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Reading Attitude as a Mediator Between Contextual Factors and Reading Behavior


by Hyo Jin Lim, Mimi Bong & Yeonkyung Woo - 2015

Background: Among the factors known to influence reading development and performance, attitude toward reading is shown to be particularly critical for developing learners. Reading attitude (McKenna, 1994; McKenna et al., 1995) enhances independent reading, levels of engagement in classroom reading activities, and the amount and variety of topics in reading, which in turn influence reading skills and strategies. Reading attitude is an important element in studentsí active engagement and achievement in reading.

Purpose: The first purpose of this study was to test whether Korean studentsí home literacy resources, parental support and parentsí reading attitude, and teachersí use of instructional strategies in relation to reading could predict Korean studentsí reading attitude. The second purpose was to test a model linking family- and school-related factors, reading attitude, and reading behaviors and learning strategy use as outcomes. Specifically, we hypothesized that positive and negative attitudes toward reading would mediate the relationships between home, parent, and teacher variables and reading outcomes.

Design: Using a nationally representative sample from the PISA 2009 database, we tested two structural equation models. Because there were two categories of outcomes examined in this study, we fitted the model separately for each outcome category. The first model (Reading Behavior Model) included reading activities such as reading for enjoyment, reading diversity, and online reading as outcome variables. The second model (Learning Strategy Model) shared the same model structure with the first one except that the outcome variables were use of learning strategies such as memorization, elaboration, and control. In both models, reading attitudes were hypothesized to mediate the relationship between contextual factors (i.e. gender, home resources, parental and teacher influences) and the reading/learning outcomes.

Conclusions: Gender, books and other types of literacy resources in the home, and parentsí attitudes toward reading functioned as consistent predictors of Korean studentsí positive and negative attitudes toward reading. Among the contextual factors, parentsí reading attitude and parental support for reading directly as well as indirectly predicted studentsí reading behaviors via studentsí reading attitude. Parental support for reading and teachersí instruction and assignment strategies in reading directly predicted studentsí use of learning strategies as well. Positive attitudes toward reading also predicted studentsí use of memorization, elaboration, and control strategies. Thus, reading attitude was an important mediator between parent- and teacher-related contextual factors and reading/learning engagement of Korean adolescents.




ARTICLE SUMMARY


We examined how attitudes toward reading mediated the relationships between Korean adolescents’ reading environments and reading behaviors, using a nationally representative sample from the PISA 2009 database. Gender, home literacy resources, parents’ reading attitude, and parental support for reading were all significant predictors of Korean adolescents’ reading attitude. Having positive reading attitude, in turn, was positively associated with reading for pleasure, reading diverse types of materials, and application of various learning strategies.


STRUCTURED ABSTRACT


Background: Among the factors known to influence reading development and performance, attitude toward reading is shown to be particularly critical for developing learners. Reading attitude (McKenna, 1994; McKenna et al., 1995) enhances independent reading, levels of engagement in classroom reading activities, and the amount and variety of topics in reading, which in turn influence reading skills and strategies. Reading attitude is an important element in students’ active engagement and achievement in reading.


Purpose: The first purpose of this study was to test whether Korean students’ home literacy resources, parental support and parents’ reading attitude, and teachers’ use of instructional strategies in relation to reading could predict Korean students’ reading attitude. The second purpose was to test a model linking family- and school-related factors, reading attitude, and reading behaviors and learning strategy use as outcomes. Specifically, we hypothesized that positive and negative attitudes toward reading would mediate the relationships between home, parent, and teacher variables and reading outcomes.


Design: Using a nationally representative sample from the PISA 2009 database, we tested two structural equation models. Because there were two categories of outcomes examined in this study, we fitted the model separately for each outcome category. The first model (Reading Behavior Model) included reading activities such as reading for enjoyment, reading diversity, and online reading as outcome variables. The second model (Learning Strategy Model) shared the same model structure with the first one except that the outcome variables were use of learning strategies such as memorization, elaboration, and control. In both models, reading attitudes were hypothesized to mediate the relationship between contextual factors (i.e. gender, home resources, parental and teacher influences) and the reading/learning outcomes.


Conclusions: Gender, books and other types of literacy resources in the home, and parents’ attitudes toward reading functioned as consistent predictors of Korean students’ positive and negative attitudes toward reading. Among the contextual factors, parents’ reading attitude and parental support for reading directly as well as indirectly predicted students’ reading behaviors via students’ reading attitude. Parental support for reading and teachers’ instruction and assignment strategies in reading directly predicted students’ use of learning strategies as well. Positive attitudes toward reading also predicted students’ use of memorization, elaboration, and control strategies. Thus, reading attitude was an important mediator between parent- and teacher-related contextual factors and reading/learning engagement of Korean adolescents.


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


Background: Attitude toward reading is shown to be particularly critical for reading development and performance. Reading attitude enhances independent reading, levels of engagement in classroom reading activities, and the amount and variety of topics in reading, which in turn influence reading skills and strategies.

Reading attitude model. McKenna’s model of reading attitude focuses on the social and attitudinal factors that promote reading. According to the theory, the acquisition of reading attitude depends on both direct and indirect factors. A direct influence on reading attitude acquisition has to do with individuals’ normative beliefs (i.e., the extent to which significant others in one’s life value reading). Parental encouragement of reading, along with reading-related resources, for example, correlates positively with the students’ reading habits. Another direct influence on reading attitude acquisition is related to the beliefs about the outcomes of reading (i.e., whether reading will lead to such positive outcomes as pleasure, utility, and rewards, or negative outcomes as frustration and boredom). An indirect influence, such as teachers’ reading instructional strategies, also affects the acquisition of reading attitude. Teachers’ use of scaffolding and encouragement of student self-regulation predict student engagement in reading. Also, teachers’ positive modeling facilitates students’ reading engagement such that teachers’ attitudes toward books and reading influence their students’ reading attitude and reading habits. Teachers’ instructional strategies and support in reading and literacy classes as well as teachers’ own literacy practices further help shape students’ reading attitude and reading ability. Finally, indirect home and social factors such as home resources and literacy environment (i.e. SES, number of books, parental education level, etc.) also affect the acquisition of reading attitude.

Learning strategies and reading attitudes. Use of learning strategies in the domain of reading is evidence that readers invest in intentional mental processes to acquire new knowledge and skills during text processing. Skilled readers monitor their comprehension and subsequently use metacognitive strategies to regulate their reading processes as well as learning outcomes. Positive reading attitude and effective strategy use work together for better reading engagement.

Online reading. As the Internet and websites have become important reading resources, reading in the digital environment is ever increasing, particularly for adolescents and young adults. The adolescents’ multi-literacy has become overwhelmingly apparent. Most adolescents consider electronic literacy as a legitimate form of communication and a source of information gathering for both personal and academic purposes.


Research Purposes: The overall purpose of this study was to examine the mediating role of reading attitude between contextual factors and learning/reading outcomes. The first objective was to test whether Korean high school students’ reading attitude was predicted by their home literacy resources, parental support and parents’ reading attitude, and teachers’ use of instructional strategies in relation to reading. We hypothesized that these external sources, along with students’ gender, would directly predict students’ reading behaviors. The second objective was to test the mediating role of positive and negative attitudes toward reading in the relationship between the aforementioned external sources and students’ online/offline reading behaviors and learning strategy use. By examining the structural pattern between the hypothesized predictors and reading outcomes, we checked to see if findings from the English-speaking cultures were generalizable to the non-English-speaking population such as Korean adolescents, using a nationally representative dataset (PISA 2009).


Population and Data Collection: Publicly available data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2009 were used for this study. PISA 2009 provides rich information regarding student, parent, and school characteristics in relation to reading literacy. The final sample used in this study included 4,988 Korean students (48.1% girls) from 157 high schools.


Research Design (& Analysis): Variables for this study were selected from the Student and Parent Questionnaires of the PISA 2009 database. Home literacy resources (number of books, other types of literacy resources), parent-related variables (parental reading attitudes and enjoyment, reading support), and teacher-related variables (use of reading instructional and scaffolding strategy) were included as predictors of student reading attitude and reading behaviors. Models also included positive and negative reading attitudes and the use of learning strategies (memorization, elaboration, control). Finally, online and offline reading activities and diversity of reading materials were also used as indicators of reading behaviors.

We first performed confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to investigate the factor structure and to test a measurement model. We then tested structural relationships among the hypothesized predictors and outcomes, with positive and negative reading attitudes as mediators. Because there were two categories of outcomes examined in this study, we fitted the model separately for each outcome category. The first model (Reading Behavior Model) included reading activities such as reading for enjoyment, reading diversity, and online reading as outcome variables. The second model (Learning Strategy Model) shared the same model structure with the first one except that the outcome variables were use of learning strategies such as memorization, elaboration, and control.


Findings and Conclusions: 1. Positive attitudes toward reading, in comparison to negative attitudes, emerged as a more consistent predictor of student reading behaviors and strategy use, as well as a more effective mediator of contextual factors on student reading outcomes. Korean adolescents’ belief that reading was an important and worthwhile activity was a strong determinant of how much time they spent reading for their own enjoyment and whether or not they read a wide variety of reading materials.


2. Gender, home literacy resources, parents’ reading attitude, and parental support for reading were all significant predictors of Korean adolescents’ reading attitude. Having positive reading attitude in turn helped students apply various learning strategies, read for pleasure, and read more diverse types of reading materials. The number of books and other types of printed literacy materials at home were also important for Korean adolescents to develop positive reading attitude. Parents’ own reading habits and reading attitude as well as the support they provide for their child’s reading activities all contributed directly and indirectly to the child’s reading outcomes.


Adolescents whose parents spent time reading for enjoyment read more for enjoyment and read more diverse types of reading materials. Those who received greater support for reading from their parents tended to use more learning strategies and engaged in more online reading behavior.

Given the direct and mediating role of reading attitude in determining the type and frequency of reading activities students engage in and the relative importance of positive rather than negative reading attitude, parents and teachers are advised to concentrate their effort on enhancing positive reading attitude among students rather than trying to lessen negative reading attitude students might already possess.


3. Overall, teachers’ instructional strategies helped the participating Korean students to use diverse learning strategies more frequently. Teachers’ use of reading and assignment strategies in reading and literacy instruction positively predicted students’ use of memorization and elaboration strategies. Teachers’ reading strategy also predicted students’ use of control strategies. It thus appears that teachers’ use of effective instructional reading strategies helps students develop their own reading and self-regulatory strategies.


The present findings provide empirical support for the claim that home- and school-related literacy environment should be conceptualized more broadly to encompass parent- and teacher-social factors. Changes in children and adolescents’ reading motivation do not occur in a short period, as their attitudes toward reading are formulated gradually over time through continuous social interactions with their parents and teachers.


4. Online reading emerged as a new and valid form of reading for Korean adolescents. Electronic environments have already started to make extensive use of multimedia and computer-based texts, providing students with new avenues through which to read and learn. It seems unavoidable that reading electronic texts will only increase in its importance, especially for adolescent populations, as a complementary or even a substitute form of reading to the traditional, paper-based form of reading. In this study, both positive and negative reading attitude of the students predicted increased online reading activities involving electronic sources. Systematic investigations of adolescents’ online reading behavior and factors influencing it are needed before we can help improve their reading competencies using the new media.


INTRODUCTION


Reading is an essential contributor to academic success. Reading promotes learning in all subject matter areas by helping students improve their vocabulary, reading skills, and strategies, which are necessary for comprehending texts. A successful start in reading continues to be vitally important through secondary school, as students who lack literacy skills find it more difficult to graduate and go through postsecondary education (Adams, 1990; Cunningham & Stanovich, 1997). It is no surprise that researchers have been trying to pinpoint educational and psychological variables that can explain and predict variations in reading achievement (e.g., Baker & Wigfield, 1999; Butler, Marsh, Sheppard, & Sheppard, 1985; Pollyann & Onwuegbuzie, 2001; Rowe, 1995).


Among the factors known to influence reading development and performance, attitude toward reading is shown to be particularly critical for developing learners. Reading attitude enhances independent reading, levels of engagement in classroom reading activities, and the amount and variety of topics in reading (Logan & Johnston, 2009), which in turn influence reading skills and strategies (Martínez, Aricak, & Jewell, 2008). Successful reading requires a complex and multifaceted set of skills and cannot be explained by any single factor. For example, reading engagement is necessary because it integrates not only attitudinal dimensions but also cognitive and motivational dimensions of reading that can improve literacy achievement (Guthrie & Wigfield, 2000). The PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) framework for reading literacy also defines reading engagement as “the motivational attributes and behavioral characteristics of students’ reading” (OECD, 2010, p. 70). In this study, we emphasized the mediating role that reading attitude plays between students’ environment and reading behaviors, as suggested by various reading engagement models (Guthrie & Wigfield, 2000; McKenna, 1994; McKenna, Kear, & Ellsworth, 1995).


THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK


Our research was based on the tenets of reading engagement models with a specific focus on the role of reading attitude. Several characteristics of the assessment framework of PISA 2009, as documented in the OECD report (2010), deserve particular attention in relation to the present investigation. First, the PISA 2009 assessment framework emphasizes the importance of reading engagement in its broad sense. Consistent with the shared assumptions of various reading engagement models (Guthrie & Wigfield, 2000; Guthrie, Wigfield, & VonSecker, 2000; McKenna et al., 1995), the framework explicitly recognizes that reading literacy involves more than reading skills and knowledge but encompasses reading motivation, attitude, and behavior. Second, the PISA 2009 framework defines and assesses reading engagement not only at the individual student level but also in the context of home and classroom environment. Parents’ own reading engagement and support for their child’ reading behaviors at home as well as teachers’ instructional strategies in the classroom are thus hypothesized to function as important resources for students’ reading development. Third, the PISA 2009 framework considers metacognition as an important aspect of learning closely related to reading proficiency. The framework defines metacognition in reading as “the awareness of and ability to use a variety of appropriate strategies when processing texts in a goal oriented manner” (OECD, 2010, p. 72) and includes assessment of relevant strategies accordingly.


We constructed our model based on both the theoretical tenets and findings of reading engagement literature and the assessment framework of PISA 2009. In an effort to contribute to the growing body of reading research, we examined the role of home literacy resources and parent- and teacher-related variables together in adolescents’ reading attitude. We further investigated how these contextual variables predict students’ reading behaviors and use of learning strategies, using a nationally representative sample of Korean high school students in the PISA 2009 database. Below we further elaborate on the research and theory that formed the basis of our model.


READING ENGAGEMENT AND READING ATTITUDE


Reading Engagement Models


As discussed earlier, reading engagement models present a broader picture of reading activities by explaining the role of motivational and cognitive components in reading (Guthrie et al., 2000). Reading engagement includes readers’ beliefs, attitudes, motivation, and use of cognitive strategies during reading. Guthrie and Wigfield (2000) argued that engaged readers “coordinate their strategies and knowledge (cognition) within a community of literacy (social) in order to fulfill their personal goals, desires, and intentions (motivation)” (p. 404). Later, Guthrie et al. (2004) proposed that engaged readers are “intrinsically motivated” and “energized, active, effortful, and involved in reading” (p. 404). Engaged readers also tend to activate and make good use of various higher order learning strategies for reading and understanding texts (Dole, Duffy, Roehler, & Pearson, 1991), consistent with the assumptions in the PISA 2009 assessment framework (OECD, 2010). Previous research has shown that students’ levels of reading engagement significantly and positively correlate with their reading achievement (Baker, Dreher, & Guthrie, 2000; Guthrie et al., 2004).


Reading Attitude


Swalander and Taube (2007) conceptualized reading attitude as “a disposition that responds in a favorable or unfavorable manner in relation to reading” (p. 208). Overall, attitudes toward reading represent how individuals feel about reading and what type of reactions they have to it. Students with positive attitudes toward reading feel that reading is pleasurable, whereas those with negative attitudes do not. The more positive students’ reading attitude is, the more likely students will engage in reading activities (Logan & Johnston, 2009; Martínez, Aricak, & Jewell, 2008; Sainsbury & Schagen, 2004).


Social and environmental factors that promote reading are also important in the formation of reading attitude. McKenna and his colleagues, for example, proposed a model for reading attitude acquisition that identifies both direct and indirect factors influencing individuals’ reading attitude (McKenna, 1994; McKenna et al., 1995). The three factors hypothesized to exert a direct influence on reading attitude include normative beliefs (i.e., the extent to which significant others in one’s life value reading), beliefs about the outcomes of reading (i.e., whether reading will lead to positive outcomes such as pleasure, utility, and rewards or negative outcomes such as frustration and boredom), and specific reading experiences. The factors hypothesized to exert an indirect influence on reading attitude include social structure and environment (McKenna et al., 1995).


Researchers acknowledge the close connection between reading engagement and reading attitude. Whereas cognitive, motivational, social, and behavioral manifestations of reading are all considered as valid indicators of reading engagement, reading attitude as a concept focuses more narrowly on the motivational properties of reading engagement (Matthewson, 1985). As such, models of reading attitude tend to stress the likes and dislikes of reading, while those of reading engagement often discuss multiple reasons for reading such as intrinsic, extrinsic, and social reasons (Wigfield & Guthrie, 1995). Despite these differences, both models are similar in their understandings of the factors affecting reading achievement and in their emphases on the importance of social aspects as facilitators of individuals’ motivation to read. Models of reading attitude highlight social structure and environment that influence individuals’ decision to read. In comparison, models of reading engagement emphasize social support that enables individuals to interact actively with the text in front of them (Guthrie & Wigfield, 2000; McKenna et al., 1995; see also Klauda, 2009).


Because of its narrower focus on motivational aspects of reading, reading attitude is often viewed as a predictor of reading engagement (Ruddell & Speaker, 1985). The PISA 2009 assessment framework describes readers with positive attitudes toward reading as follows: “[e]ngaged readers possess well-formed interests and favorite topics or types of reading material (interest); . . . they rely on social network to extend their competencies and share their knowledge and experience (social disposition)” (OECD, 2010, p. 70). Accordingly, we defined reading attitude as students’ disposition to read literature for enjoyment and the extent to which they engage in social interaction through reading activities. We took a comprehensive approach by focusing on the similarities more than the differences between the concepts of reading attitude and reading engagement in the present investigation.


GENDER AND HOME LITERACY RESOURCES


Gender


Gender is an important factor to consider in the research on reading attitude. Girls generally have more positive attitudes toward reading than boys do (Coles & Hall, 2002), which is a well-established phenomenon across all school age groups (Kush & Watkins, 1996; Sainsbury & Schagen, 2004). Not only are girls more willing to read compared with boys, they also attain better reading skills than boys do (Mullis, Martin, Gonzalez, & Kennedy, 2003; Mullis, Martin, Kennedy, & Foy, 2007; Swalander & Taube, 2007). Analyses of the large-scale data across countries also consistently demonstrate that girls outperform boys in terms of both reading attitude and reading ability (Chiu & McBride-Chang, 2006; Ogle et al., 2003). Still, the gender gap in reading attitude is even greater in magnitude than the gender gap in reading ability (Logan & Johnston, 2009). Of particular interest is the observation that girls’ advantage in reading attitude (i.e., greater positivity) is particularly pronounced in reading outside school. In Kush and Watkins (1996), for example, girls displayed more favorable attitudes toward reading than boys but this difference was seen mostly on recreational reading activities occurring outside the classroom. In this investigation, we tested gender difference in diverse reading behaviors to see if this pattern repeats itself among Korean adolescents.


Home literacy resources


Home literacy resources is often indexed as the accessibility to print materials and number of books in the home (Burgess, 2002; Conlon, Zimmer-Gembeck, Creed, & Tucker, 2006; Swalander & Taube, 2007). Results from large-scale international comparison studies such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA; OECD, 2001) and the Progress in International Reading and Literacy Study (PIRLS; Mullis et al., 2003; Mullis et al., 2007) show that students from low SES (socioeconomic status) families have fewer books of their own and fewer educational materials at home compared with students from high SES families. Low SES students also consistently demonstrate poorer reading ability compared to their high SES counterparts. Previous research has also indicated that students and parents in low SES communities are less likely to read for enjoyment at home, to use the library, or to read magazines and newspapers. These differences in the home literacy environment lead to significant differences in children’s reading achievement (van Schooten, de Glopper, & Stoel, 2004).


Still, there exist individual differences even among members of the same SES group in how they develop and maintain their reading attitudes and abilities. These differences cannot be adequately examined when investigators rely on SES as a sole measure of home environment. Noting this limitation, Burgess (2002) proposed the concept of home literacy environment (HLE). HLE encompassed diverse factors, including “limiting environment” (income, education, occupation, parental IQ, and parental reading ability/attitudes), “literacy interface” (parental views of the importance of literacy and educational outcomes), and “parental interest” (parental activities that encourage or discourage literacy or educational activities) (p. 722). Likewise, Swalander and Taube (2007) explored the relationship of reading with many family-based prerequisites for literacy. Family prerequisites included the father’s and mother’s education, the total number of books in the house, and any subscriptions to daily newspapers. This composite variable showed direct positive relationships with both reading ability and reading attitude of the child (Swalander & Taube, 2007). However, because the researchers combined SES (i.e., parents’ levels of education) and home resources (i.e., the number of books and subscriptions to newspapers) into a single variable, the unique predictive utility of each home resource variable could not be examined in isolation in their study. In the present study, we only included the number of books and types of reading materials available at home as indicators of home literacy resources.


EDUCATIONAL CONTEXTS FOR READING ENGAGEMENT


Parents’ Reading Attitude and Support for Reading


As pointed out above, home literacy resources may include more than the sheer volume of reading materials. Because reading is not a solitary activity and occurs within the social and cultural milieu, not only home literacy experiences but also parental attitudes toward reading exert a profound impact upon the child’s reading attitude and behavior (Beech, 1990). Newman (1986) argued that any evaluation of literacy resources in the home environment should include forms of support for reading and reading-related activities. We thus examined parents’ enjoyment of and attitudes toward reading and parents’ support for their child’s reading activities as possible predictors of students’ reading attitude and reading behaviors.


Compared to Swalander and Taube (2007) who stressed “static” variables in their conceptualization of family prerequisites, Newman (1986) emphasized “process” variables in the home literacy environment that might be associated with the child’s everyday leisure reading. As examples of such process variables, she assessed parents’ own reading behavior and the frequency of parents’ reading for their child, in addition to the availability of reading materials at home. Parental encouragement of reading, along with reading-related resources, correlated positively with the child’s engagement in leisure reading. Furthermore, even after controlling for SES, parental encouragement of reading continued to show a strong relation to the child’s involvement in reading.


Because children are likely to be influenced by their parents in general and their parents’ perspectives on reading in particular, it is not surprising that they usually attach higher value to reading if the parental figures put emphasis on reading or support their reading efforts (Guthrie & Davis, 2003; Klauda, 2009). Corroborating this view, Chen (2008) observed that parents’ visits to bookstores and the frequency of reading by parents were important predictors of Taiwanese students’ likelihood of becoming an avid reader. The author reported that parents’ reading attitude displayed a stronger association with the adolescents’ reading habits than did parents’ education levels or the availability of reading materials at home. Klauda’s (2009) extensive review of parental behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes toward reading also illustrates the importance of attitudinal and behavioral support from parents in the reading attitude and behaviors of the child. Parents’ “reading-supportive” behaviors such as providing books or other reading materials to their child, reading with their child, encouraging their child to read, and visiting the library and bookstores with their child demonstrate firm connections with their child’s motivation to read.


Teachers’ Instructional Strategies


Teachers also play a significant role in children’s reading development (Guthrie, Alao, & Reinhart, 1997; Guthrie & Davis, 2003). The PISA 2009 assessment framework also makes a strong case that provision of reading materials relevant to students’ personal experience and knowledge and support for students’ autonomy by the teachers will improve their students’ reading engagement (OECD, 2010). Wharton-McDonald, Pressley, and Hampston (1998) observed that, among many instructional practices and beliefs of teachers, extensive use of scaffolding, encouragement of student self-regulation, and a thorough integration of reading and writing activities led students to demonstrate the highest levels of engagement and achievement in reading and writing. Similarly, Taylor, Pearson, Peterson, and Rodriguez (2003) reported that teachers who guided their students to higher order thinking by asking them higher level questions, challenging them to use reading and writing strategies for the tasks assigned, and providing them with modeling and coaching while on tasks witnessed greater reading development among their students.


Especially for adolescent readers, provision of choice is another effective teaching strategy in literacy instruction (Wigfield, 2004; Wigfield & Guthrie, 1997). When students perceive that the teacher respects their right to make their own reading selections, they put in more effort by taking control over their own reading (Gambrell, 1996; Pitcher et al., 2007). Other studies also demonstrate that teachers’ attitudes toward reading influence their students’ reading attitude and reading habits (Morrow, 2003; Pitcher et al., 2007). Teachers’ instructional strategies and support in reading and literacy classes as well as teachers’ own literacy practices, therefore, help shape students’ reading attitude and reading ability.


READING BEHAVIORS AND USE OF LEARNING STRATEGIES


Engaged Reading Behaviors


Motivated readers tend to read more in a wide variety of topics. Wigfield and Guthrie (1997) found that reading motivation was a significant predictor of reading behaviors for 105 fourth and sixth graders. Cox and Guthrie’s (2001) study confirmed these results by demonstrating that motivation for reading remained a significant predictor of reading frequency and reading topic variety, after controlling for prior achievement and reported strategy use. Expanding upon this line of research, Wang and Guthrie (2004) reported a significant positive relationship between motivation to read and the amount of reading for enjoyment among both American and Chinese students. The researchers suggested that reading motivation promotes reading behaviors and these behaviors, in turn, improve reading literacy. Wang and Guthrie suggest that reading motivation mediates the influences of the home and classroom environments on students’ reading behaviors. Given the close alliance between reading motivation and reading attitude, we also hypothesized that reading attitude would function as an important mediator between contextual factors and students’ reading behaviors.


It is worth noting that the PISA 2009 assessment framework includes diverse types and patterns of reading behaviors as indicators of reading engagement with the recognition that reading behaviors in the future may not be the same to those at present. For instance, electronic environments have already started to make extensive use of multimedia and computer-based texts, providing students with a new medium through which to learn (Horney & Anderson-Inman, 1999). Reinking (2001) stated, “the inert features of the printed page that make reading essentially a solitary psycholinguistic process and only incidentally a visual one . . . are transformed on the computer screen to make reading more dynamic, more interactive, more essentially visual, and even auditory” (p. 195).


Websites on the Internet are seen as increasingly important reading resources, particularly for adolescents and young adults. Adolescents are more likely to be “literate and competent” in literacy activities such as media text, electronic games, electronic text messaging, and visual productions than in traditional reading activities (Alvermann, 2001; Smith & Wilhelm, 2004). Adolescents’ multiliteracies were apparent in Pitcher et al.’s (2007) interviews of students in Grades 6–12. Most of the students reported using computers at home and regularly sending e-mails and instant messages to their friends and family members. The students frequently mentioned electronic literacy as a legitimate form of communication and information gathering for both personal and academic purposes. Although a systematic investigation into the relationship between reading attitude and reading behaviors with electronic texts and resources is lacking, the relationships between computer use and academic achievement have proved to be inconsistent (Blanton, Moorman, Hayes, & Warner, 1997; Rocheleau, 1995). Therefore, we included online reading as an index of reading behaviors in this research.


Reading and Use of Learning Strategies


Use of learning strategies during reading indicates active and intentional mental engagement during text processing for acquiring knowledge and skills. Students must metacognitively monitor and regulate their comprehension processes if they want to understand the meaning of a text. Pressley and Ghatala (1990) proposed that skilled readers monitor their comprehension during reading and subsequently use this metacognitive information to regulate their reading processes and learning outcomes. They thus argued that strategy use during reading represents “self-regulated information processing,” which entails knowledge of important concepts, knowledge of cognitive strategies, and metacognition about how and when to use various strategies and knowledge types. Schunk and Zimmerman (1997) also noted that students’ self-efficacy and dispositions to read frequently increase as students’ strategy use increases. Effective strategy use, therefore, is a hallmark of highly engaged readers, along with positive reading attitude (Guthrie & Wigfield, 2000). Unfortunately, relatively little empirical research exists on the relationships between reading attitude, learning strategy use, and reading behaviors. We tried to generate empirical evidence in the current research that would help fill this void in the literature.


READING ATTITUDE AND READING BEHAVIORS OF KOREAN STUDENTS


Most of the studies discussed up to this point describe reading and literacy practices in Western English-speaking countries. Some of the findings, therefore, may not be entirely applicable to students in Eastern non-English-speaking countries. The motivational and attitudinal aspects of adolescents’ reading in Eastern cultures have not been widely studied (e.g., Chen, 2008; Lau & Cheng, 1988; Lee, 2007; Mok & Cheng, 2004). Some researchers conducted comparison studies of the developmental trends in reading attitude between Korean and American students (Noh, 2001; Yoon, 2007). For example, Yoon (2007) measured Korean elementary school students’ attitudes toward reading and compared these scores to those in McKenna et al.’s (1995) national survey data. Korean students’ reading attitude was significantly more positive than that of American students with respect to both academic and recreational reading. This discrepancy between the two populations was consistently observed across gender and grade levels, with the gap decreasing as the grade level increased.


Yoon and Kim (2008) examined Korean middle school students’ reading attitude using a newly developed scale. A total of 1,354 students in Grades 7–9 responded to the reading attitude scale that consisted of cognitive, affective, and behavioral elements. The results were generally in agreement with those form the Western studies. Girls showed more positive reading attitude than boys did at all grade levels and this gap increased with students’ grade level. Choi (2010) also examined the reading attitude of Korean middle school students, using the Motivation for Reading Questionnaire (Guthrie & Wigfield, 1997) and the Estes Attitude Scale (Dulin & Chester, 1974). A strong positive correlation between reading motivation and reading attitude emerged, which became stronger as the grade level increased. Lee (2007) also conducted a qualitative study of Korean adolescents’ reading habits, focusing on how motivated and engaged readers pursued diverse literacy activities in their leisure time. She found that home and cyberspace were the two primary locations for adolescents’ recreational reading and that students were not willing to share their reading experiences with their parents, although they viewed their homes as a place for private reading and as an outlet for computer/Internet-based activities. The author speculated that students were reluctant to share their reading experiences with their parents because Korean parents usually discourage leisure reading, especially through online activities, pressing their children to invest the time to study and achieve “academic” goals.


In contradiction of Korean parents’ unenthusiastic attitudes toward their child’s reading activities with online materials, Korea is regarded as the most wired nation with the fastest Internet connections in the world (Sutter, 2010). The Internet usage rate of Korean students aged 6–19 is 97.8%. In addition, approximately 83.6% of the middle school students and 89.3% of the high school students access the Internet through wireless connections (National Internet Development Agency of Korea [NIDA], 2005). Korea is also the top-performing country in digital reading assessment (DRA) in PISA 2009 (OECD, 2011). To capture these novel and relatively unique reading practices of Korean students adequately, we included separate indexes of online reading behaviors such as reading online news, using electronic sources (e.g., dictionary, encyclopedia, information search), and participating in online discussion in the present investigation.


CURRENT STUDY


Reading and literacy researchers have recognized reading attitude as an important variable for understanding children’s reading development. However, more evidence is needed to clarify its role in the complex interplay of diverse literacy resources and outcomes. Further, generalizability of the patterns identified in English-speaking countries to those in non-English-speaking countries need to be ascertained. We tried to address these issues in the present investigation. The first purpose of this study, therefore, was to replicate existing findings in reading attitude and reading engagement research with a sample of Korean adolescents, using a nationally representative dataset. A more specific research objective was to test whether Korean students’ home literacy resources, parental support and parents’ reading attitude, and teachers’ use of instructional strategies in relation to reading could predict Korean students’ reading attitude. The second purpose of this study was to test a model linking family- and school-related factors, reading attitude, and reading behaviors and learning strategy use as outcomes. Specifically, we hypothesized that positive and negative attitudes toward reading would mediate the relationships between home, parent, and teacher variables and reading outcomes. Finally, we explored whether the predictive patterns associated with reading attitude, obtained in reference to traditional types of reading, would be the same when the prediction involved online reading activities. Figure 1 presents a schematic representation of the hypothesized model.


METHOD


PARTICIPANTS


PISA 2009 assessed reading abilities and associated variables among approximately 470,000 15 year olds in 65 participating countries. We analyzed the PISA data from Korean high school students. In Korea, elementary, middle, and high schools offer 6, 3, and 3 years of schooling, respectively. High schools roughly correspond to U.S. Grades 10 to 12 and students are typically 15 to 16 years old at the time of entrance.

Missing values were imputed with a series mean (Little & Rubin, 2002) to create a complete dataset for analysis. We excluded one student from the sample because responses to all items were missing except for gender. The final sample contained 4,988 students (48.1% girls) from 157 schools.


MEASURES


We selected variables relevant to our research model from the Student and Parent Questionnaires of the PISA 2009 database. Because most of the data came from student responses, we only indicate the source when the variable comprised responses of parents.


Home Literacy Resources


There were two variables in this research that represented home literacy resources: book and other types of resources. One was the number of books available at home. Students indicated how many books were in their homes by selecting a response from 1 (0–10 books) to 6 (more than 500 books). Other types of literacy resources students could use at home came from the parent database. Specifically, we summed parents’ responses of yes (1) or no (0) to the questions of availability of the following three items to their child at home: a daily newspaper, a subscription to a journal or magazine, and books of his/her own (not counting schoolbooks). We did not include availability of email, online chatting, and Internet connection to the child at home as part of literacy resources because these variables lacked variability with means approaching 1.0, presumably reflecting the 97.8% of the Internet usage rate of Korean adolescents reported earlier (NIDA, 2005).


Parent Variables


We selected the following three variables from the Parent Questionnaires regarding their own reading engagement: reading for enjoyment, reading attitude, and support for reading. Parents’ reading for enjoyment was assessed by asking parents to report how much time they spent reading for their own enjoyment when they were at home, using response options ranging from 1 (more than 10 hours a week) to 4 (less than one hour a week). Parents’ reading attitude was assessed with four items such as, “Reading is one of my favorite hobbies,” with response options from 1 (strongly agree) to 4 (strongly disagree). Responses to negatively worded items were recoded so that higher scores indicate more positive attitude (α = .77). Parental support for reading was measured with eight items, asking about the frequency of various reading, literacy, and social activities parents perform with their child (e.g., discuss books, films or television programs, go to a bookstore or library, help with his/her homework). These literacy activities allow adolescents to actively engage in conversation and interact with their parents. The response options ranged from 1 (never or hardly ever) to 4 (every day or almost every day, α = .78).


Teacher Variables


Two measures in the survey asked students to report how often their language (i.e., Korean) teachers used various instructional strategies during class, related either to reading and literacy instruction (reading strategy) or to assignment, evaluation, and feedback (assignment strategy). Seven items assessed teachers’ reading strategies (e.g., “The teacher asks students to explain the meaning of a text,” “The teacher recommends a book or author to read”) and nine items assessed teachers’ assignment strategies (e.g., “The teacher discusses students’ work, after they have finished the reading assignment,” “The teacher tells students in advance how their work is going to be judged”). Students responded to these items using a response scale from 1 (never or hardly ever) to 4 (in all lessons). Both measures demonstrate acceptable reliability with αs = .82 for teachers’ reading strategy and .83 for teachers’ assignment strategy, respectively.


Reading Attitude


There were 11 items measuring students’ reading attitude in the PISA 2009 database. The response scale ranged from 1 (strongly disagree) to 4 (strongly agree). As part of our preliminary analyses checking the basic psychometric properties of all variables, we performed exploratory factor analysis (EFA) on these items to ascertain that they loaded on a single factor as presumed by the PISA 2009 assessment framework. As Table 1 presents, EFA with varimax rotation produced two latent reading attitude dimensions. Two factors with eigenvalues greater than one were extracted, accounting for 45% and 12% of the variance, respectively. One factor was composed of six items representing positive attitudes toward reading (e.g., “Reading is one of my favorite hobbies,” α = .85). The other factor was composed of five items representing negative attitudes toward reading (e.g., “For me, reading is a waste of time,” α = .78). All eleven items had acceptable loadings higher than .50 on their respective factor. We therefore specified reading attitude as two correlated yet independent factors, positive and negative reading attitude, in all subsequent analyses to help identify what distinctive relationships they had with other variables, if any.


Reading Behaviors


We selected the following three indexes of reading behaviors from the PISA 2009 database: reading for enjoyment, reading diversity, and online reading. Reading behaviors can serve as a proxy of reading practices defined as, “self-reported frequencies of participating in reading activities with diverse content in various media” (OECD, 2010, p. 70). For reading for enjoyment, students indicated how much time they usually spent reading for enjoyment, using options ranging from 1 (I do not read for enjoyment) to 5 (more than 2 hours a day). Reading diversity was assessed with five items asking about how often students engaged with various types of reading materials (e.g., magazines, comics, fiction, nonfiction books, newspapers) because they wanted to (α = .64). The response options ranged between 1 (never or almost never) and 5 (several times a week). Seven items concerning online reading asked students to indicate how often they were involved in different types of electronic reading activities such as reading emails and searching online information to learn about a particular topic (α = .72). The available responses ranged from 1 (I don’t know what it is) and then from 2 (never or almost never) to 5 (several times a day). We excluded comics from indicators of reading diversity and chat online from indicators of online reading because of their low loadings (ls < .30) on the respective factors.


Use of Learning Strategies


Fourteen items assessed students’ use of memorization, elaboration, and control strategies while studying and reading texts. The four memorization items measured students’ use of memorization and repetition while trying to learn the text material (e.g., “When I study, I try to memorize everything that is covered in the text,” α = .73). There were four items on elaboration strategies, asking about students’ efforts to make connections between what they studied and what they already knew (e.g., “When I study, I try to relate new information to prior knowledge acquired in other subjects,” α = .76). The five items on control strategies examined the extent to which students adopted a self-evaluative perspective during the learning process, similar to metacognitive strategy use (e.g., “When I study, I check if I understand what I have read,” α = .81).” Students indicated how frequently they employed each of these strategies using a scale ranging from 1 (almost never) to 4 (almost always).


RESULTS


DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS AND ZERO-ORDER CORRELATIONS


Table 2 presents the means, standard deviations, and correlation coefficients among observed variables. A significant negative correlation existed between positive and negative attitudes toward reading (r = -.61). Consistent with previous research, positive reading attitude correlated positively with reading behaviors and use of learning strategies (rs = .22 to .55), whereas negative reading attitude correlated negatively with the same variables (rs = -.10 to -.54).


CONFIRMATORY FACTOR ANALYSES


Next, we performed confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to investigate the factor structure, using maximum likelihood estimation procedures. We used the Tucker–Lewis index (TLI), the comparative fit index (CFI), the root-mean-square error of approximation (RMSEA), and the chi-square statistics for evaluating model fit. We included all observed and latent variables in this step of the analyses to ensure adequate specification of the measurement model before testing structural relationships among the latent variables. The initial CFA model without any error covariance demonstrated less than acceptable fit to the empirical data, χ2(2,027, N = 4,988) = 16,312.86, p < .001 (TLI = .86, CFI = .87, RMSEA = .04). Modification indexes pointed to significant covariation among several error terms. Among many potentially significant parameters, we sequentially freed one error covariance path at a time by judging its conceptual and practical rationale. A total of 11 error covariance paths were added. Most of these paths involved indicators that shared the same wording or were adjacent on the survey. We only allowed the errors to covary when the indicators loaded on the same latent variable.


The final CFA model displayed satisfactory fit, χ2(2,018, N = 4,988) = 12,529.40, p < .001 (TLI = .90, CFI = .91, RMSEA = .03). All factor loadings were statistically significant at p < .05. Table 3 presents correlation coefficients among the latent variables. Although the basic pattern did not change from the zero-order correlation among the observed variables presented in Table 2, some of the coefficients became noticeably larger in magnitude because CFA corrects for measurement errors.


Girls reported more positive attitudes toward reading (f = -.19), whereas boys reported more negative attitudes toward reading (f = .12). Girls also reported reading more diverse materials than did boys (f = -.17). Positive and negative attitudes toward reading showed a strong negative correlation with each other (f = -.82). Positive attitudes toward reading demonstrated significant positive correlations with all hypothesized predictors of reading attitude such as home literacy resources, parent variables, and teacher variables (fs = .12 to .30), whereas negative attitudes toward reading demonstrated significant negative correlations with all of them (fs = -.05 to -.28). Likewise, positive reading attitude exhibited significant positive correlations with all reading behavior (fs = .36 to .71) and learning strategy variables (fs = .30 to .44), whereas negative reading attitude exhibited significant negative correlations with the same variables (fs = -.21 to -.64). Both positive and negative reading attitude demonstrated particularly strong correlations with reading for enjoyment (fs = .64 and -.64) and reading diversity (fs = .71 and -.62, respectively).


STRUCTURAL EQUATION MODELING


We tested the structural relationships among the hypothesized predictors and outcomes with positive and negative reading attitude as mediators (see Figure 1). Our goal was to find out the nature of interrelations among the social, attitudinal, behavioral, and cognitive aspects of reading. To accomplish this goal, we first examined how home literacy resources and variables representing educational contexts for reading engagement related to reading behaviors of students, mediated by their reading attitude. We then examined how the same predictor variables related to students’ cognitive strategy use in reading, again mediated by their positive and negative reading attitude.


The first model, named the Reading Behavior Model in this research, included reading for enjoyment, reading diversity, and online reading as dependent variables. The second model, named the Learning Strategy Model in this research, shared the same model structure with the Reading Behavior Model, except that the dependent variables were use of memorization, elaboration, and control strategies. We added one additional error covariance path between indicators of reading diversity at this stage to improve the model fit. Figures 2 and 3 present the significant paths emerged from the Reading Behavior and Learning Strategy Models, respectively, with the standardized path coefficients.


Reading Behavior Model


The model with reading behaviors as dependent variables showed adequate fit to the data, χ2(1,294, N = 4,988) = 9,368.12, p < .001 (TLI = .90, CFI = .91, RMSEA = .04). Figure 2 shows the main results. As hypothesized and consistent with the results from CFA, girls demonstrated significantly more positive reading attitude than did boys (γ = -.16), while boys demonstrated significantly more negative reading attitude than did girls (γ = .10). Home literacy resources and parent variables were also significant direct predictors of students’ reading attitude but not teacher variables. The number of books in the home and other types of literacy resources positively predicted students’ positive reading attitude (γs = .21 and .10, respectively) and negatively predicted students’ negative reading attitude (γs = -.20 and -.10, respectively). Among the parent-related variables, parents’ reading attitude positively predicted the child’s positive reading attitude (γ = .11) and negatively predicted the child’s negative reading attitude (γ = -.13). Parental support for reading was another positive predictor of the child’s positive reading attitude (γ = .15).


Parents’ own reading for enjoyment, however, showed a pattern opposite to what was hypothesized. As the parents reported spending a greater number of hours reading at home for their own enjoyment, their child’s positive reading attitude decreased (γ = -.05) and negative attitude increased (γ = .05). We judged these results to be artifacts of collinearity among relevant variables. The CFA results already demonstrated positive correlation of parents’ reading for enjoyment with the child’s positive attitude (f = .13) and its negative correlation with the child’s negative attitude (f = -.11). There also existed moderate to high correlations among all three parent-related variables (fs = .33 to .57; see Table 3). Because parents’ reading for enjoyment had the weakest correlation with students’ reading attitude variables among the three, its coefficients with reading attitude variables ended up with opposite signs after the variance in reading attitude variables associated with the other two parent-related variables was accounted for. None of the teacher variables significantly predicted student’s attitudes toward reading.


Turning to the prediction of reading behaviors, boys reported spending more time on reading for enjoyment than did girls (β = .15). This finding is interesting because it contrasts with all previous results favoring girls up to this point. The number of books and other types of literacy resources available at home displayed significant direct positive paths to students’ reports of how often they engaged in reading various types of reading materials because they wanted to (γs = .12 and .09) and how often they were involved in different types of electronic reading activities (γs = .10 and .07, respectively). Parents’ own reading for enjoyment positively predicted the child’s reading for enjoyment (γ = .05) and reading diversity (γ = .06). Parental support for reading also positively predicted the child’s online reading behavior (γ =.07). Teacher’s reading strategy was not able to predict students’ reading behaviors. Teacher’s assignment strategy, in comparison, positively predicted students’ online reading behavior (γ = .12), presumably due to students’ Internet searches for the information needed to complete the assignments.


There were two paths that were opposite in direction to our predictions as well as to the bivariate correlations observed in CFA. Other types of literacy resources at home demonstrated a significant negative relationship with students’ reading for enjoyment (γ = -.03). Likewise, parents’ attitudes toward reading related negatively to the reading diversity reported by the child (γ = -.03). Because the bivariate relationships between the variables were positive, significant, and much larger in magnitude (fs = .14 and .22, respectively; see Table 3), we view these small negative coefficients to be artifacts of complex statistical estimation.


We next turn to the mediating role of the reading attitude variables between contextual variables and students’ reading behaviors. The pattern was quite consistent with our hypotheses when it came to reading for enjoyment and reading diversity. Positive reading attitude was a positive predictor of students’ reading for enjoyment (β = .42) and reading diversity (β = .50), whereas negative reading attitude was a negative predictor of the same variables (βs = -.32 and -.13, respectively). The relationships of reading attitude to online reading were intriguing because both positive attitudes toward reading (β = .48) and negative attitudes toward reading (β = .24) demonstrated significant positive paths to students’ online reading behavior. The positive relationship between negative attitudes toward reading and online reading behavior is difficult to interpret because the bivariate relationship between the two was negative, significant, and substantial in magnitude (f = -.21; see Table 3).


Learning Strategy Model


The model with learning strategies as dependent variables also demonstrated acceptable fit, χ2 (1,400, N = 4,988) = 8,972.74, p < .001 (TLI = .91, CFI = .92, RMSEA = .03). Figure 3 shows the main results. Predictions of students’ positive and negative reading attitude by gender, home literacy resources, and parent- and teacher-related variables are essentially the same to those reported for the Reading Behaviors Model and are not repeated here. The only path that was new to this model was the positive path from teachers’ instructional strategies in reading and literacy to students’ positive attitudes toward reading (γ =.07).


Regarding the direct paths from gender, home literacy resources, and parent- and teacher-related variables to reading behaviors, girls reported using more memorization strategies than did boys (γ = -.10). Boys reported using more elaboration strategies than did girls while reading (γ = .08). There was no gender difference with regard to the use of control strategy. The number of books and other types of literacy resources at home demonstrated significant direct positive paths to students’ memorization (γs = .12 and .04), elaboration (γs = .18 and .07), and control strategies (γs = .21 and .07, respectively). Parental support for reading was also a positive predictor of students’ use of memorization (γ = .07), elaboration (γ = .08), and control strategies (γ = .08). Opposite to the positive correlation obtained in CFA (f = .15), parents’ reading attitude showed a small negative relationship to students’ elaboration strategy use (γ = -.05). Whereas teacher variables displayed only a single significant direct path to students’ reading behaviors in the previous model, they did a number of significant direct paths to students’ use of learning strategies. Teachers’ reading strategy positively predicted students’ use of memorization (γ = .07), elaboration (γ = .12), and control strategies (γ = .12). Similarly, teachers’ assignment strategy positively predicted students’ use of memorization (γ = .08) and elaboration strategies (γ = .07).


Regarding the mediating role of reading attitude variables, positive reading attitude showed a more consistent pattern of mediation than negative reading attitude. Students’ positive attitudes toward reading positively predicted students’ use of all three types of learning strategies. In particular, the paths from positive reading attitude to elaboration (β = .51) and control strategies (β = .36) were quite substantial in magnitude. Students’ negative attitudes toward reading were not an effective mediator of the contextual factors on students’ use of learning strategies. The only significant path from negative reading attitude to learning strategies involved students’ use of elaboration strategy, whose direction was positive (β = .20) rather than negative. This was deemed another incident of collinearity problem because the bivariate relationship between the two was clearly negative (f = -.29; see Table 3).


DISCUSSION


We attempted to document the intricate relationships among gender, home literacy resources, parents’ reading attitude and support for reading, and teachers’ use of instructional strategies with adolescents’ reading outcomes. In particular, we tested the mediating role of positive and negative attitudes toward reading in the relationships between the aforementioned contextual factors and students’ reading behaviors and learning strategy use. By examining the predictive patterns between hypothesized predictors and reading outcomes, we also wanted to see if the findings from the English-speaking cultures were generalizable to the non-English-speaking, Korean adolescent population. Because reading these days involves increasingly more online activities, we further tested whether the predictive patterns observed with printed materials extended to reading with diverse media. Our results were generally consistent with previous reports, attesting to the generalizability of the reading research literature to the Korean sample and to online reading as valid reading activities.


POSITIVE READING ATTITUDE AS A MEDIATOR OF CONTEXTUAL FACTORS ON READING


Gender, home literacy resources, parents’ reading attitude, and parental support for reading were all significant predictors of Korean adolescents’ reading attitude. As expected and consistent with the results from many international comparison studies such as PISA 2000 (OECD, 2001) and 2003 (OECD, 2004), girls reported more favorable attitudes toward reading compared to boys. The present results confirm other reports of gender differences among Western children and adolescents (Coles & Hall, 2002; Ogle et al., 2003; Sainsbury & Schagen, 2004), thereby attesting to the generalizability of prior reports to Korean adolescents.


Having positive reading attitude, in turn, was positively associated with reading for pleasure, reading diverse types of materials, and application of various learning strategies while studying and reading texts. Further, availability of home literacy resources and positive reading attitude was associated with not only traditional reading behaviors involving printed texts but also the relatively novel type of reading behaviors involving online reading materials.


The most important finding of the present investigation concerns the role of reading attitude. First, the Korean 15 year olds who participated in this research made clear differentiation between the items asking about their positive attitudes and those about their negative attitudes toward reading. Second, our results support the idea that students’ reading attitude directly leads to students’ choice and persistence to read (McKenna et al., 1995). As students’ positive reading attitude became stronger, they reported reading more for enjoyment and reading more diverse types of reading materials such as magazines, fiction, nonfiction books, and newspapers because they wanted to. On the contrary, as students expressed more negative attitudes toward reading, they reported reading less for enjoyment and reading less diverse types of reading materials. It is thus evident that when students have positive attitudes toward reading, they are more likely to engage in reading-related activities voluntarily and do so for more intrinsic reasons.


Third, despite the strong association between the two opposite yet complementary measures of reading attitude (f = -.82), positive reading attitude demonstrated stronger and more consistent relationships with all reading outcomes considered in this study. Negative reading attitude exhibited fewer and weaker associations with the same reading outcomes. Given the role of reading attitude on both the frequency and type of students’ reading activities and the relative importance of positive rather than negative attitudes toward reading, it may be useful for parents and teachers to concentrate their supportive effort on enhancing students’ positive reading attitude.


Fourth, students who expressed more positive reading attitude also reported using more elaboration, control, and even memorization strategies while studying texts compared to those who reported less positive reading attitude. While all three paths linking positive reading attitude to learning strategy use were significant, those from positive reading attitude to elaboration (β = .51) and control strategies (β = .36) were noticeably stronger than that leading to memorization strategies (β = .17). These results imply that positive reading attitude encourages students to use deep learning strategies while processing texts, more than it does surface learning strategies. Although little research exists on the relationship between reading attitude and use of specific learning strategies, evidence from the present investigation and the self-regulated learning literature (e.g., Schunk & Zimmerman, 1997) suggests that positive attitudes toward reading may also be associated with students’ engagement in more sophisticated cognitive and metacognitive processes.


ROLE OF HOME ENVIRONMENTS IN STUDENT’S READING ENGAGEMENT


We also probed the motivational links between students’ home environment, including literacy resources and the role of parents, and the development of positive and negative reading attitude among students. Consistent again with the existing literature (Klauda, 2009; Newman, 1986), traditional indexes of home literacy resources, such as the number of books and other types of printed materials available and easily accessible at home, were associated with positive reading attitude among Korean adolescents. Parents’ own reading habits and reading attitude as well as the support they provide for their child’s reading activities all contributed directly and indirectly to the child’s reading outcomes (Swalander & Taube, 2007). Specifically, adolescents whose parents spent time reading for enjoyment reported reading more for enjoyment themselves and reading more diverse types of reading materials (Chen, 2008). Students who received greater support for reading from their parents also tended to engage in more online reading activities and to use key learning strategies more frequently. The current results confirmed conclusions from McKenna’s model (McKenna et al., 1995) that others’ beliefs and expectations regarding reading can affect students’ attitudes toward reading and students’ decisions to start or keep reading independently. More broadly, reading research models that emphasize social experiences of reading (Guthrie & Wigfield, 2000; McKenna, 1994; McKenna et al., 1995) have received support in our research.


Previous research concerning the role of parental reading habits on the child’ reading engagement reported weak to moderate positive correlations between measures of the parent and child reading variables (Conlon et al., 2006; Greaney & Hegarty, 1987; Newman, 1986). In this study, parents’ reading attitude and parental support for reading displayed quite substantial correlations with the child’s reading attitude, both positive and negative. Conforming to their parents’ educational values and expectations is a virtue and an obligation for many adolescents in Eastern culture (Schwartz, 1994). Owing partly to this cultural norm, children and adolescents in collectivistic societies tend to develop similar values and beliefs to those of their parents (Triandis, 1994). For example, Huang (2008) found that Taiwanese students were eager to meet the expectations of their parents and teachers in reading. Our results with Korean adolescents likely reflect this cultural distinctiveness to a certain degree.  


ROLE OF TEACHERS IN STUDENT’S READING ENGAGEMENT


Our hypotheses regarding teachers’ instructional strategy use on students’ reading behaviors did not receive clear support. On the one hand, teachers’ use of reading and assignment strategies in reading and literacy instruction positively predicted students’ use of memorization and elaboration strategies. Teachers’ reading strategy also predicted students’ use of control strategies. Collins, Brown, and Holum (1991) recommended that teachers make instruction “visible” to students and delineated six methods of cognitive apprenticeship that help to accomplish this goal. These methods include modeling, coaching, scaffolding, articulation, reflection, and exploration. Teachers’ use of these skills helps students develop appropriate reading strategies and self-regulation. Consistent with their claim, teachers’ reading strategies assessed in the present investigation contain strong components of coaching and scaffolding and teachers’ assignment strategies contain a strong component of articulation. These instructional strategies helped the participating Korean students to use diverse learning strategies more frequently, thus rendering empirical support to the arguments advanced by the cognitive apprenticeship model.


On the other hand, the same instructional strategies did not predict students’ reading attitude or reading behaviors with equal effectiveness. There was only a weak significant path from teachers’ reading strategy to students’ positive attitudes toward reading in the present study. These results are at odds with previous reports indicating that teachers’ instructional strategies in reading (Taylor et al., 2003; Wharton-McDonald et al., 1998) and enthusiasm about reading (Chen, 2008; Pitcher et al., 2007) have a great impact on students’ reading habits and attitude. We attribute this discrepancy to the differences in item contents. Specifically, the items on reading attitude in this research focus more on reading for pleasure, whereas those on students’ use of learning strategies and teachers’ use of instructional strategies focus more on reading texts for academic purposes. Chen (2008) reported, for example, none of the students he interviewed mentioned teachers’ reading instruction or reading skills as something that supported their reading for pleasure. Strommen and Mates (2004) also documented similar findings. We therefore recommend researchers clearly define the nature and purpose of reading activities under investigation and assess relevant variables with the same focus to obtain accurate results regarding their relationships.


ONLINE READING AS A NEW AND LEGITIMATE READING ACTIVITY


An interesting picture emerged from our study regarding Korean adolescents’ online reading behavior. Traditional indexes of home literacy resources predicted students’ voluntary engagement in not only diverse types of printed materials but also various online reading materials. Moreover, both positive and negative reading attitude of the students were associated with increased online reading activities involving electronic sources. The positive link between positive reading attitude and online reading activities resembles the positive link between positive reading attitude and conventional reading activities involving printed materials (Logan & Johnston, 2009; Martínez et al., 2008; Sainsbury & Schagen, 2004). The result thus indicates that online reading should now be considered a legitimate form of reading activity.


The positive link between negative reading attitude and online reading observed in the present research, however, requires further explanation. Previous research shows that students with less motivation and more negative reading attitude are less inclined to read printed materials (Cox & Guthrie, 2001; Wigfield & Guthrie, 1997). Therefore, the positive relationship between negative reading attitude and online reading activities suggests that students who are not willing to engage in traditional types of reading activities are more likely to turn to engage in online reading activities. In the current study, there was a negative bivariate correlation between negative reading attitude and online reading (f = -.21). This relationship turned positive in the structural equation model (β = .24), after controlling for the variance in online reading attributable to positive reading attitude. One plausible explanation for the mixed pattern of relationships is that students who hold more negative than positive attitudes toward reading and who want to minimize reading printed texts for enjoyment are more likely turn to computers and Internet sources for the purposes of either enjoyment, information gathering, or solving problems (e.g., Mokhtari, Reichard, & Gardner, 2009).


The question remains, then, whether to view and encourage students’ online reading activities as a desirable form of reading engagement. Several findings from the present analyses offer a positive response to this question. First, home literacy resources, parental support for reading, and teachers’ assignment strategies were all positive predictors of students’ online reading activities. Whereas most of these variables predicted students’ reading for enjoyment and reading diversity indirectly through students’ positive attitudes toward reading, they predicted students’ online reading activities directly. These results thus allow a conjecture that students who have not yet developed positive attitudes toward reading would look for other information sources to accomplish their goals. Second, indexes of traditional types of reading such as reading for enjoyment and reading diversity correlated positively with online reading (fs =.20 and .43, respectively). Although the two traditional indexes displayed a stronger correlation with each other (f = .59), the positive correlations of online reading with both indexes of conventional reading activities suggest a possibility that continued engagement in online reading activities may eventually lead to increases in traditional reading activities as well. This reasoning remains speculative at present and requires further inquiry.


LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS


There are several limitations in this research. First, although PISA 2009 allows researchers to make a cross-national comparison among reading-related beliefs and practices, one should bear in mind that beliefs and practices with the same names may not entail exactly the same processes across different countries and cultures. For instance, we cannot be certain that the measure of reading attitude included in the PISA 2009 assessment framework represents all critical indicators of Korean adolescents’ reading attitude. Second, despite the explicit focus on reading as a domain in PISA 2009, only a limited number of variables specifically related to reading motivation and engagement were available in the database. For example, Guthrie and Wigfield (1997) acknowledged extrinsic motivation is reflected in some reasons students give for reading (e.g., recognition, compliance). However, this aspect of reading motivation was not adequately represented in PISA 2009.


Despite these limitations, our findings verified the critical role that reading attitude plays in the complex interrelationships between reading resources and outcomes. Positive attitudes toward reading, in comparison to negative attitudes, emerged as a more consistent predictor of students’ reading behaviors and strategy use as well as a more effective mediator of contextual factors on students’ reading outcomes. Korean adolescents’ belief that reading is an important and worthwhile activity was a strong determinant of how much time they spent reading for their own enjoyment and whether or not they read a wide variety of reading materials. The present findings also provide empirical justification for several researchers’ call that home literacy resources should be more broadly conceptualized to encompass parent-social factors in the family, in addition to the sheer volume and availability of books and other literacy resources at home (e.g., Burgess, 2002; Newman, 1986). Changes in children and adolescents’ reading motivation do not occur in a short period, as their attitudes toward reading are formulated gradually over time through continuous social interactions with their parents (Klauda, 2009).


Finally, our data hinted at the conflicting possibilities that adolescents’ online reading could be construed as either resistance to or an extension of printed text reading. Either way, it seems unavoidable that reading electronic texts will only increase in its importance, especially for adolescent populations, as a complementary or even a substitute form of reading to the traditional form of reading. Website searching, SMS text messaging, and even video recording are common activities performed by cell phone users, which allow access to authentic content as well as task completion in reading and language instruction (Chinnery, 2006). As Prensky (2005) claimed, the browser in web-enabled phones makes a free dictionary, thesaurus, and encyclopedia available to students. By accessing Google and other search engines, students are able to rely on their cell phones as their research tools. In this sense, electronic reading environments shed light on the novel ways of engaging in reading for adolescents. Systematic investigations of adolescents’ online reading behavior and factors influencing it are needed before we can help improve their reading competencies using the new media.


Acknowledgments


This research was supported by the WCU (World Class University) Program funded by the Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, consigned to the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (Grant no. R32-2008-000-20023-0).


Correspondence concerning this article can be addressed to either Hyo Jin Lim (Department of Education, Chonbuk National University, 664-14 Deokjin-dong, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju, Jeonbuk 561-756, Korea) or Mimi Bong (Department of Education, Korea University, 145 Anam-ro, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 136-701, Korea).



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APPENDIX


Table 1. Factor Loadings of Reading Attitude Items

[39_17715.htm_g/00002.jpg]




Table 2. Descriptive Statistics and Zero-Order Correlation Coefficients Among Observed Variables

Variable

M

SD

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

1.

Gender

1.52

0.50

-

              

2.

Books

3.79

1.29

−.01

-

             

3.

Type of resources

1.60

0.88

−.06

.30

-

            

4.

Parents’ reading for enjoyment

2.89

0.89

.03

.21

.22

-

           

5.

Parents’ reading attitude

2.93

0.53

−.03

.28

.25

.50

-

          

6.

Parental support

2.34

0.50

−.07

.19

.26

.27

.33

-

         

7.

Teacher’s reading strategy

2.21

0.58

.01

.05

.05

.03

.05

.10

-

        

8.

Teacher’s assignment strategy

2.27

0.55

−.01

.05

.03

.04

.04

.10

.62

-

       

9.

Positive attitude

2.38

0.65

−.20

.28

.22

.11

.20

.20

.13

.13

-

      

10.

Negative attitude

2.05

0.57

.08

−.25

−.18

−.10

−.18

−.13

−.05

−.06

−.61

-

     

11.

Memorization

2.53

0.63

−.10

.16

.13

.04

.08

.14

.16

.16

.25

−.18

-

    

12.

Elaboration

2.37

0.69

.03

.26

.18

.08

.11

.18

.22

.19

.36

−.21

.36

-

   

13.

Control

2.63

0.64

−.05

.31

.21

.09

.15

.20

.21

.19

.38

−.26

.58

.61

-

  

14.

Reading for enjoyment

2.11

1.13

.03

.19

.14

.13

.16

.14

.07

.07

.55

−.54

.11

.20

.19

-

 

15.

Reading diversity

2.91

0.82

-.04

.28

.26

.15

.16

.17

.14

.14

.44

−.34

.18

.30

.27

.41

-

16.

Online reading

3.20

0.61

−.08

.11

.11

.04

.06

.12

.15

.16

.22

−.10

.23

.31

.30

.11

.31

Note. Coefficients greater than ± .03 and ± .04 in absolute magnitude are statistically significant at p < .05 and p < .01, respectively. For gender, female = 1 and male = 2.



Table 3. Correlation Coefficients Among Latent Variables

Variable

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

1.

Gender

-

              

2.

Books

−.01

-

             

3.

Type of resources

−.06

.30

-

            

4.

Parents’ reading for enjoyment

.03

.21

.22

-

           

5.

Parents’ reading attitude

−.03

.31

.29

.57

-

          

6.

Parental support

−.08

.23

.32

.33

.45

-

         

7.

Teacher’s reading strategy

.00

.05

.05

.03

.06

.14

-

        

8.

Teacher’s assignment strategy

−.00

.05

.02

.05

.05

.12

.77

-

       

9.

Positive attitude

−.19

.30

.24

.13

.25

.29

.14

.12

-

      

10.

Negative attitude

.12

−.28

−.21

−.11

−.23

−.20

−.06

−.05

−.82

-

     

11.

Memorization

−.15

.21

.15

.05

.11

.18

.18

.18

.30

−.25

-

    

12.

Elaboration

−.01

.31

.22

.09

.15

.25

.26

.24

.44

−.29

.51

-

   

13.

Control

−.07

.34

.23

.10

.17

.25

.24

.21

.42

−.31

.75

.82

-

  

14.

Reading for enjoyment

.03

.19

.14

.13

.18

.19

.08

.07

.64

−.64

.14

.23

.20

-

 

15.

Reading diversity

−.17

.34

.28

.16

.22

.26

.17

.15

.71

−.62

.30

.42

.40

.59

-

16.

Online reading

−.08

.21

.18

.07

.12

.21

.18

.20

.36

−.21

.36

.49

.47

.20

.43

Note. Coefficients greater than ± .05 and ± .06 in absolute magnitude are statistically significant at p < .01 and p < .001, respectively. For gender, female = 1 and male = 2.


Figure 1. Hypothesized Model of the Present Study


[39_17715.htm_g/00004.jpg]



Figure 2. Standardized Path Coefficients From the Reading Behavior Model

[39_17715.htm_g/00005.jpg]

Note: Covariance and disturbance terms are not presented for clarity.


Figure 3. Standardized Path Coefficients from the Learning Strategy Model.


[39_17715.htm_g/00006.jpg]

Note: Covariance and disturbance terms are not presented for clarity.




Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 117 Number 1, 2015, p. 1-36
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17715, Date Accessed: 10/17/2021 2:23:52 PM

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About the Author
  • Hyo Jin Lim
    Chonbuk National University
    E-mail Author
    HYO JIN LIM is currently an assistant professor of Educational Psychology at Chonbuk National University, South Korea. She earned a Ph. D. with an emphasis on Educational Psychology and Technology at University of Southern California, USA. She also received a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Education at Seoul National University, South Korea. Her research focuses on cognitive and motivational development of adolescents; sociocultural influences on learning, cognition, and motivation in relation to reading and literacy among diverse students.
  • Mimi Bong
    Korea University
    E-mail Author
    MIMI BONG is a Professor of Educational Psychology and the Associate Director of the Brain and Motivation Research Institute (bMRI) at Korea University. Her research focuses on the interaction between perceived competence, values, and goals; theoretical/empirical distinction between motivational constructs; cross-domain/cross-context generalizability of motivational processes; and the impact of learning environment and sociocultural factors on student motivation. She received the Richard E. Snow Award for Early Contributions in Educational Psychology from APA/Division 15. She is currently Associate Editor the American Educational Research Journalís Teaching, Learning, and Human Development section and serving on the editorial boards of AERA Open, Journal of Educational Psychology, Educational Psychologist, and Contemporary Educational Psychology.
  • Yeonkyung Woo
    Korea University
    E-mail Author
    YEON-KYOUNG WOO is a Research Professor of the Brain and Motivation Research Institute (bMRI) at Korea University. Her research interests focus on the interplay between student motivation and learning environments.
 
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