This dissertation endeavours to come to an understanding of adolescents' attitudes and perceptions with regard to recreational reading. The scope of research in the discipline of Children's Literature is a clear indication that researchers in various fields consider it to be a crucial learning area in children's education in general and the acquisition of literacy in particular. This development comes at a time when many pessimists have reason to regard reading, if not a dying art, at least a threatened pastime, especially with modem children whose reading has to compete with a variety of electronic media for divided attention during limited hours of leisure. After a literature review of central issues pertaining to recreational reading, a survey attempts to determine the scope and nature of adolescent reading habits. Finally, strategies are recommended to help teachers in their promotion of adolescent readership. Chapter one takes the view that recreational reading supports all aspects of a learner's development, from the acquisition of literacy to linguistic mastery, from intellectual stimulation to emotional and moral development. The theoretical inquiry studies various factors that contribute to - or detract from - the acquisition of a lifelong reading habit. From parental influence the focus moves to the influence of teachers at school and the role of bibliotherapy. Chapter two endeavours to give an overview of beginning reading strategies as well as early contact with texts since attitudes on reading are formed through these initial experiences at home and at school. An inspection of some theories on children's reading development leads to an understanding of how to match book with reader as a crucial facet in readership promotion. Chapter three focuses on adolescent attitudes and perceptions. An understanding of adolescents, their motives and interests are necessary when teachers wish to motivate their learners to read a wide range of material for pleasure. It is clear that the decline in adolescent recreational reading can be attributed to the pressure of time, the lack of adequate models of reading and the poor use of available reading materials. in the Tshwane South district of Gauteng province as representatives of the middle adolescent phase. The results of the survey are described and the implications of adolescent reading habits are discussed. Chapter five is a comprehensive chapter in which the research findings are applied to design teaching strategies to help promote recreational reading. Encouraging adolescents to choose to read enthusiastically, thereby possibly creating a lifelong reading habit, ultimately requires the combined efforts of governmental and education authorities, principals and teachers, librarians and, of course, parents. The study is followed by two appendices: the questionnaire and some suggestions for readership promotion by learners in their own words. The value of the study rests on the testimony of learners that teachers can influence adolescents with regard to recreational reading. Whether serving as models of reading, leading group discussions on books or applying bibliotherapeutic strategies, the influence and guidance of highly-motivated teachers are decisive.
Dissertation (MA (English))--University of Pretoria, 2007.