Children’s motivation to excel in school starts to decrease in first grade. As students are more aware of their performance in comparison to their peers and academic content becomes less appealing, student intrinsic motivation suffers (Edmunds & Tancock, 2003, p. 18). Teachers are continuously looking for ways to motivate their students to read more. A popular strategy is providing students with incentives or extrinisic rewards. Previous studies proved that these incentives do not affect student motivation to read and “undermine intrinsic motivation,” (Edmunds & Tancock, 2003, p. 18). Despite evidence that these reward programs do not encourage a love for reading in students, many school districts implement these types of programs. School districts are finding more success when providing access to a variety of books and have incentives directly relate to reading are proven more successful with keeping students motivated.
Kathryn M. Edmunds and Susan M. Tancock wanted to study this topic further and try and understand the best strategies to increase interest and motivation to read. In the article Incentives: The Effects on the Reading Motivation of Fourth-Grade Students, Edmunds and Tancock attempt to uncover if incentives unrelated to reading, incentives directly related to reading or no incentives at all will help motivate fourth grade students to read.
Summary of Study
By sampling six fourth grade classes in the same school in a southern American state, Edmunds and Tancocktested their hypothesis. The pair used two classes as the control group, two classes as a treatment group that received extrinisic rewards that were not relavant to language arts. These three groups helped researchers test their hypot...
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...apricipants in this study already used a program to help students improve in reading, Accelerated Reader Program and that could be affecting the results. The study could yield better results if the researchers repeated the same study, but no longer used the Accelerated Reader Program. Conducting the study with the same framework to test motivation based on rewards would allow researchers to see if the Accelerated Reader Program was a motivator initself.
The conclusion of the study is a reminder for all educators to continue to developing their strategies and techniques to motivate students in the classroom. Not all students learn the same way and not all strategies will motivate students. The biggest takeaway of this study is the reminder that educators should expand their practice and consider multiple approaches to help students become life long learners.
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