Date of Award

January 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning

First Advisor

Shelby Barrentine


Researchers have found that motivation has a significant positive effect on the success students experience in reading. A concern is that students are not finding reading pleasurable; and therefore, are not motivated to read. This, in turn, may be affecting their academic achievement in reading.

The purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate the relationship between a student’s motivation to read and their academic achievement in reading. First, the level of elementary students’ motivation to read, along with factors affecting this motivation were examined. Additionally, the relationship between a student’s motivation to read and their academic achievement in reading was tested, along with grade and gender differences related to these relationships.

The Reading Survey portion of Gambrell, Martin Palmer, Codling, and Anders Mazzoni’s (1996) Motivation to Read Profile was used to assess 383 students from Grades 3-5 residing in a midwestern city. Students’ Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment scores (Minnesota Department of Education, 2014a) and Fountas and Pinnell’s Reading Benchmark Assessment levels (Fountas & Pinnell, 2008) were used to measure reading achievement. As an additional measure, teacher rating scales were utilized to evaluate students’ reading motivation and achievement levels.

The Motivation to Read Profile (MRP) indicated that students displayed a high level of motivation to read. In addition, their levels of competence and value related to their reading motivation were comparable. Teacher ratings of student motivation displayed more varied responses related to their motivational levels. The analysis also showed positive correlations between a child’s motivation to read and the following four factors: student choice, social interaction, teacher modeling, and home literacy. Results confirmed positive correlations between reading motivation and academic achievement in reading.

On average, girls displayed higher reading motivation and achievement than boys. Students from lower grade levels placed higher values on reading than older students. Third grade students displayed greater means than fourth grade students on the self-concept subscale. Students from higher grades displayed greater means related to how their teacher rated their reading motivation. In addition, fifth grade students on average displayed better reading achievement than third and fourth grade students.

In relation to the motivation scales (self-concept and value subscale from the MRP, along with the teacher rating scale of motivation), most gender and grade level groups significantly correlated with the three indices of achievement (with the exception of the value subscale).

Results have several implications for theory, research, and practice. First, this study expands the connection between the expectancy-value theory and reading by displaying the impact they have on one another. Second, it helps advance the methodology commonly utilized to examine these topics, as a combination of assessment techniques were included to measure reading motivation and achievement. The results of this study also have implications to help teachers and administrators make appropriate curricular and instructional decisions. Lastly, results may benefit education programs at the university level. By bridging the gap between theory and practice, pre-service teachers will be able to see how learned theories are applied in a classroom setting.