Motivation Goals: Reading Engagement

General Goal: The fundamental motivational goal is for CORI students to increase their intrinsic motivation for literacy activities and engagement in these activities. Students' motivation to learn from a variety of texts and technology will be enhanced. Growth in engaged reading and motivation is evidenced from students' increased involvement with reading materials, reports of interest in reading and motivation for reading, and teacher ratings of student motivation.

In CORI several aspects of students' motivation receive attention. These include students' intrinsic motivation, or their inner motivation to learn, which consists of curiosity, involvement, and preference for challenging activities; self-efficacy, or students' beliefs that they can accomplish different classrooms tasks and activities; autonomy, or the ability to work on their own; and collaboration, or working with others. Teachers attempt to foster each of these aspects of motivation through their teaching practices in each CORI subunit. The CORI framework outlines the sequence by which the major motivational goal of increasing intrinsic motivation and engagement is accomplished. This week-by-week sequence includes:

  1. Interacting with the Real World. Students begin by doing observations in and outside of their classroom. These activities spark situational interest, which increases students' attention, promotes positive affect, and readies students for further learning about what they have seen.
  2. Students Choosing/Supporting Student Autonomy. This refers to helping students' take ownership of the objects and events of their observation, and the conceptual theme. They identify aspects they know or hold interesting. They attempt to familiarize themselves with the objects by observing, drawing, or manipulating them. They ask their own questions to pursue their interests in the topic and theme. By doing these things students' autonomy as learners expands.
  3. Expanding Knowledge Goals. Students expand their knowledge goals by searching for answers to their personal questions in books and other reading materials. They enrich their knowledge of the concepts and information relevant to the subunit they are studying.
  4. Using Interesting Texts. Text interest refers to attention and positive affect that is generated mainly by text features such as novelty, surprise, complexity, vivid descriptions and illustrations, ease of comprehension, and character identification. Texts with these features are provided to CORI teachers so that when students read they have many interesting books from which to choose. Students find information related to the questions or curiosities evoked by their environmental interest in tangible objects and text sources. They thereby take ownership of the knowledge in text.
  5. Collaborating. Collaboration refers to having a common goal with other students that enables the sharing of ideas, helping, and making decisions about reading activities. Students collaborate on science activities and reading activities, and exchange information related to both subject areas.
  6. Coordinating Motivational Activities. By observing, choosing, expanding knowledge goals, reading interesting texts, and collaborating, students increase their intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy for reading. Their motivation in reading is evidenced in their choices, involvement in reading, and confidence in their developing reading competency.

Instructional Practices for Supporting Motivation

In CORI, teachers explicitly create the conditions for students to progress from a state of situated interest in certain activities and books to intrinsic motivation and engagement in reading, and feeling confident or efficacious as readers. The CORI schedule pertaining to motivation is as follows:

  1. Week 1: During week 1, students interact with the real world by observing and interacting with various scientific specimens. These activities build students' situational interest in science. Teachers connect these interests to the books in the classroom, and to students' background knowledge.
  2. Week 2: During week 2, student autonomy and choice is emphasized as students generate personal questions about their observations. These questions will lead to student goals for learning the content.
  3. Week 3: During week 3, students expand their knowledge goals and learning by exploring texts to answer the questions they generated during week 2.
  4. Week 4: These activities are continued into week 4 as students use interesting texts to find information about particular science topics on which they are focusing. These activities will increase students' self-efficacy for learning from text.
  5. Week 5: During week 5, students share within their groups the knowledge they have gained from observing, experimenting, and reading.
  6. Week 6: In week 6, students communicate their work to others in their class, and teachers help them coordinate the different aspects of motivation.
  7. Weeks 7 – 12: During weeks 7-12, teachers repeat the same sequence as weeks 1-6, but will combine and merge support for the different aspects of motivation. Week 12 is designed specifically to foster students' intrinsic motivation by supporting choice of audience for whom to communicate, team collaboration, and expression of competency.

The weekly and daily plans in the Teacher's Guide contain specific ideas for developing students' intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy for reading.

Students' motivation is measured at the beginning of the CORI unit and at the end, using questionnaires that measure the different aspects of reading motivation mentioned earlier. Students also complete logs of their reading activities at this time. At three time points during the CORI unit students will complete a brief questionnaire asking them about their interest in the materials they read during that week. This questionnaire measures students' situational interest in the particular materials they used in class.