My friends visualize when they read. It's like a movie in their heads. It's different for me: Meta-conversations with adolescent reluctant readers

Cecilia Anne Aitken, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to uncover aliteracy and identify marginalized readers (Moje, Young, Readence, & Moore, 2000) from within a sixth-grade student population at a suburban middle school. The primary focus of this study was to determine, from the personal literacy narratives of sixth-grade reluctant readers, why young adolescent students who can read, choose or prefer to read very little or not at all. This study was a practitioner's inquiry into the complex issues of aliteracy and the mystery that surrounds young adolescent reluctant readers. This study utilized a mixed-method design, including the collection and review of both qualitative and quantitative data and integrated a constant comparison method of data analysis. The quantitative data sources included student responses to a reading survey, as well as a review of student reading performance on state and local assessments. The qualitative data sources included student responses both to conversational interviews as well as a writing prompt; and informal conversational interviews with teachers. The findings from this study indicated there are no clear distinctions between reluctant and avid readers. Rather, there was a blurring of the lines, especially as the profile of reluctant readers was compared to that of avid readers identified in this study. Perhaps the complexity of developing young adolescents and their ever-changing interests are the reasons for this range of engagement in reading. The results of this study led to the development of five recommendations for policy and practice: (1) Connect students with books, (2) Teach active reading strategies, (3) Schedule time in the school day for independent reading, (4) Develop efferent and aesthetic stances for reading, and (5) Integrate technology. Aliteracy sounds the alarm as loudly in the 21st century as illiteracy once did in the 20th century. The growing disengagement of young adolescent readers is reaching a crisis threshold (Guthrie & Davis, 2003), and if students are to successfully navigate the transitions from middle school through high school and the workplace, they need to be engaged as readers throughout this epic journey.

Subject Area

Literacy|Reading instruction

Recommended Citation

Aitken, Cecilia Anne, "My friends visualize when they read. It's like a movie in their heads. It's different for me: Meta-conversations with adolescent reluctant readers" (2006). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3227713.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3227713

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