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Abstract

Understanding how social influences can foster avid book reader identification is a key research goal that warrants further investigation beyond a limited early-years lens. The author’s 2015 International Study of Avid Book Readers (ISABR) explored, as one of its key research questions, the influence positive social agents can have on avid book readers, relying on the retrospective reflections of respondents from a range of countries and supporting quantitative data to explore this research focus. Early influences were examined, with data suggesting that maternal instruction is the most prevalent source of early reading teaching. Most respondents (64.3 percent) were the recipients of positive influence from a social agent. Indirect avid reader influence, author influence, fostering access, shared social habit, reading for approval, recommendations and supporting choice, and exposure to reading aloud were recurring mechanisms of influence. The multiple mechanisms of influence identified constitute opportunities for engagement and subsequent intervention by literacy advocates, including librarians.
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... Regular reading habits, indicated by Merga and Roni (2018), play a vital role in enabling both young people and adults to meet the ever-increasing literacy demands of contemporary society. In a nutshell, while it is essential to focus on early childhood reading particularly reading aloud, subsequent experiences that enhance the desire and motivation to read and thus contribute to the creation of a commitment to reading are of great significance to further investigate (Merga, 2017). The need to study adolescents' reading practices rises due to two prominent reasons. ...
... 219). Similarly, several respondents in Merga's (2017) read by observing an avid reader who could be a parent, a relative, or just any influential figure in the child's life. Based on the self-determination theory, when children realize that their parents and/or other influential figures in their lives value and support reading activities, they feel that reading is a worthwhile endeavor (Guthrie & Wigfield, 2000). ...
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... In my study of avid book readers, I found that most avid readers (64.3%) felt that there had been a positive influence on their reading, though this could take many different forms. For example, some were influenced by just watching an adult model keen reading, some developed a shared social habit with parents or friends, and some were read to as children, fostering an early love of books and reading (Merga, 2017b). Of course, it is not only social influences that make a difference; many factors influence reading engagement, and for a detailed explanation you could refer to my previous book on the research on promoting reading engagement in young people beyond the early years (Merga, 2018a). ...
... Moreover, when children see adults excited about reading, they catch their enthusiasm, hence fostering a positive attitude towards reading (Trelease, 2001). Older readers, when asked about factors that led them to become avid readers, often refer to read-aloud experiences for developing a lifelong love of reading (Merga, 2017b(Merga, , 2017c. ...
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