In this paper, we examine the various nuanced dimensions of adolescents' dispositions towards reading in one secondary school in Singapore, where a high-stakes examination culture often threatens to colonise the practices of leisure reading. Our focus is on the better and more avid readers as they were the ones that developed the more negative attitudes towards reading at the end of their first year in secondary school. Our analysis found that there were no significant differences between boys and girls in their declining attitudes, and that for both ‘intrinsic motivation’ saw the greatest decline. However, attitudes related to learning orientation remained stable, suggesting both the impact of constraints in an exam-oriented educational structure as well as possibilities for developing reading pedagogy and adolescent reading programmes. We argue that the more educators are aware of the multidimensionality and complexity of the attitudes and values that students bring to their reading, the more effectively they will be able to design and implement programmes and pedagogy to foster positive attitudes and promote a lifelong love for reading.