Date of Award

Summer 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Learning


Literacy Leadership

Committee Director

Charlene Fleener

Committee Member

Linda Bol

Committee Member

Tami Al-Hazza


Previous research by Chall and Jacobs (2003) documented the phenomena of the fourth grade slump, a period in which students switch from learning to read to reading to learn and the subsequent loss of motivation to read. The purpose of this research is to present a phenomenological qualitative study of whether a sample of fourth grade students, low-achieving readers and average achieving readers, exhibited a loss in their motivation to read. Students' responses to a standardized conversational survey and questionnaire, the Motivation to Read Profile (Gambrell, Palmer, Codling & Mazzoni, 2007) and teachers' responses to a researcher-developed questionnaire were examined and coded by themes. Results indicated that there was no difference in motivation to read between low-achieving and average-achieving readers. Students' responses showed positive motivation to read, while teachers' response indicated a negative attitude towards students' motivation to read. Research results were inconclusive concerning students' readiness to switch from learning to read to reading to learn. Implications for future research are discussed. A review of pertinent literature is presented.