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ERIC Number: ED568518
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 254
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3038-5569-6
American Poetry & A Paradigm of Play: Transforming Literature with Young Children
Crozer, Karen J.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Claremont Graduate University
For over a decade, America's educational policymakers have devalued the role of literature in K-12 classrooms. By welding federal funding to initiatives such as Reading First, government officials have downplayed the importance of reading literature and have argued against giving children voluntary, free reading time in which students can select books that interest them. In addition, U.S. officials have reduced the joy of reading by encouraging students to dissect texts for discrete skill acquisition instead of for meaning. As a result, these policymakers created a generation of readers who rarely read at home or for fun. Many of these elementary students, who are able to answer test questions but lack authentic reading experiences, are growing into adults who are uninterested in literature and thus less likely to become eloquent, empathetic citizens. This problem increasingly affects the field of English, and other disciplines will soon see the effects of students who are unable or unwilling to read broadly or insightfully. Despite billions of dollars spent through the No Child Left Behind Act to end illiteracy by 2014, children's reading and writing scores have remained unchanged, while students' time spent in pleasure reading has plummeted. This dissertation uses an interdisciplinary approach to interrogate federal approaches to literature in the elementary classroom. Then, the researcher explains how she employed a paradigm of play and an American Literature perspective to create a 20th century poetry curriculum called "Slam Lit." After 803 upper elementary students in after-school programs experienced the curriculum, 28 students were interviewed and 13 instructors were surveyed for feedback. This exploratory, qualitative study uses these results to investigate how presenting literature through play could increase students' enjoyment of literature. After experiencing literature through play, the majority of students reported enjoying literature more than they had in the past. The discussion of the qualitative data offers a compelling case for English professors to re-enter the discussion about how elementary children are taught to read. The dissertation concludes by discussing the implications of these findings for American policymakers, professors of humanities, and children in public elementary schools. [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