Reading and Writing Experiences of Middle School Students in the Digital Age: Wattpad Sample

Mazhar Bal

Abstract


This study aimed to determine the in-school and out-of-school reading and writing experiences of middle school students. This study used phenomenology from qualitative research methods. All 12 participants (8 female, 4 male) were middle school grade 6 students. Various data collection techniques were employed: a survey and a semi-structured interview about the use of Wattpad, a semi-structured interview about the Turkish language subject, a semi-structured interview about the relationship between in-school and out-of-school reading and writing experiences, a diary of the students’ Wattpad reading list, a diary of the students’ Wattpad writing list, and the texts written by the students on Wattpad. Data collection lasted 16 weeks. The data collected from the survey questionnaire were analyzed descriptively. The data from the semi-structured interviews and diaries were analyzed using content analysis. The results indicated that most of the participants had a negative perception of in-school reading. Similar conclusions were drawn from the results in-school writing because most of the participants felt restricted and under pressure during the in-school writing process. Wattpad was considered a venue where participants can express themselves comfortably. The participants shared positive experiences characterized by willingness, diversity, meaningfulness, and entertainment. By contrast, in-school reading evoked negative experiences, such as feeling obliged, bored, and restricted, and perceiving the activity as meaningless. Out-of-school writing experiences were determined to promote internal motivation, to develop self-expression of one’s anxiety and enjoyment alike, and to develop digital writing skills in out-of-school writing experiences. Overall, no relationship was found between in-school and out-of-school reading and writing experiences.


Keywords


Wattpad, Out-of-school Reading, Out-of-school Writing, In-school Reading, In-school Writing

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijels.v.6n.2p.89

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