chapter  14
30 Pages

Social and Motivational Influences on Reading

The purpose of the present chapter is to integrate findings from these disparate research traditions and to provide suggestions for future inquiry. In addition, a particular focus of this chapter is on how race and social class differences in children's reading performance are influenced by social and motivational factors. The problems of race and socioeconomic status (SES) differences in achievement have been at center stage in educational research for nearly three decades. Research has clearly demonstrated that such differences exist; black children experience more difficulty with reading than white children, and the discrepancy increases across the school years (Coleman, Campbell, Hobson, McPartland, Mood, Weinfeld, & York, 1966; Singer, Gerard, & Redfearn, 1975). Similarly, children from lower SES homes perform less well than children from middle-class homes (Armor, 1972; Coleman et al., 1966; St. John, 1970), and here too the difference increases over age (Coleman et al., 1966; Jencks, 1972). Like others (e.g., Entwisle, 1979; Resnick & Robinson, 1975), we believe that a social-motivational perspective can make an important contribution to understanding and overcoming such differences.