A Descriptive Study of Middle School Alliterates
Ries, Pamela S.
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The Problem: The problem of this study is to identify why, according to the perspective of middle school alliterates, students who are capable of reading choose not to read. Procedures: The research was conducted using qualitative methodology. Subjects of this study were seventh and eighth grade students at a central Iowa middle school. The Motivation to Read Profile was used to identify capable readers who chose not to read. Data were collected through student reading logs, semi-structured interviews, open-ended questionnaires, follow-up interviews, and field notes. The data were analyzed using constant comparative methodology. Findings: Five themes evolved from analysis of the subjects' responses concerning why they choose not to read. These five themes included freedom of selection, time allocation, peer relationships, reading attitudes, and reading habits. Conclusions: This study yielded four conclusions. (a) Students do not necessarily read outside of school. (b) Middle school students say they need more freedom of selection in what they read, what format they use to read, and in how they spend their time. (c) Middle school students opt to spend time with their peers in organized or informal activities. (d) Middle school students' reading attitudes are reflected in their reading habits. Recommendations: The following implications emerged from a review of the literature and findings from this study. (a) Educators may consider providing students with freedom to select reading content and formats, in how they spend their time, and with whom they work. (b) Students need time to get into the "flow" of academic engagement. Educators may wish to reorganize how students spend time in school. (c) Students appear to learn more when they work collegially. Educators may want to explore options for multi-generational pairings. (d) Educators may benefit from professional development opportunities focused on philosophical innovations.
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