Reading attitudes of middle school students: Results of a U.S. survey

Michael C. McKenna, Kristin Conradi, Camille Lawrence, Bong Gee Jang, J. Patrick Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

182 Scopus citations


To examine the current state of reading attitudes among middle school students in the United States, a survey was developed and administered to 4,491 students in 23 states plus the District of Columbia. The instrument comprised four subscales measuring attitudes toward: recreational reading in print settings, recreational reading in digital settings, academic reading in print settings, and academic reading in digital settings. Factor analysis confirmed the factor structure corresponding to the four subscales, and reliability coefficients for these subscales ranged from 0.78 to 0.86. Correlations among the subscales varied considerably, due largely to the recreational digital subscale. Analyses of variance subsequently confirmed a pattern for the recreational digital subscale that differed from that of the others. For academic digital, recreational print, and academic print, the attitudes of females were more positive than those of males; however, for attitudes toward recreational reading in digital settings, the pattern was reversed. In addition, results for three of the subscales showed a gradual worsening of attitudes from 6th to 8th grade. The exception was academic print, for which attitudes did not differ by grade. No interactions were observed between grade and gender for any of the subscales. Results are discussed in the context of attitude theory and the rapid evolution of digital literacy and its social uses by adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-306
Number of pages24
JournalReading Research Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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