The voluntary reading habits of 10 - 12 year olds: a survey analysed with reference to scores on Cattell's children's personality questionnaire

Blackburn, Jennifer C (1985). The voluntary reading habits of 10 - 12 year olds: a survey analysed with reference to scores on Cattell's children's personality questionnaire. MPhil thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.00010103

Abstract

The entire First Year (n = 85) of a small Catholic Comprehensive school was surveyed in order to investigate voluntary reading habits. These pupils had at 10+ answered the Primary Questionnaire, and subsequently at 12+ reported on one month's reading, using a specially developed measure.

The study's main phase, however, assessed pupils aged 11+. Half the group recorded their reading on Book Forms while the other matched half were controls. A Secondary Questionnaire administered before and after the five-week experiment found no significant differences in numbers of books read.

All the children filled in time-sampling Diaries on three occasions during the experimental period, and the advantages of this method of establishing how much voluntary reading is undertaken are discussed. A sub-group of particularly 'avid' readers was distinguished and compared to the others, with especial reference to whether books were finished or not and whether they had been read previously. Girls were found to be more avid than boys on various measures. Analysis of the reasons for choice recorded in the Book Forms, together with other evidence, suggested that one of the reasons why the children did not read more was that they lacked the skill to choose books they would enjoy from the thousands available, and that the selection strategies they did employ were likely to lead to disappointment.

Finally, Cattell's Children's Personality Questionnaire was administered to all pupils. The avid readers tended to be more intelligent, more stable emotionally and less excitable than the others. If they were girls, they were also more vigorous and zestful than other girls; if boys, they were more self-controlled, with a stronger self-concept than other boys. These and other significant findings may indicate some of the personal qualities which sustained book- reading requires, and thus contribute towards an explanation of the variation in voluntary reading habits in these children.

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