Examining the effects of scaffolding middle school students' self-selected book choices on summer reading practices

Examining the effects of scaffolding middle school students' self-selected book choices on summer reading practices

First Author: Lauren Capotosto -- College of the Holy Cross
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of scaffolding middle school students’ self-selected book choices before summer break and providing students with free access to self-selected books on students’ summer reading habits and experiences.
Method: Two Grade 7 classes taught by the same teacher at one urban public middle school were randomly assigned to either a treatment or control group (n = 34 students). The 3-week treatment involved two components: a) scaffolding students’ book choices through the use of book trailers, peer recommendations, and book speed dating, and b) providing students with their three top self-selected books. Students in the control group received business as usual instruction.
Results: Students in the treatment class were significantly more likely to read at least one book during the summer than students in the control class. Whereas 44% of the students in the control group reported not reading a single book during the summer, only 5% of students in the control group did not read a book (t = 2.85, p = 0.008). Moreover, students in the treatment group read significantly more nonfiction books than students in the control group (t = 2.69, p = 0.01). Whereas students in the control class described selecting books that were easily accessible in the home or easy to read, students in the treatment class described selecting challenging books that introduced them to new topics.
Conclusions: Scaffolding adolescents' self-selection of books and expanding their reading interests, coupled with providing access to books, can positively impact summer reading practices.