UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Assembling the puzzle : an investigation of Asian adolescent students’ recreational reading habits Braeder, Darlene E.


My belief in the value of recreational reading for pleasure prompted this study which was designed to understand the educational and cultural background of Asian adolescent students and make recommendations so that we can ensure that all students in our English classrooms are equipped with the skills and motivation to read for pleasure and thus are able to participate fully in class regardless of their previous educational experience. In the study I investigated the recreational reading habits of Asian adolescents in two similar urban schools in Vancouver to discover why Asian adolescents were not reading recreation ally in English. I examined the participants recollections of their experiences with books and story from birth to preschool, in kindergarten and elementary school in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Communist China. I used interviews to gather data from 22 Asian adolescents, 5 English as a second language (ESL) adults, 8 teachers of ESL and 100 recently arrived ESL parents in the Vancouver area. Results indicated that many of the students perceived reading only as a means of improving their English skills and increasing their knowledge base. Adolescents coming to Canada face many pressures to learn English quickly and graduate "on time." Their experiences with literature in their home country were very different from the expectations of Vancouver schools and the expectations of the home culture and parents expect adolescents to study hard. I conclude with recommendations to all groups involved in education to encourage Asian adolescent students of ESL background to read recreationally in English.

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