussion, and student reading journals.36 Rich reported that many places were trying this new form of school reading—including Chicago; Jonesboro, Georgia; New York City—and that even though the literature shows that allowing students to self-select titles for assigned reading is beneficial, there is still need for improvement. My study shows that less than one-third of the students surveyed were allowed to pick their own school reading. It also supports the idea that allowing students to self-select reading increases their motivation to read, which in turn increases their engagement with reading material.37 Better-engaged students means more learning and better reading comprehension.

As far back as 1998, Worthy, Moorman, and Turner showed that self-selected reading improves reading attitude and achievement, and they made suggestions for making self-selected reading with guidance from teachers more common in classroom settings. Fifty-seven percent of the teachers in the study taught using student-selected novels.38 Not only were students allowed to select the books, but they were also in many cases given the freedom to pick how they responded to the book (e.g., creative activities, diaries, etc.). Students can still be taught how to “infer theme, predict resolutions, identify figurative language and so on” with self-selected books.39

Modeling reading, sharing books with students, and giving students opportunities to share their choices are instrumental components of encouraging reading. In the case of this research, self-selection had a significant effect on whether or not students enjoyed the books they read for school. Since most students have access to classroom and school libraries, it is important that these collections appeal to their reading interests and offer a variety of resources to support self-selection.


  1. National Endowment for the Arts, Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in
    (Washington DC: National Endowment for the Arts, 2004).
  2. Carol Fitzgerald, “What Teens Want?” Publishers Weekly, October 26, 2009; Marc Aronson, Exploding the Myths: The Truth about Teenagers and Reading (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2001).
  3. Lester Donna Taylor, “Not Just Boring Stories: Reconsidering the Gender Gap for Boys,” Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy 48, no. 4 (December 2004/January 2005): 290–98; Linda Gambrell, “Issues and Trends in Literacy: Reading Literature, Reading Text, Reading the Internet: The Times They Are a’Changing,” Reading Teacher 58, no. 6 (March 2005): 588–91; National School Boards Association, Creating and Connecting/Research and Guidelines on Online Social—and Educational—Networking,; Stacy Creel, “Young Teens on Reading and e-Reading: A Survey,” Voice of Youth Advocates 31, no. 1 (2008): 29.
  4. Vivian Howard and Jin Shan, “Teens and Pleasure Reading: A Critical Assessment from Nova Scotia,” in Youth Information-Seeking Behavior II: Context, Theories, Models, and Issues, ed. Mary K. Chelton and Colleen Cool (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2007), 133–63; Adele Fasick, Andre Gagnon, Lynne Howarth, and Ken Setterington, Opening Doors to Children: Reading, Media and Public Library Use by Children in Six Canadian Cities (Regina, Saskatchewan: Regina Public Library, 2005),; Agnes Nieuwenhuizen, Young Australians Reading: From Keen to Reluctant Readers, prepared for the Australian Centre for Youth Literature and the Audience and Market Development Division of the Australia Council (Victoria, Australia: Woolcott Research, 2001),
  5. Michael C. McKenna, Dennis J. Kear, and Randolph A. Ellsworth, “Children’s Attitudes toward Reading: A National Survey,” Reading Research Quarterly 30 (1995): 934–55.
  6. Donald R. Gallo, “Reactions to Required Reading: Some Implications from a Study of Connecticut Students,” Connecticut English Journal 15, no. 2 (1984): 7–11.
  7. Jo Worthy, Megan Moorman, and Margo Turner, “What Johnny Likes to Read Is Hard to Find in School,” Reading Research Quarterly 34, no. 1 (1999): 12–27.
  8. David Moore, Thomas Bean, Deanna Birdyshaw, and James Rycik, Adolescent Literacy: A Position Statement for the Commission on Adolescent Literacy of the International Reading Association (Newark, DE: International Reading Association, 1999), 8, 9,
  9. Jacqueline Manuel and Dennis Robinson, “Teenage Boys, Teenage Girls and Books: Reviewing Some Assumptions about Gender and Adolescents’ Reading,” English Teaching: Practice and Critique 2, no. 2 (2003): 74.
  10. Gallo, “Reactions to Required Reading,” 8.
  11. Worthy, Moorman, and Turner, “What Johnny Likes to Read”; Gay Ivey and Karen Broaddus, ‘“Just Plain Reading’: A Survey of What Makes Students Want to Read in Middle School Classrooms,” Reading Research Quarterly 36, no. 4 (2001): 350–77.
  12. Ivey and Broaddus, ‘“Just Plain Reading,’” 350.
  13. Ibid.
  14. Ibid., 363.
  15. Nieuwenhuizen, Young Australians Reading, 19
  16. Andrea Stairs and Sara Stairs Burgos, “The Power of Independent Self-Selected Reading in the Middle Grades,” Middle School Journal 41, no. 3 (2010): 41–48.
  17. Ibid., 46.
  18. Jim Cope, “Voices of Readers: Students on School’s Effects on Readings,” English Journal 86, no. 3 (March 1997): 18–23.
  19. Ibid.
  20. Ruth Schoenbach, Cynthia Greenleaf, Christine Cziko, and Lori Hurwitz, Reading for Understanding: A Guide to Improving Reading in Middle and High School Classrooms (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1999), 5.
  21. Cope, “Voices of Readers.”
  22. Marilyn Nippold, Jill Duthie, and Jennifer Larsen, “Literacy as a Leisure Activity: Free-Time Preference of Older Children and Adolescents,” Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools 36 (2005): 93–102.
  23. Howard and Shan, “Teens and Pleasure Reading.”
  24. Elaine Millard, Differently Literate: Boys, Girls and the Schooling of Literacy (London: Routledge, 1997); Michael Smith and Jeffery Wilhelm, “Reading Don’t Fix No Chevys”: Literacy in the Lives of Young Men (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2002).
  25. Smith and Wilhelm, “Reading Don’t Fix No Chevys,” 142.
  26. William Brozo, To Be a Boy, to Be a Reader: Engaging Teen and Preteen Boys in Active Literacy (Newark, DE: International Reading Association, 2002); Worthy, Moorman, and Turner, “What Johnny Likes to Read.”
  27. Manuel and Robinson, “Teenage Boys, Teenage Girls and Books,” 75.
  28. Peter Benton, “Conflicting Cultures: Reflection on the Reading and Viewing of Secondary‐School Pupils,” Oxford Review of Education 21, no. 4 (1995): 457–70; John H. Bushman, “Young Adult Literature in the Classroom—or Is It?” English Journal 86, no. 3 (1997): 35–40; Nieuwenhuizen, Young Australians Reading.
  29. Jo Worthy, Megan Moorman, and Margo Turner, “The Precarious Place of Self-Selected Reading,” Language Arts 75, no. 4 (April 1998): 300.
  30. Floyd Fowler, Survey Research Methods (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2014).
  31. Howard and Shan, “Teens and Pleasure Reading”; Benton, “Conflicting Cultures”; Creel, “Young Teens on Reading and e-Reading.”
  32. W. E. Nagy and P. A. Herman, “Breadth and Depth of Vocabulary Knowledge: Implications for Acquisition and Instruction,” in The Nature of Vocabulary Acquisition, ed. M. McKeown and M. E. Curtis (Hillside, NJ: Erlbaum, 1987), 19–36; George A. Miller and Patricia M. Gildea, “How Children Learn Words,” Scientific American 257, no. 3 (1987), 94–99.
  33. Nippold, Duthie, and Larsen, “Literacy as a Leisure Activity,” 95.
  34. Motoko Rich, “A New Assignment—Pick Books You Like,” New York Times, August 29, 2009.
  35. Cope, “Voices of Readers.”
  36. Rich, “A New Assignment.”
  37. Linda Gambrell, “Seven Rules of Engagement: What’s Most Important to Know about Motivation to Read,” Reading Teacher 65, no. 3 (November 2011): 172–78; Stairs and Burgos, “The Power of Independent Self-Selected Reading in the Middle Grades.”
  38. Worthy, Moorman, and Turner, “The Precarious Place of Self-Selected Reading.”
  39. Donalyn Miller, “Creating a Classroom Where Readers Flourish,” Reading Teacher 66, no. 2 (2012): 91.

Table 1: Respondents by Age

No. of Respondents Age
4 (0.5%) Not reported but confirmed in the age range
5 (0.6%) 12 years old
191 (22.9%) 13 years old
126 (15.1%) 14 years old
140 (16.8%) 15 years old
164 (19.7%) 16 years old
126 (15.1%) 17 years old
77 (9.2%) 18 years old
833 (100%) Total

Table 2: Cross Tabulation of Self-Selected and Teacher-Assigned Books with Reading Experience

Loved Book Liked Book Neutral Hated Book Total
Self-selected 96 (41.0%) 111 (47.4%) 26 (11.1%) 1 (0.4%) 234 (100%)
Teacher-assigned 124 (21.3%) 308 (53.0%) 86 (14.8%) 63 (10.8%) 581 (100%)
Total 220 (27.0%) 419 (51.4%) 112 (13.7%) 64 (7.9%) 815 (100%)

Note: Percentages reflect the row values.                   Pearson chi2(3) = 49.65 (p = 0.000)

Table 3: Cross Tabulation of Gender with Reading Experience

Loved Book Liked Book Neutral Hated Book Total
Male 72 (22.8%) 168 (53.2%) 48 (15.2%) 28 (8.9%) 316 (100%)
Female 146 (29.3%) 251 (50.3%) 63 (12.6%) 39 (7.8%) 499 (100%)
Total 218 (26.7%) 419 (51.4%) 111 (13.6%) 67 (8.2%) 815 (100%)

Note: Percentages reflect the row values.                   Pearson chi2(3) = 4.53 (p = 0.210)

Table 4: Cross Tabulation of Age with Reading Experience

Age Loved Book Liked Book Neutral Hated Book Total
11 0 (0.0%) 0 (0.0%) 1 (100.0%) 0 (0.0%) 1 (100%)
12 1 (25.0%) 2 (50.0%) 0 (0.0%) 1 (25.0%) 4 (100%)
13 64 (33.7%) 94 (49.5%) 20 (10.5%) 12 (6.3%) 190 (100%)
14 30 (24.0%) 61 (48.8%) 26 (20.8%) 8 (6.4%) 125 (100%)
15 28 (20.7%) 77 (57.0%) 15 (11.1%) 15 (11.1%) 135 (100%)
16 39 (24.1%) 83 (51.2%) 26 (16.1%) 14 (8.6%) 162 (100%)
17 34 (27.2%) 63 (50.4%) 15 (12.0%) 13 (10.4%) 125 (100%)
18 23 (30.7%) 40 (53.3%) 8 (10.7%) 4 (5.3%) 75 (100%)
19 0 (0.0%) 0 (0.0%) 1 (100.0%) 0 (0.0%) 1 (100%)
Total 219 (26.8%) 420 (51.3%) 112 (13.7%) 67 (8.2%) 818 (100%)

Note: Percentages reflect the row values.                   Pearson chi2(24) = 34.54 (p = 0.076)

Table 5: Cross Tabulation of Reading Frequency (Self-Identified Reader) with Reading Experience

Loved Book Liked Book Neutral Hated Book Total
Less than once a month 65 (25.5%) 115 (45.1%) 40 (15.7%) 35 (13.7%) 255 (100%)
Once a month 39 (23.8%) 94 (57.3%) 24 (14.6%) 7 (4.3%) 164 (100%)
Once a week 117 (29.1%) 212 (52.7%) 48 (11.9%) 25 (6.2%) 402 (100%)
Total 221 (26.9%) 421 (51.3%) 112 (13.6%) 67 (8.2%) 821 (100%)

Note: Percentages reflect the row values.                   Pearson chi2(6) = 21.07 (p = 0.002)

Table 6: Ordinary Least Squares Regression Predicting Self-Reported Reading Pleasure

No. of Observations 806
F (4, 801) 15.5
Prob > F 0.000
Adj. R-square 0.012
Coef. t-statistic P > |t|
Self-Selection vs. Teacher-Assigned 0.455 6.93 0.000
Gender 0.132 2.22 0.027
Age 0.016 0.36 0.356
Reading Frequency 0.101 3.06 0.002
Constant 1.153 4.28 0.000


Appendix A

Script: “Hey! I’m ___ and I’m taking a course in Young Adult Literature at St. John’s University. One of my assignments requires me to survey people from twelve to eighteen years of age about reading. Are you in that age category? [Continue if they respond “yes”; stop and thank them if they respond “no.”] Would you be interested in taking this survey? It only takes a couple of minutes and is completely anonymous and pain free. If you don’t want to, that’s okay; and if you decide to but change your mind in the middle, that’s okay too. [If they ask why you want to know about their reading habits—explain that the survey and research will help librarians understand what types of books and materials we need to buy to better serve people their age.]

About Anna Lam

Anna Lam is a Communications Specialist for the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).
This entry was posted in The Future of Library Services for and with Teens, Volume 6: March 2015 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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