What are the effects of allowing self-selection on reading motivation and skills?

The problem explored was whether or not allowing students the opportunity to self-select reading material effected their motivation to read and reading skills. Personal interest greatly effects how much time a student spends reading. Those who are more motivated have better reading skills. Additionally students who are motivated readers have a more positive self-concept of themselves as readers (Gambrell, Palmer, Codling, & Mazzoni, 1996). The following is a qualitative study of 32 third grade students and their reading experiences prior to and following the opportunity to self-select reading material. Data were collected both pre and post self-selection using the Guided Reading Assessment (GRA), Elementary Reading Attitude Survey (ERAT) and Reading Attitude Interviews (RAI). The researcher analyzed the data to compare re-occurring themes. The researcher observed most participants overall enjoy reading. The researcher discovered the participants prefer to self-select reading material based on personal interest. Differences in genre preference were observed by the researcher as well as stated by the participants during interviews. The importance of providing a high-quality library was apparent to the researcher in order to offer appealing literature to meet a variety of interests. When the participants spent time reading books they selected based on their own personal interests, it was observed that more students were choosing to read during their free time.