Passage to literacy: A study of the progress and growth of four elementary students with learning difficulties in a child-centered school

Susan Elyce Zernik, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

This study closely observed four students who have reading or learning difficulties within a curriculum which uses literature as its base. In contrast to the traditional focus of research on the education of children with difficulties, this study looked at the relationship between the school setting and students' print-related views, attitudes and practices stemming from their encounters with a variety of texts and subjects. Ethnography practices were used in order to get a more comprehensive and close view of students' school lives. Data were collected over the course of a school year. Procedures included interviews with the four students, their parents and teachers, classroom observations of the students and review of selected documents. Fieldnotes were kept during observations and transcripts from taped interviews were explored for major themes of the students' experiences in school. Conclusions were drawn from the data regarding the ways the environment of the school relates to the students' literacy learning experiences, the students' perceptions of themselves as readers and learners and their conceptions of what constitutes reading and learning. Implications from the data are suggested for research on individual differences between children with reading/learning difficulties and innovative means to prevent future failure.

Subject Area

Literacy|Reading instruction|Elementary education|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Zernik, Susan Elyce, "Passage to literacy: A study of the progress and growth of four elementary students with learning difficulties in a child-centered school" (1996). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9632522.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI9632522

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