I did the following reading survey for middle school ELA students. It gives some great behind the scenes insight into what Middle Schoolers like to read and why.
The author administered a reading survey to 81 seventh and eight grade language arts students. The students were eager to fill out the surveys because as the author explained, “you can be as honest as you want… the surveys are anonymous.” Students really love anonymity!
Out of the 81 students, the author found: 24 students love to read, 15 students sometimes like to read, and a staggering 42 students (slightly more than 50% of students interviewed) do not like to read. There were several similarities among students who do like to read: most of these students either do not watch television or rarely watch it, and these students were also very kind and innocent in their answers.
Examples of some of the “yes” students answers include: “Reading is important to our everyday lifestyle; ” “I like reading, but I love when my sister reads to me;” “Reading is important;” “Reading means fluency;” “Reading helps your skills in school;” “I love reading it’s a new way to learn about new things;” and “Reading is the best thing in the world.” Also among the “yes” students, the series The Warriors was listed as favorite book.
The responses from students claiming they do not like to read were very different from the “yes” students. Some examples of the “no” students responses to the question “what does reading mean to you” are: “It’s a waste of time;” “Reading means work;” and “Sucks and I hate it.” When asked how do you feel when you are reading, one student said, “I hate it when I read I feel like I”m dying.” One creative response from a “no” student (when asked to say anything else about reading) was “I want a book made of money.”
There were some similarities between the “no” and “yes” students. Every student but one enjoyed being read to as a child. MTV was listed on a majority of students favorite television programs. In the genre category, the majority of students listed they enjoyed romance, sports, mysteries, humor, and adventure.
Based on the reading survey administered to the 81 seventh and eighth grade language arts students, we can always search out new ways to make reading more enjoyable and fun for students of all abilities.