The effects of choice on the reading comprehension and enjoyment of children with severe inattention and no attentional difficulties

Myrofora Kakoulidou*, Frances Knight, Roberto Filippi, Jane Hurry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

It has been proposed that enhancing motivation supports the learning of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Less is known if inattentive children with no ADHD diagnosis may similarly benefit, when being motivated to engage in an academic task. Using a repeated-measures design, this study investigated the effects of text choice as an intrinsic motivator on the reading comprehension and enjoyment of Year 4 children attending mainstream primary schools (N = 92; aged 8-9 years; 48 boys); comparing those with no attentional difficulties and severe inattention. We hypothesized that 1) choice would increase reading comprehension and enjoyment 2) choice would increase the reading comprehension and enjoyment of children both with severe inattention and no attentional difficulties 3) choice effects would be significantly greater for children with severe inattention than those with no attentional difficulties. Children participated in a reading intervention that included a Choice (experimental) and a No Choice (control) condition. Child inattention was measured via a Virtual Reality Continuous Performance Task (Omission errors, Reaction Time Variability) and Teacher Ratings. Choice significantly increased reading comprehension, but not enjoyment compared with no choice. Choice improved the reading comprehension of children with both severe inattention and no attentional difficulties. Choice did not benefit the reading of severely inattentive children more than that of children with no attentional difficulties. These findings underline the educational benefits of choice for young readers both with severe inattention and no attentional difficulties, which are further discussed drawing on existing theory and research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Early online date21 Jun 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Inattention
  • Reading comprehension
  • Reading motivation
  • Choice
  • Situational interest

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