In response to concerns about boys’ academic underachievement in reading, as well as poor reading motivations, this paper seeks to explore the effectiveness of a sport based reading intervention on boys’ motivations and attainment.
The study follows six boys aged 10 to 11 who are all motivated by sport, specifically football, whose attainment levels range from average to above average. The pupils all live in a socially deprived area of an industrial city and openly have negative attitudes towards reading, viewing it as ‘boring’ and ‘for girls’. The study implements a practical, sports based intervention programme over the duration of 10 sessions with an entry and exit questionnaire, focus group and comprehension activity being administered and analysed. During the literature review, it became clear that the main recommendations focussed on motivating the pupils to participate by empowering them to lead their learning and discuss what and how they wanted to learn. The second recommendation centred on the pupils identifying a purpose for reading.
As a result of completing various practical and adventurous sessions that combine football with reading, the boys’ reading motivations increased. A positive shift in attitudes was apparent with pupils identifying reading to be more ‘exciting’ in addition to more of the boys reading at home. An average increase in attainment raw scores of 1.3 marks was also evident with the two lowest attaining boys increasing by 2 and 3 marks. Finally, the study concludes with a reflective recount of the inquiry project journey from the mind of the ‘teacher researcher’.
© Carl Farrant, January 2016