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Reading Motivation as a Moderator for Adolescent Literacy Outcomes
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High school students often come to class without the necessary literacy proficiency for high school level content. English/Language Arts teachers find themselves needing to teach both grade level material alongside the basic, intermediate and disciplinary literacy skills students need to access text. Reading and writing proficiency for adolescent students in the United States is concerning in that the average student is reading and writing below grade level. In addition, adolescent students tend to lose reading motivation in middle and high school, yet motivation is linked to increased engagement and performance. This study examined the meaningful associations among the literacy components of spelling, vocabulary knowledge, reading performance and academic writing for adolescent students. Multiple regression analyses were used to explore if and how motivational constructs moderate established relationships between foundational literacy skills and knowledge (spelling and vocabulary) and broader literacy outcomes (reading performance and academic writing). The results showed that extrinsic motivation moderated two literacy relationships: vocabulary knowledge and reading performance, as well as spelling and academic writing, Implications for research, practice, and policy are explored to help teachers be intentional in how they use reading motivation in their classroom to help facilitate literacy development broadly. Key terms: literacy, high school, literacy stages, academic writing, reading