Phase I: Research into the impact of voluntary, independent reading on overall reading scores.
My initial driving question during my first semester in the Innovative Learning program was to explore the impact of free, voluntary reading - commonly known as pleasure reading - on reading proficiency in middle school students.
In my teaching context the students receive very little face time with a teacher, so I wondered if increasing the volume of required pleasure reading might be a simple way to increase my students’ reading ability. My literature review of previous research over the decades supported the supposition that the more a person reads, the better they are at reading. Test scores on a national level indicated that students who read more scored higher on reading performance assessments.
Read more here about my original driving question, the background and need, rationale, literature review, and results.
Phase II: Research on Techniques of Transliteracy
If more reading didn't lead to better reading... what is a solution?
My action research results showed that my students knew the importance of reading and felt that they should be reading well, but they didn't see themselves as successful readers. Further, increased reading volume didn't necessarily correspond to better reading comprehension. Put simply, if they don’t like it, they don’t do it. Increasing the amount of unsuccessful reading does not bring successful reading. My students needed their reading to bring them meaning, engagement, confidence, and yes, pleasure. I set out to develop a capstone project that would use 21st century learning innovations and technology to “hook” my students on reading.
Originally my idea was that I could create a “reset” button”. Create that one positive experience with reading that might be a seed. I wanted to bring my readers enjoyment and motivation, especially those who had already experienced frustration and perceived failure. While designing this project I stumbled across the transliteracy theorists.
Literature Review from Phase I Research: