Understanding children’s reading activities: reading motivation, skill and child characteristics as predictors

Sarah P. McGeown (Lead / Corresponding author), Cara Osborne, Amy Warhurst, Roger Norgate, Lynne G. Duncan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined the extent to which a range of child characteristics (sex, age, socioeconomic status, reading skill and intrinsic and extrinsic reading motivation) predicted engagement (i.e., time spent) in different reading activities (fiction books, factual books, school textbooks, comics, magazines and digital texts). In total, 791 children (aged 8 – 11) participated. There was considerable variation in the factors predicting engagement in different reading activities. Although intrinsic reading motivation was a good predictor of recreational book reading, age was a stronger predictor of engagement with digital texts.
Furthermore, specific dimensions of motivation predicted engagement in different reading activities; being motivated to read challenging texts predicted recreational book reading, whereas being motivated to achieve good grades predicted school book reading. On the other hand, social reasons predicted engagement with magazines and comics. Implications for education and the relationship between child characteristics and choice of reading activities
are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-125
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Research in Reading
Issue number1
Early online date7 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2016


  • Reading motivation
  • Attitudes to reading
  • Literacy practices


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