The ability of reading is an important part of teaching literacy and language acquisition. Reading improves the thinking ability by giving new concepts and ideas and enhances vocabulary and language which is essential in verbal communication. Because of the importance of reading, children and adolescents are encouraged to read by their parents, teachers and sometimes by national reading campaigns as an educational policy. Turkey launched a nationwide reading campaign targeting high school students in 2004, and another one aimed at primary school students in 2005 which is called the 100 Basic Literary Works reading campaign.
This study investigated the reading habits of Turkish high school students. It also explored how students are influenced by family, teacher and peer group. Moreover, the study investigated the association between the students reading habits and their gender, school type and region. In addition, the study examined current efforts to encourage students to read. The study was conducted in 8 provinces and 8 districts of Turkey in 2012. The data was gathered thorough questionnaires with 2425 students from 86 high schools of 5 different types and interviews with 31 students, 15 teachers and 4 local education managers.
The study found that 82.0% of young people in general read at least once or twice a week outside school for at least 30 minutes and 40.6% read every day or almost every day for leisure. It was found that females were more frequent and enthusiastic readers than males. The students from science high schools and Southern East Anatolia Region read more frequently. It was indicated that the majority of the students reported that they were aware of the 100 Basic Literary Works reading campaign but, in fact, they knew of the campaign in upper-primary school. The qualitative findings indicated that there was little awareness of the campaign in high schools.
Libraries are important places to assist inculcate children s and young people s love of reading and provide free access to reading materials and sources but Turkish young people were not frequent users of libraries. Both teachers and students had concerns about lack of reading materials and poor facilities and services in public and school libraries in Turkey.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.