Children’s choices for recreational reading: A three-part investigation of selection preferences, rationales, and processes

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Journal of Literacy Research

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This report delineates a three-part investigation into first graders' preferences, selection rationales, and processes when choosing a picture book to own. One-hundred ninety first graders were invited to select their favorite book from among nine high-quality, well-illustrated picture books representing a variety of topics, media, and genres. In addition, 122 students were also interviewed about their selections and how they made their choices. An overwhelming majority of first graders preferred informational books, especially animal books. The finding contradicts much previous research indicating that young readers, particularly girls, favor narrative text. The selection rationales of these students focused on topic or perceived content but were not particularly sophisticated. The selection processes data indicate gender differences, especially related to social aspects of recreational reading and perceived reading ability. The study extends the ongoing professional dialogue related to text preferences for independent, recreational reading and challenges educators to better understand how even very young readers may develop as readers in the postmodern information age.

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