School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Kathie M. Carwile


Amotivation to Read, Autonomy, Motivation to Read, Personality Change, Reading Engagement, Reading Self-Concept


Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Educational Psychology


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the motivation and amotivation to read of 9th-12th grade adolescents in a large semi-urban high school in southwestern North Carolina. The principal theory guiding this study is Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985, 1991, 1994, 2000) as it explicates three universal human needs underpinning adolescent motivation to read. This investigation was guided by the following principal research question: How do high school students in southern North Carolina describe their motivation to read? General education high school students (n=12), balanced for gender, ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, and initial reading motivation, were observed, interviewed in a focus group, and interviewed individually during one semester (15 weeks). Students were enrolled in a semi-urban high school in southwestern North Carolina. Phenomenological reductionism (Schutz, 1970) primarily informed data analysis through bracketing out of personal biases and bracketing in of essential commonalities. Participants offered multiple layers and interpretations of motivations and amotivation to read. Most importantly, students read or do not read primarily through interest, choice, and desire/enjoyment, i.e. autonomy. Students want to read materials that they choose out of personal interest; realizing their own interest is often the first barrier. Further research should be conducted on the following: programs or instruments that facilitate interest-creation, case studies with recorded literacy conversations from homes, and a longitudinal ethnography on personality changes over two to three years and the effects on reading motivation.