Reading in the Rockies: An In-Depth Analysis Into How Current Reading Lists are Failing to Meet the Literacy Needs of Montana's Male Students

Abigail J. Connolly, University of Montana
Abigail J. Connolly, University of Montana - Missoula

Abstract

Recent literacy research has acknowledged a statistically significant trend denoting a decline in male K-12 students’ interest in and time spent reading. While generalized nationwide trends have been recorded, I hypothesize that regionalism and gender-derived stereotypes play a large role in determining male students’ attitudes general interest in and emphasis on reading. Therefore, male students in Montana, a region noted for its outdoor, adventurist opportunities, will spend less time reading than their national counterparts and will hold significantly negative attitudes towards reading as a pleasurable, free choice activity. For this research, I am utilizing Likert-type survey testing among Montana middle school and high school male students, as well as conducting several in-depth interviews to qualitatively measure male students’ personal reading habits, attitudes towards reading, book selection, and beliefs about reading. As a future English Language Arts educator, the knowledge obtained from this research will benefit me by illuminating glaring deficiencies in current curriculum reading lists and permitting the opportunity to select literary pieces, authors, themes, and genres that pique the interest of my male students. Additionally, increased knowledge of the reading habits, attitudes, and interests of Montana male students can greatly assist English Language Arts teachers across the state by making them aware of these regionalized reading tendencies, and thus helping them to tailor their instruction to meet the literacy needs of these disinterested students, and incorporate themes and genres of interest into their classroom instruction to encourage their male students to become avid, frequent, and engaged readers.

 

Reading in the Rockies: An In-Depth Analysis Into How Current Reading Lists are Failing to Meet the Literacy Needs of Montana's Male Students

Recent literacy research has acknowledged a statistically significant trend denoting a decline in male K-12 students’ interest in and time spent reading. While generalized nationwide trends have been recorded, I hypothesize that regionalism and gender-derived stereotypes play a large role in determining male students’ attitudes general interest in and emphasis on reading. Therefore, male students in Montana, a region noted for its outdoor, adventurist opportunities, will spend less time reading than their national counterparts and will hold significantly negative attitudes towards reading as a pleasurable, free choice activity. For this research, I am utilizing Likert-type survey testing among Montana middle school and high school male students, as well as conducting several in-depth interviews to qualitatively measure male students’ personal reading habits, attitudes towards reading, book selection, and beliefs about reading. As a future English Language Arts educator, the knowledge obtained from this research will benefit me by illuminating glaring deficiencies in current curriculum reading lists and permitting the opportunity to select literary pieces, authors, themes, and genres that pique the interest of my male students. Additionally, increased knowledge of the reading habits, attitudes, and interests of Montana male students can greatly assist English Language Arts teachers across the state by making them aware of these regionalized reading tendencies, and thus helping them to tailor their instruction to meet the literacy needs of these disinterested students, and incorporate themes and genres of interest into their classroom instruction to encourage their male students to become avid, frequent, and engaged readers.