Literacy that matters: how teacher's instructional decisions shape students' reading identities and learning outcomes

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Vickie McEwen Morefield (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Colleen Fairbanks

Abstract: This research focused on students' reading identities and literacy learning and their potential relationships to teachers' instructional decisions in the support of these. The study included two experienced teachers from an ethnically diverse urban school district. This middle school setting included two classes each from one sixth-grade language arts teacher and one seventh-grade language arts teacher. A total of 120 students were invited to participate in this study and 66 returned parental consents and student assent. Multiple data sources informed the analysis including: videotaped observations, field notes, two student reading surveys, tickets out the door, student interviews, and teacher interviews. Data analysis focused on teaching practices defined as effective by the International Reading Association (2000) and the principled practices set forth by Sturtevant et al. (2006) and students' responses to these practices. Findings included the students' view of reading and how the teachers' instructional decisions worked in support of the students' reading identities and literacy outcomes. Students understood that reading should: (a) have a purpose and connect to their personal lives, (b) be engaging, (c) lead to important understandings, and (d) be a comfortable fit to produce understanding. Students in these classes believed their reading was improving and their teachers were supporting their efforts. The structure of the classes varied slightly, but the focus on students' literacy and learning consistently informed the instructional decisions made by the teachers. These teachers articulated confidence in the power of their instructional decisions to help improve literacy. Both teachers emphasized the importance of relationship building in their classrooms. This research begins with the students' view of reading and examines the ways in which two experienced teachers work to support both the reading identities of the students and their literacy learning.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Instructional decisions, Learning outcomes, Literacy, Middle school students, Reading, Reading identities
Language arts (Elementary) $z North Carolina $v Evaluation
Literacy $x Psychological aspects

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