Introduction Over the past few years, as the concept of life-long education has received much recognition, the value of reading has also revealed. The scholars have done several researches on the public’s reading behaviors and preferences. They have found out that gender roles and what people major in school are the most influential factors of human’s reading penchants in literature; moreover, selections in reading materials alter with the passing of time. Gender Gender role identities play a pivotal part in people’s reading behaviors.
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However, the differences between boys and girls in gender role identities could be swayed by latency period. It a stage that a child starts to repress his sexual urges and tends to make friends of the same sex to develop his future characters. Social stereotypes of gender roles are also one of the factors, transforming into a child’s quality during his process of self-fulfilling. And the alteration in social stereotypes of gender roles was reflected on the gender of protagonists in the story as well as adolescents’ reading preferences.
Schuktheis(1990) distributed questionnaires to 240 adolescents to unveil the relationship between reading fondness and teenagers’ attitudes toward gender roles. It turns out that girls (averagely, 21 hours per month in a school year) spend more time on reading than boys do (15 hours per month in a school year on average), and all of them are eager to have more time to read. Staggeringly, both genders prefer male protagonist, while the stories with female protagonists are refused by most of the boys.
It would have something to do with the stereotypes that females are inferior to males. Nonetheless, Chen(2007) indicated that in most of the western findings, females read more than males do. ( Witty, 1961 ; McCreath, 1975; Blackwood et al, 1991; Gallik, 1999). Dissimilarly, Chen’s survey(2007) shows the amount of time spent on extracurricular reading between males and females is in a narrow margin, which is completely distinct from the western findings. To this difference, Chen(2007) made her assumption and suggested, “Historically in Taiwan, reading was a man’s job.
Today, even though women are equally educated in many ways, the concept of reading in Chinese culture is not viewed as a “feminine behavior”. ”(p. 650) Major Students from diverse departments and majors may conceive of different attitudes toward reading and show various reading behaviors. In 2000, Yan’s picked sixty college students from book stores and given depth interviews. The outcome of Yan’s survey(2000) is that college students are not interested in in-class reading, but most of them still deem their in-school results are associated to their future developments.
In addition, since the strain comes from schoolwork, students from Science and Engineering departments are more active in in-class reading than students from other departments do; on the other hand, only few of them are attracted in recreational reading. Furthermore, students who major in Business, Management, Art, and Design, tend to choose materials which are related to their own major owing to teacher’s encouragement. Chen’s survey(2007) indicates that students majoring in humanities read more than students in other department do, and this result is consistent with Jeffries and Atkins finding in 1996.
Material Preferences Students’ choices in reading materials also change a lot from the past few decades. Blai and Harcum, Jr (1970) took 594 female students from Harcum Junior College and 492 students from City University of New York Community Colleges as respondents to distribute their questionnaires. Blai and Harcum, Jr’s survey(1970), which unmasks respondents’ reading preferences and habits, specifies that among all of the reading materials, short stories surmount magazine articles and novels, becoming the most popular category. Conversely, comic books are distasted by 50 percent of the respondents.
Gallik’s survey(1999) shows magazines rank as the first place among all of the reading materials by 75 percent of the respondents. And comic books, like most of the surveys done in Western, are the least popular. In Yan’s survey(2000), newspapers are read by most of the college students, but magazines are the most well-liked materials among the students. Newspapers are read by most of the college students because they are easy to get, include assorted contents, and can fill up the scattered leisure time. With its qualities of acquirement and leisure, magazines are welcomed with college students.
And the reading of magazines are usually taken place in libraries and book stores. Generally, students will buy magazines when the coverage are associated to their major subjects. Besides, the main temptation for college student to read comic books is just because of their habits. Chen(2007) states that newspaper and magazines are the most popular material. Different from the western findings, comic books are ranked in the middle place. In 2009, Huang, Wu, and Changchen distributed a questionnaire to college students in Taiwan to analyze their reading comprehension, habits, and behaviors.
They finally got 1077 effective copies form ten college in different parts of Taiwan. According to Huang, Wu, and Changchen’s study(2009), literature works are the first rank with 79 percent hobbyists, followed by language learning books. This outcome has reflected the trend of language learning. In addition, college students would choose original text books when they buy language teaching materials, literature works, reference books, and professional magazines. Moreover, magazines are read by 70 percent of the college students. Conclusion