Published on February 20, 2014
THE ROLE OF STUDENTS: HOW SECONDARY LITERACY TEACHERS VIEW INDEPENDENT READING Matthew Ulyesses Blankenship, M.Ed. University of South Florida
IMPETUS FOR RESEARCH Personal connection: Reading teacher for five years focused on struggling adolescent reading. Previous research: The National Reading Panel derailed research on independent reading for many years because of its exclusion based on research methodology expectations. Current Practice: As an administrator, students reject reading because of the increased focus on standardized testing.
OBJECTIVES OF STUDY Survey Secondary Teachers about Independent Reading What do they know? Where did they learn the construct of independent reading? How do they implement independent reading (if they do)? What considerations do they have when implementing independent reading? What results do they find in the classroom from independent reading?
THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVE Situated Learning / Constructivist view (Lave, 1991; Lave, 1998; and Wenger, 1998) Learning occurs through interaction with others and the environment. Teachers and students build a community of practice where learning occurs between and among members of the community Learning is social and discussion should be encouraged.
RELEVANT LITERATURE Independent reading is the self or scaffold selection of reading materials both in and out of the classroom that students read on their own(Morgan & Wagner, 2013 ) Independent reading is declining in the secondary classroom (Lapp & Fisher, 2009) Students desire more time and choice of materials within the classroom for independent reading (Ivey & Broaddus, 2000; Zipper, Sisson & Said, 2002; Trudel, 2002; Kasten & Wilfong, 2005). Students call for a social aspect tied to independent reading similar to book clubs (Ivey & Broaddus, 2000; Zipper, Sisson & Said, 2002; Trudel, 2002; Kasten & Wilfong, 2005).
RESEARCH METHODS Phenomenological Approach as teachers implement (or do not implement) the shared phenomenon of independent reading (Creswell, 2013). Guiding Question : “In what ways do high school reading and English teachers incorporate (or not incorporate) independent reading in the classroom?” Each teacher was interviewed based on his or her experiences in the classroom. Semi structured interview questions were created by the primary investigator and refined through a pilot study and mentor support.
SAMPLE QUESTIONS How do you define education? How do you define reading? In what ways can a secondary teacher teach literacy or reading skills? How did you learn about independent reading strategies? In what ways do you incorporate independent reading strategies in your classroom? What effects from independent reading do you see in the classroom? What influences your decision to incorporate independent reading into the classroom?
PARTICIPANTS Seven teachers with a teaching span between eight and 36 years. All were certified to teach by the state agency in either English or Reading (endorsed). Three of the seven had degrees in education . Four of the seven had degrees in English or English Education. Six of the seven taught English or Reading courses more than five years.
DATA ANALYSIS Following Glaser’s (1965) constant comparative approach of repeated readings. Steps: Interview Transcribe Each transcript read individually looking for emergent themes. Transcripts than read across looking for emergent themes. Data entered into word analysis program (www.wordle.net) to create word count and word cloud to substantiate themes. Similar and binary codes were created and each transcript was read a final time coding for these ideas.
RESULTS Five Different Themes Emerged Act of Education Difference between reading and literacy: it is about understanding Defining independent reading – student choice Location of independent reading Effects of independent reading
ACT OF EDUCATION Teachers differed on their view of education including how active students are during the process. “Education is the procurement of knowledge, gathering knowledge to better yourself.” “Education is the process … to learn the necessary skills” “Students serve as deposits during education.”
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN READING AND LITERACY Participants’ understanding of reading and literacy focused on developing understanding versus fluency. “Reading is decoding words written on a page.” “Literacy to me means you understand what you are reading and can apply it to your everyday life and explain it to others.”
DEFINING INDEPENDENT READING The hallmark of our participants’ understanding of independent reading focused on student choice. “Students reading on their own from a text they choose.” “Read from our class library or bring personal reading to class.”
LOCATION OF INDEPENDENT READING Teachers disagreed on the idea of where independent reading occurs. “In my class, independent reading…” “at their own pace inside or outside of school, that is independent reading.”
EFFECTS OF INDEPENDENT READING Teachers focused on “catching” students faking reading. “Students try to fool me into thinking they are reading when they are not.” “Students still refuse to read and will fake it by holding up a book without actually reading.” “The time is wasted and students are not focused.”
IMPLICATIONS Teachers Administrators Policy Makers Build knowledge of independent reading. Support independent reading in the classroom. Support independent reading through the guiding documents, allowing for the strategy. Collaborate with others to improve independent reading implementation. Provide monetary resources to teachers to bolster classroom libraries. Develop models for individual growth instead of focusing on standardized testing.
CONCLUSION Independent reading is an important strategy for secondary educators. Continued research is necessary (and growing strong) to study independent reading. The strategy needs additional support for implementation to make it successful.
CONTACT INFORMATION Matthew Ulyesses Blankenship University of South Florida, Tampa firstname.lastname@example.org Presentation available for review on Slide Share.
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