ERIC Number: ED329899
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
The Year of Silence: An Analysis of High Achieving Readers' Non-Participation in a Reading Response Group.
Ruddell, Martha Rapp-Haggard
Reading response groups are an outgrowth of theories which suggest that: (1) meaning derived from text is highly individualized and personal, and (2) reader understanding is deepened through interactions among peers. A study examined the non-participation in one reading response group composed of four high-achieving adult readers who were experienced professionals and researchers in the field of reading/language development. The four subjects met at the annual meeting of the National Reading Conference and agreed to form a reading response group to maintain and share written response logs related to a book chosen by the group. For one entire year, however, group members sent no monthly response logs to one another nor did they even communicate with each other, although all members completed at least some reading and made some attempts to generate a response log. At the subsequent annual meeting, the members of the group agreed to write introspective, retrospective accounts of their "year of silence." Results indicated that: (1) the combination of unspecified task definition, mixed motives for group membership, and lack of group leadership created a condition of wide-ranging ambiguity which reduced the ability of group participants to identify the means for task completion; (2) task unfamiliarity and social/emotional concerns interacted with intrinsically high-risk tasks to produce an intolerable risk level; and (3) the combined impact of open-ended tasks with new task roles created a condition of high ambiguity/high risk which militated against successful completion of the task. Findings suggest that inhibiting factors associated with ambiguity and risk may seriously reduce, or remove entirely, the benefits expected from peer interactions in reading response groups. (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Group Attitudes; Reading Motivation
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Reading Conference (40th, Miami, FL, November 27-December 1, 1990).