Preschoolers’ Emergent Motivations to Learn Reading: A Grounded Theory Study

Altun D.

Early Childhood Education Journal, 2019 (SSCI) identifier


© 2019, Springer Nature B.V.Early literacy skills are part of a larger set of skills, knowledge, and affective responses gained throughout childhood; however, emergent reading motivation has been neglected in research and practice. Theoretical models for reading motivation are available in the literature, but they were developed based on school-aged children and print-based reading experiences. The goal of the current study was to expand understanding of young preconventional readers’ motivations to read and identify the dimensions of emergent reading motivation in the digital age. This study employed qualitative research with a grounded theory methodology. Participants included 353 preschoolers from two large suburban and two sub-province areas in Turkey. A Constant comparison method was used to analyze the interview data. Ten motivational categories were detected (avoidance, challenge, competition, curiosity, enjoyment, employment-financial, learning, recognition, scholastic, and social), which were similar to the findings of previous studies conducted with school-aged children but included two additional categories (entertainment-play, and communication) specific to preconventional readers’ motivations to learn to read. An Emergent Reading Motivation Framework is proposed to organize and explain the dual associations between these categories. Young children’s self-evaluation of their current reading ability and their eagerness to learn reading were not differentiated regarding gender. However, reading motivation is a complex issue, and the framework is a preliminary one to elucidate preconventional readers’ multifaceted motivations to learn reading and provides comprehensive information of the constructs of motivation and the duality of relations between the constructs. Further studies will be needed to verify the tentative motivational framework.