The Role of Teachers’ Cognitive Support in Motivating Young Hong Kong Chinese Children to Read and Enhancing Reading Comprehension

Jan. 15, 2011

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 27, Issue 1, January 2011, Pages 73-84.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The present study investigated the relationship between young Chinese children’s motivation, teachers’ use of motivating instructional strategies and children’s reading comprehension.
The theoretical framework of the present study was based Motivating Instructional Contexts Inventory that postulated that teachers’ cognitive support could motivate Chinese students to learn.

This study used both students’ self-reported questionnaires and classroom observation to examine how instructional practices motivate students to engage in reading and enhance students’ reading comprehension.

The goals of this study were to examine the relationship between:
1. Second graders’ intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation and their reading comprehension;
2. Second graders’ perceptions of their teachers’ instructional practices, their intrinsic motivation and their reading comprehension; and
3. Observed teachers’ cognitive support and second graders` reading comprehension.

The participants comprised 35 Chinese language teachers and their 1056 Grade 2 students in 11 primary schools in Hong Kong.


The findings reveal that intrinsic motivation was positively, but moderately, correlated with reading comprehension. Extrinsic motivation was slightly negatively correlated with reading comprehension: children who scored highly on the extrinsic motivation scale obtained low scores for reading comprehension.

The present study indicated that teachers’ cognitive support motivated students to read with the result that students’ ability in reading comprehension was enhanced. However, it is not implied that only motivation is related to students’ reading comprehension

This study has implications for reading instruction and teacher education not just in Hong Kong, but internationally. Teachers and teacher trainers should be aware of the need to structure cooperative learning activities in reading classrooms. The study shows that the more effective lessons in terms of promoting motivation and reading comprehension were those in which teachers provided scaffolding to students, structured group interaction in discussion, and gave constructive feedback. The observed instructional practices scale, used in this study, could act as a practical guide, both for practising teachers and for pre-service teachers in teacher training programs, to the various types of instructional practices that contribute to effective teacher cognitive support in reading lessons.

In conclusion, the findings of this study provide further evidence that children’s intrinsic motivation and reading comprehension can be increased significantly through teachers’ well-planned scaffolding and guidance.
This study indicates how teachers can provide cognitive support in reading classrooms through providing students with challenging tasks, stimulating students’ curiosity about the reading materials, granting students’ autonomy in participating in classroom activities, linking texts to students’ real-world experience, and recognising students’ efforts in reading comprehension.

Updated: Nov. 01, 2011