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ERIC Number: ED533895
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 248
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1249-7551-1
Finding Your Home in a Book: Sociocultural Influences on Literacy Learning in a Rural School
Enger Waller, Rachael J.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of North Dakota
In a rural community there is a risk that readers will not find connections to their own lives, which may affect the pleasure gained from reading. The purpose of this qualitative study is to examine the use of literature in a small rural elementary school, focusing on how sociocultural factors affect how students connect to and access literature. The study is situated in three theories that help explain how students' prior experiences affect connecting with text. These are Bronfenbrenner's Human Ecology Model, sociocultural theory, and schema theory. The research questions are: 1. How are children living in a rural environment guided to make connections with literature? 2. How does a rural setting influence the connections children make with literature? 3. How do children in a rural environment access literature? 4. How are expectations for literacy learning influenced by this particular rural setting? Constructivist grounded theory methods were used in the data collection and analysis process, and to develop a grounded theory regarding how students in rural communities make connections. Access was obtained to study educators and students in Garfield (pseudonym), a rural town in the Upper Plains region of the United States. Field notes and verbatim data were obtained from classroom observation, interviews with educators, focus groups with children, and analysis of a segment of a commercial (basal) text. Constructivist grounded theory data methods which included coding, memoing, bias checking, theme and theory generation, were used for data analysis. Data analysis produced five themes, which were: community of care, approaches to reading instruction, "becoming one," literacy access, and feeling stretched out. The themes were further abstracted to provide interpretation of the research questions. Three assertions about how students in this rural setting were guided to make text connections were formed: teachers in rural schools often possess intimate knowledge of their students, which is advantageous in helping students develop personal connections with literature; the connections made by students in this rural setting are highly teacher dependent and curriculum dependent; and sociocultural influences for children within the rural community heighten the importance of the school as the primary literacy sponsor. The overall theory about how students are guided to make text connections is situated in sociocultural perspectives, especially drawing on Bronfenbrenner's Human Ecology Model. I theorize that the tension between various layers of influence on development--the remote, external world and the closer factors of community and family are in tension with each other, and these exact same tensions are reflected when teachers guide students to make connections with text. For example, commercial curriculum calls for teachers to make mostly text to world connections. I recommend teachers adapt commercial curriculum to include a balance of text to world and text to community and text to self connections. Without this adaptation, students in rural communities may not have opportunity to "become one" with a book, which also denies the student the pleasure that comes from reading. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A