A Systematic Review of Reading Engagement Research: What Do We Mean, What Do We Know, and Where Do We Need to Go?

Yongjun Lee, Bong Gee Jang, Kristin Conradi Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Motivation and engagement play a crucial role in literacy development and achievement. However, the construct of reading engagement has become blurred and ambiguous, both in research and in discussions of practice. In order to guide future research and to extend our existing understanding of reading engagement into classroom practice, this study presents an extensive survey and systematic analysis of prior studies of reading engagement. Selection criteria resulted in the identification of 60 data-based articles published in 12 peer-reviewed journals through 2019. Over the period examined, there was a steady increase in the number of studies reported, especially since 2011. The early adolescent group was studied the most frequently, and the most popular technique involved observations and interviews. In terms of the definition of reading engagement, only 42% of the studies explicitly defined the term. Many studies have focused on the behavioral dimensions and antecedents for reading engagement, while others explored reading engagement as an aptitude. Although this review did not support a single interpretation of reading engagement as either an aptitude or an event, the resulting discussion broadens perspectives for reading engagement research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)540-576
Number of pages37
JournalReading Psychology
Volume42
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language

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