A look at: “Dimensions of Reading Motivation among Filipino Bilinguals”

Lejla Bilal

Joahna Mante-Estacio, an MA candidate from De La Salle University, wrote an article for TESOL Journal on The Dimensions of Reading Motivation among Filipino Bilinguals. Her research stems from a constant struggle to find ways for students to maximize their abilities and performance in the classroom. This article examines a key role, the learner’s willingness to engage in a given task, in this case reading. It comes as no surprise to educators, per Castle and Cramer, to learn that too many students choose not to read voluntarily or for pleasure (as cited in Mante-Estacio, 2012, p.11).  More so, Cramer and Castle share that aliteracy is a serious problem, or “a lack of reading habit.” In the Filipino community, according to 2007 National Book Development Board (NBDB) the percentage of Filipino book readers has decreased by 7%; a statistic further prompting Mante-Estacio’s research. The significance of this article is a commonality of illiteracy and aliteracy existence amongst student populations. Although a specific demographic group is considered by Mante-Estacio, her findings are helpful to all groups of readers.

To begin to understand student choice, motivational research surrounding the topic of reading is necessary. Looking at motivation, different theories have been applied concerning reading. Theories on positive encounters with texts and belief in success are outlined as follows by Guthrie and Wigfield (as cited in Mante-Estacio, 2012, p.12): in reading, motivation is “the individual’s personal goals, values, and beliefs with regard to the topics, processes, and outcomes of reading.” Moreover, a person’s anticipation that he/she will be successful in a reading activity positively predicts his/her performance on that task.  According to Guthrie and Wigfield, educators can play a role in reader motivation by encouraging goal setting and positive enforcement for willing readers.

Researchers like Carole Ames, who specialize in motivation-based research studies, have likewise identified two goal patterns that influence how individuals set their goals— mastery goals and performance goals. Learners who set mastery goals (also called task goals or learning goals) are expected to have greater persistence is doing tasks and more positive motivation. Performance goals are based on winning positive approval, and avoiding judgment, and learning goals focus on increasing one’s competency (Ames, 1992) . With these goal-setting types in mind, instruction can be implemented to satisfy the approval sought from performance goals, as well as instruction to increase students’ competencies, satisfying mastery goals.

The researcher administered a questionnaire to 646 (366 girls, and 280 boys) students of a parochial school in an attempt to describe the participants’ motivation in reading English texts. English is not any students’ first language. She administered a 63-question, five point Likert scale questionnaire called The Dimensions of Bilinguals’ Motivation to Read in English Questionnaire (DBMREQ) and asked two specific questions:

  1. What are the domains of the motivation to read of the participants?
  2. How are these domains interrelated?

Six factors were taken into account to identify learners’ domains of motivation: social and learning environment, external motivation, mastery orientation, pressure, performance orientation, and familiarity of the content and format of the text. Various variables can affect each factor. For example, Factor 2 had 13 different questions regarding external motivation. One question, “I do not read unless I have to,” can be affected by outside variables (Mante-Estacio, 2012) such as family or work responsibilities.  Looking into specific variables that affect student-reading motivation, like gender, age, L1 competency, etc. are implications for further research.

The results from this study show that text and content format plays a significant role in reader motivation. For instructional purposes, learners’ interest, preference, and familiarity should be taken into account when selecting text. Also, finding a balance between challenging text and overwhelming text is to be considered as well. Overwhelmed students may feel pressure and avoid reading altogether. Administrators should also contemplate having a flexible curriculum in hopes of motivating readers (2012).

Social and Learning Environment factors proved to be strong element of reading motivation, meaning that praise and positive feedback is important to students’ reading motivation.

All of the statements above are snippets into affective factors when reader motivation is in question, and how motivation to read can be developed by positive encounters with texts and context.


Ames, C. (1992). Classrooms: Goals, structures, and student motivation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84(3), 261-271. Retrieved from http://www.unco.edu

Cramer, E., & Castle, M. (1994). Fostering the love for reading: The affective domain in reading education. Delaware: International Reading Association.

Guthrie, J., & Wigfield, A. (2000). Engagement and motivation in reading. In R. Barr, M. Kamil, P. Mosenthal & P. Pearson (Eds.), The handbook of reading research. New York: Longman Publishing.

Mante-Estacio, J. (2012). Dimensions of reading motivation on filipino bilinguals. TESOL Journal, 7, 10-29. Retrieved from http://tesol-journal.com

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