Graduate Program

Curriculum and Instruction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Semester of Degree Completion

Summer 2019

Thesis Director

Dr. John Bickford

Thesis Committee Member

Dr. Daniel Carter

Thesis Committee Member

Dr. Melissa Ames


This study explored high school students’ attitudes towards reading as both a recreational activity and academic endeavor; while there are numerous studies regarding the reading habits of younger children, there is a deficit of research into the reading habits of students beyond the middle school years. This study surveyed and interviewed freshmen-through-senior students in a medium-sized, rural Illinois high school about their habits as readers in order to explore the relationship between different environmental factors and reading, as well as between reading habits and college readiness. This study found a gender gap in reading enjoyment favoring female students; a decline in academic reading, but an increase in recreational reading, across grades nine through twelve; and that students have an unclear vision of what reading in college entails. The discussion of these findings give direction to English teachers, researchers and school leaders to re-examine the place reading should have in a high school curriculum.