Investigating students’ motivations and attitudes towards reading

  • N Boakye
  • L Southey
Keywords: motivation, attitude, self-efficacy, engagement, reading, text comprehension


This paper reports on an investigation into students’ attitudes to and motivations for reading. These socio-affective factors relating to students’ reading abilities have been largely ignored in L1 and L2 reading research, especially in L2 contexts. Yet, L2 students tend to display differing motivations and attitudes for L2 reading (Grabe & Stoller, 2002:41). According to Grabe and Stoller (2002:242) students’ attitudes and
motivations are linked to their previous experiences of reading, exposure to print and people who read, and to perceptions about the usefulness of reading. These experiences shape students’ perceptions of how successful they are as readers, and influence their willingness to participate in reading classes and related activities, which in turn affects the success of their reading development. Understanding students’ attitudes can help teachers design and prepare appropriate reading programmes to meet students’ needs and to counteract negative attitudes. A questionnaire adapted from Grabe and Stoller (2002) was administered to first-year students enrolled for an elective first-year course in Academic Reading at the University of Pretoria. The results of the study are discussed, and implications for reviewing the workbook presently in use are suggested.

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eISSN: 0259-9570