Children’s Extremely Intense Interests

Scholarly References about Children’s Interests and Related Hobbies

Ainley, M., Hidi, S., & Berndorff, D. (2002). Interest, learning and the psychological processes that mediate their relationship. Educational Psychologist, 94, 545–561.

Alexander, J. M., Johnson, K. E., Leibham, M. E., & DeBauge, C. (2005). Constructing domain-specific knowledge in Kindergarten: Relations among knowledge, intelligence, and strategic performance. Learning & Individual Differences, 15(1), 35-52.

Alexander, J. M., Johnson, K. E., Leibham, M. E., & Kelleya, K. (2008). The development of conceptual interests in young children. Cognitive Development, 23(2), 324-334.

Alexander, P. A. (2003). The development of expertise: The journey from acclimation to proficiency. Educational Researcher, 32(8), 10–14.

Alexander, P. A., & Murphy, P. K. (1998). Profiling the differences in students’ knowledge, interest and strategic processing. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90, 435–447.

Boekaerts, M., & Boscolo, P. (2002). Interest in learning, learning to be interested. Learning & Instruction, 12, 375–382. Have pdf. Differentiates interest from intrinsic motivation.

Chen, A., Darst, P. W., & Pangrazi, R. P. (2001). An examination of situational interest and its sources. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 71, 383–400.

Cohen, L. M., & Gelbrich, J. A. (1999). Early childhood interests: Seeds of adult creativity. In A. S. Fishkin, B. Cramond & P. Olszewski-Kubilius (Eds.), Investigating creativity in youth: Research and methods (pp. 147-177). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

Deloache, J. S., Simcock, G., & Macari, S. (2007). Planes, trains, automobiles – and tea sets: Extremely intense interests in very young children. Developmental Psychology, 43, 1579-1586.

Delcourt, M. A. B. (1998). What parents need to know about…Recognizing and encouraging interests, strengths, and talents of young gifted children. Practitioners’ Guide A9818. Storrs, CT: National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, University of Connecticut.

Fink, B. (1994). Interest and exploration: Exploratory action in the context of interest genesis. In H. Keller, K. Schneider & B. Henderson (Eds.), Curiosity and exploration (pp. 100-120). Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

Hidi, S., & Renninger, K. A. (2006). The four-phase model of interest development. Educational Psychologist, 41(2), 111-127.

Hidi, S., Renninger, K. A., & Krapp, A. (1992). Conclusions: The present state of interest research. In K. A. Renninger & S. Hidi & A. Krapp (Eds.), The role of interest in learning and development (pp. 433-446). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Hoffman, L., Krapp, A., Renninger, K. A., & Baumert, J. (1998). Interest and learning: proceedings of the Seeon Conference on interest and gender. Kiel: IPN.

Jersild, A. T., & Tasch, R. J. (1949). Children’s interests and what they suggest for education. New York: Bureau of Publications, Teachers College, Columbia University. Results of a large survey, mostly about school-related interests.

Johnson, K. E., Alexander, J. M., Spencer, S., Leibham, M. E., & Neitzel, C. (2004). Factors associated with the early emergence of intense interests within conceptual domains. Cognitive Development, 19(3), 325-343.  As of February 2015 this paper was available online as a pdf.

Krapp, A. (2002). Structural and dynamic aspects of interest development: theoretical considerations from an ontogenetic perspective. Learning and Instruction, 12(4), 383-409. Have pdf

Krapp, A. (1994). Interest and curiosity. The role of interest in a theory of exploratory action. In H. Keller, K. Schneider & B. Henderson (Eds.), Curiosity and exploration (pp. 79-99). Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

Krapp, A., & Fink, B. (1992). The development and function of interests during the critical transition from home to preschool. In K. A. Renninger & S. Hidi & A. Krapp (Eds.), The role of interest in learning and development (pp. 397-429). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

Leibham, M. E., Alexander, J. M., Johnson, K. E., Neitzel, C., & Reis-Henrie, F. (2005). Parenting behaviors associated with early intense interests in domains related to science. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 26, 397-414.

Rathunde, K. (2001). Family context and the development of undivided interest: A longitudinal study of family support and challenge and adolescents’ quality of experience. Applied Developmental Science, 5(3), 158-171.

Rathunde, K., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1993). Undivided interest and the growth of talent: A longitudinal study of adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 22, 1-21.

Renninger, K. A. (no date). Interest and motivation in informal science learning. The National Academies, Board on Science Education. Retrieved November 27, 2007, from the World Wide Web:

Renninger, K. A. (1992). Individual interest and development: Implications for theory and practice. In K. A. Renninger & S. Hidi & A. Krapp (Eds.), The role of interest in learning and development (pp. 361-395). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Renninger, K. A., Hidi, S., & Krapp, A. (Eds.). (1992). The role of interest in learning and development. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Renninger, K. A., Sansone, C., & Smith, J. (2004). Love of learning. In C. C. Peterson & M. E. P. Seligman (Eds.), Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification (pp. 161-179): Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association and New York, NY; Oxford University Press.

Prenzel, M. (1992). The selective persistence of interest. In K. A. Renninger & S. Hidi & A. Krapp (Eds.), The role of interest in learning and development (pp. 71-98). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Schiefele, U., Krapp, A., & Winteler, A. (1992). Interest as a predictor of academic achievement: A meta-analysis of research. In K. A. Renninger & S. Hidi & A. Krapp (Eds.), The role of interest in learning and development. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Silvia, P. J. (2006). Exploring the psychology of interest. New York: Oxford University Press. Reviews the psychological research on interest.

Tobias, S. (1994). Interest, prior knowledge and learning. Review of Educational Research, 64, 37-54.

Tracey, T. J. G. (2001). The development of structure of interests in children: Setting the stage. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 59(1), 89-104.

Travers, R. M. W. (1978). Children’s interests. Kalamazoo, MI: Western Michigan University Press.  I NEED A COPY – can you help me find one?

Trend, R. (2005). Individual, situational and topic interest in geoscience among 11- and 12-year-old children. Research Papers in Education, 20(3), 271-302.  Have pdf

Voss, J. F., & Schauble, L. (1992). Is interest educationally interesting? An interest-related model of learning. In K. A. Renninger & S. Hidi & A. Krapp (Eds.), The role of interest in learning and development (pp. 101-120). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Relationship Between Childhood Interests and Adult Professions

Black, M. S. (1999). Making American archaeologists: Memories of childhood fascination. Society for American Archeology Bulletin, 17(4). Downloaded Jan 4, 2007, from

Brockman, J. (Ed.). (2004). Curious minds: How a child becomes a scientist. New York: Pantheon.

Crowley, K., Barron, B. J., Knutson, K., & Martin, C. (In press). Interest and the development of pathways to science. In Interest in Mathematics and Science Learning and Related Activity, K. A. Renninger, M. Nieswandt, and S. Hidi (Eds.). Washington DC: AERA.

Filippelli, L. A., & Walberg, H. J. (1997). Childhood traits and conditions of eminent women scientists. Gifted Child Quarterly, 41(3), 95-104.

Hutchings, M. (1996). What will you do when you grow up? The social construction of children’s occupational preferences. Children’s Social and Economics Education, 1(1), 15-30.

Jones, G., Taylor, A., & Forrester, J. H. (2011). Developing a scientist: A retrospective look. International Journal of Science Education, 33, 1653-1673.

Maltese, A. V., & Tai, R. H. (2010). Eyeballs in the fridge: Sources of early interest in science. International Journal of Science Education, 32, 669-685.

Naiser, G. (1993). Science and engineering professors: Why did they choose science as a career? School Science and Mathematics, 93(6), 321-324.

Examples of How Educators Tap into Children’s Interests

Bush, G. (1998). Prophets in your backyard. Educational Leadership, 56(1), 46-49.  Discusses engaged learning as related to students’ own interests.

Ferguson, C. (2001). Discovering, supporting, and promoting young children’s passions and interests: One teacher’s reflections. Young Children, 56(4), 6-11.

Graham, L. (2001). From Tyrannosaurus to Pokemon: Autonomy in the teaching of writing. Reading, 35(1), 18-26.

Katz, L. G., & Chard, S. C. (1998). Issues in selecting topics for projects. ERIC Digest. Champaign, IL: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education. Something to think about: “Using children’s interests as a starting point in topic selection may lead to choosing appropriate topics, but this approach also presents several potential pitfalls.”

McGreevy, A. (2000). Earthworms, stamps and butterfly wings: Encouraging children’s interests and collections. Gifted Education International, 14(2), 197-203.

McGreevy, A., & Jaquith, D. (1990). Hobby and interest night: An opportunity for community enrichment. Gifted Education International, 6(3), 191-194.

Pappas, C. C. (1991). Fostering full access to literacy by including information books. Language Arts, 68, 449-462.

Spangler, C. (1996). The Sharing Circle: Themes for home and school involvement. Parsippany, NJ: Fearon Teacher Aids.


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