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ERIC Number: ED547973
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 183
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2674-7787-3
The Social Dimensions of an Individual Act: Situating Urban Adolescent Students' Reading Growth and Reading Motivation in School Culture
Francois, Chantal
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Harvard University
Reading underachievement among adolescent students, particularly in urban areas, has been well documented in the literature. This reality points to two problems: Schools possess neither the capacity needed to prepare students for higher education and the workforce, nor the ability to help students view literacy as a tool for critical thinking, self advocacy, and identity development. Sociocultural perspectives on literacy view reading as an activity that develops as one interacts with the surrounding environment; as such might imagine that schools could have a positive impact on how adolescents read, how much they read, and how successful they are at the task of reading. This dissertation presents findings from Grant Street Secondary School (a pseudonym), an urban public middle and high school, that has been described as having a strong reading culture. During the year of data collection, I sought to understand Grant Street students' reading trajectories and their reading motivation levels in the context of the school culture--its mission, structural features, and everyday practices related to reading. The first chapter shows that Grant Street students outpaced their peers nationwide in reading growth. I attribute students' atypical growth patterns to staff members' shared vision of critical academic press and social support. In the second chapter, I illustrate the core of the school's reading initiatives, independent reading. Grant Street's independent reading program reflected a literacy-focused community of practice because staff and students simultaneously attended to domains of reading, the community of readers, and the practice of becoming a reader. The third chapter features results from a reading motivation survey showing that Grant Street students possessed relatively high levels of reading motivation. Findings from interviews described the nuance associated with higher levels of motivation reading levels at Grant Street. Together, these three studies deepen our understanding of the multidimensional school practices that advance adolescents' reading development. These studies also hold important implications about the usefulness of drawing from various methodologies to learn about the literacy practices inherent in school sites. [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:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A