Date of Award

2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

College

College of Education and International Services

First Advisor

Shirley A. Freed

Second Advisor

James A. Tucker

Third Advisor

Larry D. Burton

Abstract

Problem

Educators have substantive concerns about the quality of children’s literature in general and leveled readers in particular. Though thousands of titles are now available, educators appear to be searching for something better than the text and illustrations found in many of these books. But before educators, authors, and publishers can respond to this perceived need for better beginners’ books, they need a clearer understanding of influences affecting the selection of leveled readers for early literacy instruction.

Research Design

This qualitative study was based on a narrative inquiry approach. Nine participants were purposefully chosen to represent three distinct groups (university literacy professors, regional superintendents, and classroom teachers) that had the potential to impact the selection of leveled readers for early literacy instruction. Data were collected through qualitative inquiry and interpreted using a constant comparison method of data analysis.

A major focus of this study was the relationship of the data to what Clan- dinin and Connelly have called the three-dimensional inquiry space. This is a central core of narrative inquiry with roots that go back to John Dewey’s work in the 1930s. It is based on the assumption that reality is holistic, multidimensional, and always changing as opposed to being a single, fixed, objective phenomenon that is waiting to be discovered. This underlying construct informed every aspect of data collection and analysis throughout the study.

Results

Upon analysis of the data, four major themes emerged. An educator’s professional life can influence the selection of leveled readers for early literacy instruction. Examples include literacy training, attending reading conferences, reading professional journals, and similar activities. An educator’s personal life can influence the selection of leveled readers for early literacy instruction. Examples include childhood experiences, religious beliefs, family concerns, and similar matters.

An educator’s personal preferences can influence the selection of leveled readers for early literacy instruction. Examples include illustrations, content, and style. Selections can reflect either positive or negative concerns. An educator’s post of employment can influence the selection of leveled readers for early literacy instruction. For example, superintendents in this study appeared to be more influenced by anticipated reactions of adult constituents, whereas classroom teachers and literacy professors appeared to be more influenced by the perceived needs of children.

Conclusion

An educator’s professional life, personal life, personal preferences, and post of employment can influence the selection of leveled readers for early literacy instruction. Conscious awareness of these influences has the potential to not only improve the quality of the selection process, but also to impact the development of new early literacy materials.

Subject Area

Readers (Primary); Readers (Elementary); Literacy programs

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

DOI

https://dx.doi.org/10.32597/dissertations/1713

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