Academic journal article International Journal of Education

Reading Specialists' Perceptions and Pedagogical Practices towards Struggling Readers

Academic journal article International Journal of Education

Reading Specialists' Perceptions and Pedagogical Practices towards Struggling Readers

Article excerpt

Abstract

Though concentrated efforts have focused on scientifically based instructional skills compulsory for reading development, they have failed to address the relationship between reading attitude and reading performance. Literacy experts have widely acknowledged the importance of ongoing efforts towards instilling and maintaining a positive attitude and motivation for reading, especially as it pertains to struggling readers. Investigators sought to examine reading specialists' perspectives of struggling readers' attitudes towards reading and their teaching practices used to bolster students' attitudes and abilities to read. This case study investigation involved 10 reading specialists who reported explicit instruction of both decoding and comprehension skills was the most common contributor to students' negative attitudes about reading. Classroom teachers can combat this trend by implementing an array of reading strategies and providing more student-centered interventions from early grades through junior high school.

Keywords: reading specialist, reading attitude, struggling readers, motivation

1. Introduction

Many teachers report that seeing a child develop reading proficiencies is one of the most fulfilling experiences of being an educator; however, those instances are often stifled based on a number of factors. Despite federal initiatives towards implementing more effective reading instruction programs (No Child LeftBehind Act of 2001; Reading First), student scores have remained relatively stable from 1992-2011 (National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2011). These scientifically based actions focused on instructional skills compulsory for reading development, though failed to address the relationship between reading attitude and reading performance.

Literacy experts have widely acknowledged the importance of ongoing efforts towards instilling and maintaining a positive attitude and motivation for reading, especially as it pertains to struggling readers (Edmunds & Bauserman, 2006; Gambrell, 1996; Morgan & Fuchs, 2007; Wigfield & Guthrie, 1997). Educators are keenly aware that negative attitudes towards reading persist when text reading is too challenging. Individuals engage in practices that bring pleasure and/or feelings of success whether in academic or social activities. Hence, many struggling readers read less often than their higher performing classmates (Ganske, Monroe, & Strickland, 2003). If advancement in literacy is to be attained, it is fundamental to improve struggling readers' attitudes towards reading (Guthrie, Coddington, & Wigfield, 2009; Marinak & Gambrell, 2010). Teachers of struggling readers must be included in research to inform curricular planning and instructional decisions if improvements are to be made.

Investigators sought to examine reading specialists' perspectives of struggling readers' attitudes towards reading, and their teaching practices used to bolster students' attitudes and abilities to read. Are these unenthusiastic attitudes a result of unpleasant reading experiences during early childhood years? Were students negatively influenced by instructional methods? Exploring the roots of students' loss of enthusiasm for reading is vital towards reconnecting children with high quality literature and enjoyable learning opportunities.

2. Theoretical Framework

This investigation is grounded in interpretive theories that maintain the basic notion that there are multiple truths (Berger & Luckmann, 1966). Crotty (1998) purports, "Truth, or meaning, comes into existence in and out or our engagement with the realities in our world . . . it is clear that different people may construct meaning in different ways, even in relation to the same phenomenon" (p.8). Unlike the positivist framework, interpretivism seeks to understand and explain human and social reality-an understanding that is different for every individual person (Bhattacharya, 2007; Smith, 1983). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.