Teenage reading: personal reading beyond school; habits, attitudes and beliefs
Taylor, John Forsyth
This report presents the findings of research, undertaken in 2008/2009, that sought to explore the habits, attitudes and beliefs of a group of teenagers with particular reference to the personal reading they did outside of school hours. Specifically the research project investigated both the traditional and digital reading the teenagers did and sought to place this reading in the context of other activities they took part in and commitments they had. In addition the research interrogated their attitudes and beliefs around reading and explored their views of the changing nature of reading. The six participants were older (17 and 18 year old) 'teenagers', senior students at a large urban secondary school in the southern part of Aotearoa/New Zealand. All identified themselves as keen, successful readers and were, relatively, academically able. Located predominantly within a qualitative research paradigm, the project was grounded in a socio-cultural-historical context (Mutch, 2005) and employed a largely social constructionist approach (Crotty, 1998). The researcher's intention was to co-construct the project with the participants and thus to employ an emergent design where participant voices would be the key factor in both the process and outcome of the project. The methodology used can, however, most accurately be defined as 'mixed method' (R. Burke-Johnson, A. J. Onwuegbuzie, 2004) since the data was ultimately collected using both qualitative and quantitative strategies and tools, some suggested by the researcher and some driven by the participants. The research highlighted the evolutionary nature of reading. In particular the project underlined the fact that these teenagers living in the early twenty first century are exposed to, and engage freely in, both traditional and digital reading, that reading is important to them despite the fact that other activities in their busy lives constrain the amount of reading they can do and that they cannot easily conceive of a world where books are superseded by technological mechanisms as the primary source of reading material. The research findings concluded therefore, that the teenagers who participated in this project are members of a cuspal generation. As such their habits, attitudes and beliefs reflect the tensions between traditional notions of reading for pleasure and emerging ones, and can provide us with indicative information and insights as to how reading might continue to evolve.
Advisor: Young, Sharon
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Curriculum Development and Teaching
Research Type: Thesis
Description: vi, 102,  leaves : forms ; 30 cm. Notes: "June 2010". University of Otago department: Education. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Otago, 2010. Includes bibliographical references.