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A survey and analysis of middle school student voluntary independent reading behaviors

, University of Oregon, United States

University of Oregon . Awarded


As part of a survey and correlational research design, this study used a web-based survey to collect descriptive data on the voluntary independent reading (VIR) behaviors of a convenience sample of 1,603 middle school students in Oregon. On average, participants reported reading 2 hours and 21 minutes over a 24-hour period, which was considerably more than reported in previously published research. Participants reported reading more electronic than printed texts, and popular topics included reading text by and about friends, adventure and action, and novels and stories. Most frequently read media included books, text messages, email, websites, and printed magazines. Statistically significant relations were obtained between amounts of VIR time and (a) academic performance (measured by participant language arts and math course grades), (b) reading achievement (measured by participant performance on the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills Reading and Literature Test), and (c) demographics (e.g. gender, grade level, ethnicity, socioeconomic level). These positive associations indicated that the participants in this sample who reported engaging in more VIR time also realized higher levels of academic performance and had attained a higher reading proficiency level. In general, relative to their peers, middle school students who were female, older, and of higher socioeconomic level and had cell phone access (especially cell phones with Internet access) engaged in VIR more often and for more total time. By examining these findings, educators and policymakers may more effectively understand the VIR behaviors of middle school students. This understanding may lead to improved instructional and program design, as well as increased learning, achievement, and total time students engage in VIR.


McDougal, P. A survey and analysis of middle school student voluntary independent reading behaviors. Ph.D. thesis, University of Oregon. Retrieved October 23, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 22, 2013. [Original Record]

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