What is this study trying to achieve?
The goal of the study will be to assess whether reading environment and/or reading materials affect a student’s reading enjoyability (OK, so it’s not a word. It gets the point across, though.) in the classroom.
Why is it being done?
Theorized that the more a student enjoys reading, the more he/she will read, which will eventually affect test scores and future academic work.
When looking at students’ reading scores and interest, should the what and the where be a considerable factor in increasing levels?
My theory is that when students are being told “what” is good enough for reading (books versus magazines and graphic novels, for example) or when being forced to read in an uncomfortable, strict setting (i.e. desks), students are less likely to view reading as an enjoyable habit and more likely to view it as another school activity, to be set aside when the school day is done.
What is the standard operating procedure during “reading” time for fourth-grade students?
Do classrooms offer special seating areas for reading? (Comfortable spaces, such as bean bag chairs, comfy sofas, floor mats, etc.)
Do classrooms offer alternative reading materials, such as comic books and graphic novels, manga, magazines, video game guides, large-print books, etc.?
How big of a role does the environment play in a child’s willingness to read “for fun”?
How big of a role does the type of materials offered play in a child’s willingness to read?
Literature review - Finding sources that provide links between reading and test scores/future success. (I know from previous research that it exists!) On the flip side, if I find research that says otherwise (doubtful, but will keep an open mind), how would this change my proposal?
1. Obviously I will do the literature review looking for links between reading and academic success. This research has been done before, and I would not need to cover old bases.
2. The students and teachers would have individual questionnaires at the beginning and end of each school year to determine how the students feel about and respond to reading.
3. Ideally, four classrooms would be involved (not necessarily at the same school): a) a control classroom, where nothing changes. The primary form of reading will remain books, as usual, and students will read at their desks. b) an environmental change classroom – in the corner (or wherever is convenient) of the room will be a reading spot with comfy seating, places to lie down, etc. Standard reading materials will be offered. c) a classroom with the standard environment (desks only), but a larger variety of reading material can be offered, such as magazines, video game guides, manga, comic books, etc. Possibly partner with a local library to be able to offer a larger variety that can switch out with regularity. d) a classroom with both environmental and reading material adaptations.
1. The primary method of research would be the use of human subjects. I would need to determine a time frame that gets a good sample number, a location to get a large demographic variety, and a proper number of subjects that would allow the research to accurately represent the age group.
2. In order to make sure that any information gathered isn’t just determined by a specific teacher and/or class, ideally the research would continue for at least a 2-3 year period for the same age group, possibly switching up the teacher that manages each classroom style. That would increase the number of subjects for each group, as well as hopefully balance the amount of teacher influence has on the results. It’d be my hope that this would increase the validity of the study.
Is this proposal fixed, flexible or multistrategy?
Honestly, I don’t know yet…it is an evaluative study. Because it’s a focus on processes, the book recommends a flexible design. Additionally, because action research would be in play – through the use of involvement from teachers and students – flexible case study would also be beneficial.