The Literary Lives of Marginalized Readers

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021153/00001

Material Information

Title: The Literary Lives of Marginalized Readers Preadolescent Girls' Rationales for Book Choice and Experiences with Self-Selected Books
Physical Description: 1 online resource (343 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Graff, Jennifer M
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007


Subjects / Keywords: access, analysis, books, conceptions, discourse, engagement, experiences, gender, girls, hermeneutics, literacy, literature, preadolescent, qualitative, readers, reading, selections, struggling
Teaching and Learning -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Curriculum and Instruction (ISC) thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: Reading is often considered a literacy practice at which girls excel and enjoy. However, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a substantial amount of girls do struggle with reading. Research indicates an association between reading engagement and reading achievement, yet a dissonance between what teachers and students consider to be 'engaging reads' exists. The purpose of this hermeneutical study was to better understand why girls identified as struggling readers selected particular books for personal use and their subsequent experiences with those books. A secondary purpose was to better understand their conceptions of reading as they interacted with their selected books. Over a period of eight months, seven culturally diverse girls in fourth and fifth grade borrowed books from a collection of more than 160 picture and chapter books they helped create. At the study's conclusion they selected up to 15 books to own. Primary data sources included open-ended interviews about their book selections and book experiences, initial and final semi-structured interviews, and spontaneous conversations about the books and the participants' book interactions. Additional data sources included the researcher's field notes and reflective journal. The data sources were analyzed using discourse analysis and thematic analysis. The participants typically selected books which, while not necessarily endorsed by schools or teachers, would help them and their relatives read successfully. Their book selections also indicated their desire for successful role models, to understand the mysteries of life and friendships, and to establish peer communities. Mass media had considerable influence upon the girls' book selections. Participants initially considered reading to be punitive and reductive in nature. As the study progressed, most of the participants' conceptions of books and reading broadened and were enriched. Books and reading often served as conduits for power, peer acceptance, cross-cultural understanding, familial bonds, and self-validation. However they also stimulated discomfort due to conflicting perspectives about books and reading. While the participants stated they would read their selected books, their behavior and subsequent interviews revealed that the social and economic capital of certain books within larger communities were sometimes more valuable than reading the written words.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Jennifer M Graff.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Fu, Danling.

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Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021153:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021153/00001

Material Information

Title: The Literary Lives of Marginalized Readers Preadolescent Girls' Rationales for Book Choice and Experiences with Self-Selected Books
Physical Description: 1 online resource (343 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Graff, Jennifer M
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007


Subjects / Keywords: access, analysis, books, conceptions, discourse, engagement, experiences, gender, girls, hermeneutics, literacy, literature, preadolescent, qualitative, readers, reading, selections, struggling
Teaching and Learning -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Curriculum and Instruction (ISC) thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: Reading is often considered a literacy practice at which girls excel and enjoy. However, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a substantial amount of girls do struggle with reading. Research indicates an association between reading engagement and reading achievement, yet a dissonance between what teachers and students consider to be 'engaging reads' exists. The purpose of this hermeneutical study was to better understand why girls identified as struggling readers selected particular books for personal use and their subsequent experiences with those books. A secondary purpose was to better understand their conceptions of reading as they interacted with their selected books. Over a period of eight months, seven culturally diverse girls in fourth and fifth grade borrowed books from a collection of more than 160 picture and chapter books they helped create. At the study's conclusion they selected up to 15 books to own. Primary data sources included open-ended interviews about their book selections and book experiences, initial and final semi-structured interviews, and spontaneous conversations about the books and the participants' book interactions. Additional data sources included the researcher's field notes and reflective journal. The data sources were analyzed using discourse analysis and thematic analysis. The participants typically selected books which, while not necessarily endorsed by schools or teachers, would help them and their relatives read successfully. Their book selections also indicated their desire for successful role models, to understand the mysteries of life and friendships, and to establish peer communities. Mass media had considerable influence upon the girls' book selections. Participants initially considered reading to be punitive and reductive in nature. As the study progressed, most of the participants' conceptions of books and reading broadened and were enriched. Books and reading often served as conduits for power, peer acceptance, cross-cultural understanding, familial bonds, and self-validation. However they also stimulated discomfort due to conflicting perspectives about books and reading. While the participants stated they would read their selected books, their behavior and subsequent interviews revealed that the social and economic capital of certain books within larger communities were sometimes more valuable than reading the written words.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Jennifer M Graff.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Fu, Danling.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021153:00001

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2 2007 Jennifer Michelle Graff


3 To The Girls Club


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I could not have com pleted this part of my lif e journey, filled with pit stops, side trips, exciting adventures, and extended stays, without the strength, l ove, and support of many people. I am extremely appreciative of my dissertation committee member s, Dr. Danling Fu, Dr. Dick Allington, Dr. Linda Lamme, and Dr. John Cech, who warmly accepted my idiosyncrasies and kindly helped me channel my passion for resear ch. Without their ment orship, I doubt I would have made it this far. The intellectual acuity and nurtu ring demeanor of my committee chair, Danling Fu, helped me improve my work and changed my approach to life. Dick Allington and his work with struggling readers was the catalyst for my pursuit of a doctorate. My research apprenticeship with him was invaluable and I still reel at the wealth of know ledge he not only possesses but willingly shares with others without hesitation. I am also thankful to have met and worked with Linda Lamme, with whom I share a passion for ch ildrens literature and commitment to social justice. Our personal chats and email exchange s about children, books, and the powerful effects of their interactions, were enriching and will always be remembered. John Cechs expertise in childrens culture was also helpful in multiple ways. I am grateful for their professional and personal insights and consistent encouragement. I thank my family who individually knew the be st ways to support me in this endeavor. Especially during the last phases of this journey, my mother welcomed late-night phone calls and requests to engage in semantic and conceptual wo rd play, and for that I extend special thanks to her. I am also indebted to my father whose t echnological expertise ofte n saved the lives of me and my dissertation, and whose quantitative approach to research helped improve my ability to effectively use different discourses. My brot her, sister, nieces, and nephew put life in perspective as it exists outs ide the realm of academia.


5 My extended family of colleagues and friends which includes Jennifer Sanders, Ivy Hsieh, Nancy Shelton, Kate Kiss, Yildiz Turgut, Courtney Zmach, and Lunetta Williams, helped me understand the power of collaboration and taught me that seeking help can be a sign of strength. I will never forget our la te-night theoretical discussions, commiserations, and wonderings about teaching, learning, and living. Thes e dynamic individuals were my lifelines in multiple ways. Because of them, I never felt alone during a quest many consider to be isolating. Of course this research would not have come to fruition without the economic support of my department, the School of Teaching and Learning (STL) in the College of Education, and the participation of seven dynamic girls. STLs fina ncial assistance enabled the girls to access and own a wide variety of books. Their generosity ex emplified their firm commitment to educating all children in a myriad of ways. The girls genero usly invited me into their lives and shared their opinions, wonderings, interests, an d life-altering events with me. They became my teachers. I hold the utmost respect and appreciation for them and thank them for their participation.


6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ........10 ABSTRACT...................................................................................................................................12 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................14 Problem...................................................................................................................................15 Purpose and Research Questions............................................................................................ 20 Significance................................................................................................................... .........21 Definition of Terms................................................................................................................22 2 LITERATURE REVIEW.......................................................................................................24 Engagement & Engaged Reading........................................................................................... 25 Taxonomy of Reading Motivation.................................................................................. 27 Antecedents to Motivation and Engagement................................................................... 28 Implicit models of reading....................................................................................... 29 Transactional theories of reading re sponse: Iser, Bakhtin, and Rosenblatt.............. 30 Culturally relevant literature.................................................................................... 32 Educational Impact of Engaged Reading........................................................................ 36 Students Views of Reading................................................................................................... 37 Reading Studies Focused on Students Per ceptions or Conceptions of Reading and Readers .........................................................................................................................37 Literacy Studies Involving Conceptions of Reading and Readers .................................. 41 Book Selection Studies...........................................................................................................43 Lineage and Foci of Book Selection Studies................................................................... 45 Participants of Book Selection Studies............................................................................ 46 Data Collection Methods in Book Selection Studies...................................................... 47 Book Selection Studies Identifying Ch ildrens Book Selection Rationales .................... 50 Considerations of B ook Selection Studies .............................................................................. 54 My Approach to Book Selection Studies................................................................................55 3 METHODOLOGY................................................................................................................. 57 Introduction................................................................................................................... ..........57 Epistemology and Theoretical Framework.............................................................................58 Selection and Description of Setting...................................................................................... 64 Selection of Participants...................................................................................................... ...69 Participant Overview....................................................................................................... 72 Biographical Sketches of the Girls..................................................................................73


7 Developing Rapport......................................................................................................... 79 The Study................................................................................................................................81 Data Collection.......................................................................................................................85 Data Sources...........................................................................................................................85 Qualitative Interviews..................................................................................................... 88 Interviewing children...............................................................................................88 Interview authenticity...............................................................................................90 Types of Interviews Conducted....................................................................................... 91 Initial and final semi-struc tured individual interviews ............................................91 Book selection open-ended individual interviews...................................................91 On-going, open-ended individual intervie ws and spontaneous conversations ........ 93 Conduits for the Interview Process..................................................................................94 Audio-based documentation.....................................................................................94 Artistic responses..................................................................................................... 95 Visual documentation...............................................................................................95 Girls Selected Alternatives.............................................................................................96 Researchers Documents................................................................................................. 97 Field notes................................................................................................................97 Reflective journal..................................................................................................... 98 Artifacts...........................................................................................................................99 Initial and final book selection lists .......................................................................... 99 Book logs..................................................................................................................99 Elementary Reading Attitude Survey (ERAS).........................................................99 Data Analysis..........................................................................................................................99 Rationale for Discourse Analysis.................................................................................. 100 Rationale for Thematic Analysis................................................................................... 103 Data Analysis Procedures.....................................................................................................104 Discourse Analysis Process...........................................................................................104 Thematic Analysis Process............................................................................................ 105 Trustworthiness of the Study................................................................................................106 Subjectivity (Prejudices)............................................................................................... 108 Childhood reading experiences..............................................................................108 Public teaching experiences................................................................................... 109 Reading research experiences................................................................................ 112 Limitations.................................................................................................................... ........113 4 BOOK CHOICES, FAIRS, AND EXCHANGES................................................................ 114 Selecting the Books for the Study........................................................................................ 115 Students Verbal Input................................................................................................... 115 Book Fliers and Catalogues........................................................................................... 117 Researchers Influence..................................................................................................118 Making the Final Cut..................................................................................................... 119 Availability of Selected Books in School...................................................................... 123 Book Fairs in Action.............................................................................................................124 Setting Up the Book Fairs............................................................................................. 125 Assessing Book Selection Strategies............................................................................. 126


8 Selecting and Talking about the Books.........................................................................126 Bootleggin Books............................................................................................................129 5 THE GIRLS BOOK SELECTION RATIONALES........................................................... 131 Framing the Girls Rationales............................................................................................... 132 Core Book Selection Themes...............................................................................................134 Book Access..................................................................................................................134 Accessibility and novelty.......................................................................................135 School-based familiarity........................................................................................ 138 Media-based familiarity......................................................................................... 141 Considerations of accessibili ty, novelty, and fa miliarity.......................................146 Connectivity to Personal and Social Lives.................................................................... 148 Literary life-worlds................................................................................................ 149 Establishing familial and peer relationships...........................................................154 Considerations of literary life-worlds and fa milial and peer relationships............ 160 Learning about the world.......................................................................................160 Empowerment................................................................................................................ 163 Successful reading..................................................................................................163 Implications of successful reading.........................................................................171 Models of success...................................................................................................171 Frontin books........................................................................................................174 Significance of the Girls Stated Rationales......................................................................... 176 6 THE GIRLS READING CONCEPTI ONS AND BOOK INTERACTIONS .....................180 Reading as a Punitive and Routinized School-Based Practice.............................................181 Reading Defined?.......................................................................................................... 181 Reading as a Punitive Endeavor....................................................................................186 Subverting the Locus of Power through Book Access..................................................191 Considerations of Book Acce ss as an Agent of Change............................................... 195 The Reductive Nature of Reading...................................................................................... 196 Reading is Fluency..................................................................................................... 196 Modes of Questioning...................................................................................................202 Books as Conduits for Personal Relationships.....................................................................206 Establishing Power and Solidarity: A lices Book and Reading Experiences ............... 207 Obtaining Social Worth: Chris Book and Reading Experiences................................. 213 Extending the Self: Jaimes Book and Reading Experiences........................................ 216 Crossing Borders: Candys Book and Reading Experiences........................................ 218 Desiring Cross-Cultural Understanding: Jackies Book and Reading Experiences ...... 224 Uniting the Self with the Natural World: Alondras Book and Reading Experiences .. 229 Instances of Perplexity: Morgan s B ook and Reading Experiences............................. 232 Reading Conceptions Synthesized: The Girls Entrances and Exits.................................... 238 7 PERMUTATIONS OF BOOKS AND READING.............................................................. 245 Book Selections: Reflections of Competency...................................................................... 246


9 Book Selections: Limited Sources of Familiarity................................................................. 247 The Value of Books..............................................................................................................250 Books as Exports........................................................................................................ 251 Books as Social Intermediaries..................................................................................... 252 Reconsiderations of Worthy Books ........................................................................... 254 Mandated Reading Programs Influence upon Reading Conceptions.................................. 255 The Power of Book Access...................................................................................................258 The Emancipatory Nature of Book Access................................................................... 258 Increased Reader Engagement through Personal Responsibility, Autonomy, and Choice ........................................................................................................................259 Abated Enthusiasm about the Girl s Engagem ent with Reading.................................. 262 Classroom Implications........................................................................................................ 263 Opportunities for Further Inquiries.......................................................................................265 Concluding Thoughts............................................................................................................ 268 APPENDIX A INFORMED CONSENT AND ASSENT FORMS.............................................................. 269 Parent Informed Consent Letter and Permission Form........................................................ 269 Child Assent Form................................................................................................................272 B EXTENDED DAY ENRICHMENT PR OGRAM (EDEP) SAMPLE AGENDA ............... 273 C INTERVIEW PROTOCOLS................................................................................................ 274 Initial Semi-Structured Interview Protocol at EDEP............................................................ 274 On-going Open-Ended Interview Protocol...........................................................................276 Final Semi-Structured Interview Protocol at EDEP............................................................. 277 Initial and Final Book Selection Open-Ended Interview Protocol....................................... 278 Summer Semi-Structure d Interview Protocol ....................................................................... 279 D TRANSCRIPTION CONVENTIONS................................................................................. 280 E BOOK ORDER FORM........................................................................................................ 281 F BOOK LOG..........................................................................................................................282 G LIST OF BOOKS OFFERED.............................................................................................. 283 H GIRLS BOOK SELECTIONS............................................................................................ 302 LIST OF REFERENCES.............................................................................................................314 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................343


10 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2-1 A synopsis of Wigfield and Guthries (1997) taxonom y of reading motivation............... 27 3-1 Meadowlawn Elementary School statistics....................................................................... 66 3-2 Demographic composite of the seven girls........................................................................ 73 3-3 Study timeline............................................................................................................. .......81 3-4 Overview of weekly Extended Day Enrich m ent Program (EDEP) visitation schedule and activities with girls...................................................................................................... 83 3-5 Data sources used...............................................................................................................86 3-6 Frequency of on-going interviews per girl.........................................................................93 3-7 Data analyses applied to particular data sources.............................................................. 100 4-1 Book offerings by genre...................................................................................................121 4.2 Book offerings by series and type of book......................................................................121 4.3 Cultural relevance of book offerings...............................................................................121 5-1 Girls book rationales by theme........................................................................................ 179 6-1 Frequency of modal verbs of necessity for each girl....................................................... 191 6-2 Girls self-evaluations of their reading capabilities ......................................................... 197 6-3. Girls initial and final concep tions of them selves as readers............................................... 242 7-1 Comparison between the girls talk and teachers talk abou t reading instruction........... 257 7-2 Comparison of the girls initial and final Elem entary Reading Attitude Survey (ERAS) percentiles.......................................................................................................... 261 B-1 Extended day enrichment program (EDEP) sample agenda............................................ 273 G-1 List of books offered........................................................................................................283 H-1 Alices book selections.................................................................................................... 302 H-2 Alondras book selections................................................................................................304 H-3 Candys book selections.................................................................................................. 306


11 H-4 Chris book selections..................................................................................................... .307 H-5 Jackies book selections...................................................................................................309 H-6 Jaimes book selections.................................................................................................... 311 H-7 Morgans book selections................................................................................................312


12 Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy THE LITERARY LIVES OF MARGINALIZED READERS: PREADO LESCENT GIRLS RATIONALES FOR BOOK CHOICE AND EXPERIENCES WITH SELF-SELECTED BOOKS By Jennifer Michelle Graff August 2007 Chair: Danling Fu Major: Curriculum and Instruction Reading is often considered a literacy pract ice at which girls excel and enjoy. However, according to the National Assessment of Educati onal Progress (NAEP), a substantial amount of girls do struggle with reading. Re search indicates an associati on between reading engagement and reading achievement, yet a di ssonance between what teachers and students consider to be engaging reads exists. The pur pose of this hermeneutical study was to better understand why girls identified as struggling readers selected particular books for personal use and their subsequent experiences with those books. A s econdary purpose was to better understand their conceptions of reading as they inte racted with thei r selected books. Over a period of eight months, seven culturally diverse girls in fourth and fifth grade borrowed books from a collection of more than 1 60 picture and chapter books they helped create. At the studys conclusion they selected up to 15 books to own. Primary data sources included open-ended interviews about thei r book selections and book experi ences, initial and final semistructured interviews, and spont aneous conversations about th e books and the participants book interactions. Additional data sour ces included the researchers fiel d notes and reflective journal. The data sources were analyzed using discourse analysis and thematic analysis.


13 The participants typically selected b ooks which, while not necessarily endorsed by schools or teachers, would help them and their relatives read successfully. Their book selections also indicated their desire for successful role models, to understand the mysteries of life and friendships, and to establish peer communities. Mass media had considerable influence upon the girls book selections. Participants initially considered reading to be punitive and reductive in nature. As the study progressed, most of the part icipants conceptions of books a nd reading broadened and were enriched. Books and reading often served as cond uits for power, peer acceptance, cross-cultural understanding, familial bonds, and se lf-validation. However they al so stimulated discomfort due to conflicting perspectiv es about books and reading. While th e participants stated they would read their selected books, their behavior and subsequent inte rviews revealed that the social and economic capital of certain books within larger co mmunities were sometimes more valuable than reading the written words.


14 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION If you drop gold and books, pick up the books first, then the gold. --Anonym ous Books are considered one of lifes treas ures by many people, especially literacy educators. Books can transform people and help people imagine beyond themselves. They become journeys that people take in order to leave home, and thus find home (Rochman, 1997, p.vii). Yet not everyones literary journeys are f illed with pleasurable adventures, imaginative vacations, or philosophical transformations. In stead, the journeys become arduous and painful depending on access, genres, and reading competen cies. A good friend once said that sometimes reading for her is akin to accidentally pouring sa lt instead of sugar onto her cereal. She wants to indulge in something sweet and fulfillinga g ood readbut inadvertently picks something that makes her choke on its bitterness. A book too difficult or uninspi ring can indeed be disengaging. Unfortunately student s labeled as struggling reader s often experience bitterness when they desire something savory. As literacy educators we actively search for avenues that will help struggling readers gain access to the transformative worlds offered by printed words or traditional forms of text. Yet sometimes we inadvertently steer them down paths that are disconnected from their worlds. Technology is rapidly changing our definitions of text, reading, and reading instruction. New literacies which are multimodal and encomp ass technologically-oriented devices such as digital cameras and computers, and Internet-bas ed mediums such as pod casts, are altering how we perceive and use language as well as how we define literac y. Yet with these technological advances, a book, in its traditional format, remains re solute at the top of th e literary hierarchy. It continues to be the prime indicator of ones l iterary, and at times, social worth (Booth, 2006). Given this predilection for a book, our connectio n to lives between and beyond lines of written


15 words, it seems pivotal to understand what books engage children. This way we can help nurture an appreciation and desire for the written word and help ensure children are members of some type of literacy club (Smith, 1997). While the relationships between t echnology and reading or other literacy practices have captured the atte ntion of many literacy researchers, it seems educationally counterproductive to disregard or forget the consiste nt power and presence of the written word in book format, especially in elem entary schools. Books, at present, remain the preferred mode of reading for elementa ry-aged children and their teachers. Problem Reading has often been considered an ac tivity at which girls excel (Sim pson, 1996; Sullivan, 2003). Gender achievement comparisons on national and international reading assessments indicate that a larg e percentage of girls continually surpass boys in reading (Elley, 1992; Mullis, Martin, Gonzalez, & Kennedy, 2003; National Center for Educational Statistics, 2005). However, those comparisons typically involve students w ho scored above the Basic or Average level of reading competencies, thereb y indicating reading proficiency. The scenario looks less promising when revi ewing the result s of individuals who scored below Basic or Average, levels which indica te the individuals ca nnot understand what they read (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2006). Beginning in 1992, at least one third of U.S. fourth-grade girls have scored below the Basic Comprehension level on the National Asse ssment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for reading. Similarly, the average score for f ourth-grade U.S. children who are of low socioeconomic status (SES) has remained belo w NAEPs Basic Comprehens ion level for reading from the onset. Since 1998, Florida has mirrored these statistics for both demographics, with over 33% of fourth-grade females and 38% of low SES students scoring below the Basic level (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2005) It seems evident that there are a substantial


16 number of girls and low SES yout h in general who do not demonstr ate reading competency. This counters the popular assumption that girls are always the more lit erate of the sexes (Booth, 2006; Brozo, 2002; Cherland, 1994; Radway, 1984; Simp son, 1996; Smith & Wilhelm, 2002). Girls who do struggle with reading are poten tially overlooked due to their adherence to socially-gendered scripts of being a good girl or good fema le student (Kos, 1993). Their socially acceptable behavior overshadows their reading difficulties. Consistent data indicating the disproportional amount of boys in remedial reading classes and their underperformance on standardized reading assessments when compared to girls (Brozo, 2002) convinces educators to shift their focus to boys and perhaps lose sight of the girls who also str uggle with reading. An investigation of girls book rationales and e xperiences could provide a more comprehensive understanding of the conceptions of books and reading of girls who might potentially slip through the cracks. It would also generate a dditional understanding abou t the ways in which girls engage and disengage with books and reading. On a broader scale, there has been a consistent decline of adult literary readership in the U.S. for over 20 years (National Endowment fo r the Arts, 2004). Add itionally, the amount of children who experience difficulty reading or wh o express apathy towards reading is increasing (Cramer & Castle, 1994; Gersten, 1996; Ver hoeven & Snow, 2001). Contemporary education researchers are investigating read ing and literacy from multi-moda l perspectives in the hope of better informing educators about the multiple ways in which children potentially engage in reading practices. Such research is also broade ning educators conceptualizations of reading material to include childrens popular culture items such as comics, graphic novels, Pokmon trading cards, video game user guides, etc. (Alvermann & Xu, 2003; Cook, 2005; Dyson, 1993,


17 2003a, 2003b; Hilton, 1996; Marsh & Millard, 2000). However, at present, books remain the primary reading material in classrooms. Literacy educators want their students to cheris h books and strive to ensure they consider the act of reading a worthwhile and engaging endeavor. They want to help prevent their students from becoming reading orphans, or indi viduals who loath or ar e cautious to approach printed text (Booth, 2006). Yet educ ators are faced with many obstacles in their pursuit of these goals. Access lies at the core of these obstacles, with multiple variables restricting economically disadvantaged or struggling readers physical and instructional access to a wide variety of reading materials. For children who reside in economically di sadvantaged communities, accessing reading material outside of their schools can become probl ematic. Within the boundaries of SES, great disparities exist between what is available with in high and low SES communities. More affluent communities have access to a wider variety a nd larger amount of reading material when compared to less affluent communities (Allington, Guice, Baker, Michaelson, & Li, 1995; Neuman & Celano, 2001; Smith, Constantino, & Kr ashen, 1997). Further, for children residing in low SES communities, public institutions, such as libraries or schools, serve as the primary, if not sole, resource for a variety of reading materials (Fleener, Morrison, Linek, & Rasinski, 1997; Krashen, 2004; Lamme, 1976; Mell on, 1990; Pucci, 1994). It is ther efore imperative that schools house and make readily available a variety of reading materials that would suit a diverse population of children who have difficulty accessing texts beyond their classroom walls. Schools do make conscientious efforts to prov ide ample reading materials in both their libraries and classrooms. However, individual co nceptions of reading and books influence these well-intentioned efforts. Educat ors and students often differ on what is considered as an


18 engaging read. The Inte rnational Reading Asso ciations (IRA) annual Teachers Choices and Childrens Choices book lists, Brooks, Waterman, and Allingtons (2003) national survey of teachers and their students regard ing the preferred series books for children, and Mundes (1997) conclusions that adults and children embrace contrasting definitions of a humorous book, reveal those consistent differences. In all afor ementioned instances, what adults perceived to be enjoyable or humorous books for children contrast ed what children indica ted were enjoyable and humorous. Such dissonance has negative implicat ions on the recreationa l reading selections found in both school and classroom libraries. Further illustrating th e potential disconnect between children, books, and reading are studies wh ich reveal that the school environment, inclusive of both classroom and school libraries, does not necessarily house books that children state they want to read (Ivey & Broa ddus, 2001; Krashen, 2004; Worthy, 1996; Worthy, Moorman, & Turner, 1999). While there may ind eed be a plethora of reading material for students, such material is not necessarily desire d or enjoyed by those required to read them. From a sociocultural perspective, many child ren also have difficulty finding literature that reflects their cultural communities. Culturally relevant literature includes books that reflect the racial, ethnic, and social diversity that is ch aracteristic of our pluralistic society and of the world (Sims Bishop, 1997, p.3). Looking at culturally relevant literature fr om the perspective of race, approximately 18% of the books published between 2002 and 2006 were written by and/or about individuals from marginalized groups (e. g. African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans) in the U.S. (Coopera tive Childrens Book Center, 2007). As of 2000, which is when the last U.S. census was conducted, these marginalized groups constituted approximately 30% of the U.S population (Griec o & Cassidy, 2001). Based on these statistics, current literature availabl e to children does not appear to reflect the cultural dive rsity of not only


19 the reader but also the larger U. S. society. This is highly proble matic since children desire books whose characters mirror themselves (Rudman, 19 84) and interracial children have experienced difficulty finding role models in literature (W ardle, 1993). Furthermore, culturally relevant literature helps individuals naviga te varying perspectives about their own cultures and roles in society, while providing opportunities for unders tanding of others cu ltural surroundings, insights, traditions, and belie fs (Cai, 1998; Harris, 1997; Hefflin & Barksdale-Ladd, 2001; Yokota, 1993). Thus, not only do children need a ccess to a variety of reading material, they need access to reading material that reflects their own and others cultural communities. Disparities in accessible reads are furt her exacerbated by the Matthew Effects (Stanovich, 2000). Within school environments, more proficient readers are allotted more opportunities to read and less pr oficient readers are provided fewer opportunities to read, a phenomenon corroborated by Duke (2000) and McGill-Franzen and Allington (1993). Therefore, the analogy of schools as faucets for economically disadvantaged children who may or may not struggle with reading (Entwistle Alexander, & Olson, 1997) may be somewhat inaccurate. When economically disadvantaged children are in schoo l, educational resources are supposed to be turned on, providing them with access to books, libraries, and teachers. When school is not in session, these resources are cut off. In the case of struggling or marginalized readers, such resources may be turned on in school but are held just out of reach. Or the resources are so decontextualized that they lose their literary sustenance. Politics also influence students access to physical and instructional resources. Because books and reading are considered so influential in the evolution of self and society in the U.S., they continue to be the loci of political, so cial, and educational atte ntion. Recent reading initiatives such as Reading First, under No Ch ild Left Behind (NCLB) (U.S. Department of


20 Education, 2002), have begun to alter conceptions of what constitutes reading and quality texts without necessarily including the input of the child reader. Th ese mandates limit the scope of literary resources allowed for purchase with fede ral funds and prefaces adults determination of what constitutes a good text for children. The vo ices of the very individuals impacted by such policy, struggling readers, are muted. They are co mpelled to read materials from commercial reading programs and basal textbooks which often fail to accurately represent the wealth of diverse heritages and experiences of stude nts (McDermott, Rothenberg, & Gormley, 1997; Smith, Phillips, Leithead, & Rawdah, 2004). Knowing that successful readers read more (Anderson, Wilson, & Fielding, 1988; Donahue, Finnegan, Lutkus, Allen, & Campbell, 2001), that over time elementary school students who did not engage in recreational re ading lost substantial academic ground (Anderson, Wilson, & Fielding, 1988), and that students prefer books they se lect themselves (Gambrell, Codling, & Palmer, 1996), it seems pivotal to co nduct book selection studies with individuals who are identified as struggling or marginaliz ed readers and have limited access to reading material outside of school. These studies will better enable teacher s and librarians to provide all children with a repertoire of read ing material they wish to read or engage with as they develop their literacy competencies. They will also illuminate readers conceptions of reading and books that help formulate their reasons for selecting particular books. Purpose and Research Questions The purpose of this study is to better understand the book selection rationales and experiences of preadoles cent girls who are consider ed marginalized readers. This understanding will help determine if childrens book selec tion rationales and experiences extend beyond reading the books. Do children select books purely for the sake of readin g or are there other reasons for these selections that do not neces sarily involve reading the words on a page?


21 Through this study I also provide a more detailed co mposite of the girls conceptions of reading. Therefore, the two questions which guide my i nvestigation are 1) What rationales undergird preadolescent girls self-selections of books for personal use and 2) How does access to culturally relevant literature reflect and reshape their co nceptions of reading and books? Significance Research involving struggling or m arginalized readers opinions about reading and desirable texts will hopefully help increase the presence and availability of engaging texts in school communities. Book selection or preference studies are optimal avenues to determine not only what are considered engaging reads but also the foundations of those considerations. Researchers have conducted book selection studi es for many decades; however, only a handful have included interviews with students about their own book selections (Ivey & Broaddus; Mohr, 2003; Williams, 2005), have actively involved the students when creating a collection of books for selection purposes (Williams, 2005), or have indicated a focus on economically disadvantaged students or str uggling readers (Martinez, Roser, Worthy, Strecker, & Gough, 1997; Williams, 2005; Zimet & Camp, 1974). Additionally, none of the book selection studies have formally extended beyond students stated rationales and included wh at happened after the students obtained the books. Thus, there appears to be assumptions on the pa rt of researchers and educators that children select books for the primar y purpose of reading and that they, in fact, read the books. These assumptions, while well-grounded in experience, potent ially neglect the sociocultural and sociopolitical influences upon childrens conceptions of reading and their book selections. Like reading, the re asons why we select books are va ried, complex, and influenced by personal experience and societal expectations. By taking rationales at face value, we potentially overlook important information regarding how a nd why children respond to books and reading in


22 particular ways and the social and educationa l implications of those responses. Through this study I wish to provide needed insight into how re ading is currently concep tualized and into the roles books play in the students lives within and beyond the written word and outside the parameters of formal school. E ducators will hopefully use this information to increase their students access to and engage ment with books and reading. Definition of Terms To ensure understanding, the follow ing terms used throughout the study are defined below. Marginalized Readers/Struggling Readers : These terms are used in terchangeably and indicate individuals who are disconnected from school-based literacy practi ces, have language or cultural practices different from those valued in school, or reside outside of th e mainstream community due to their ethnicity, socioeconomic class, gender, etc. (Moje, Young, Readence, & Moore, 2000). In this study marginalized or struggling re aders were determined by the following criteria: (a) Are eligible for free/reduced meals in schools and have limited access to reading materials outside of school (b) Professed extreme dislike or apathy towards reading in a preliminary interview and scored lower than the 50th percentile on a validated Elementary Reading Att itude Survey (ERAS) (McKenna & Kear, 1990) And/Or (c) Scored below the minimum standard (<3 on a scale of 1-5) for the reading portion of the latest statewide standardized reading portion of the Florida Comprehens ive Achievement Test (FCAT) Preadolescents: Children who are between the ages of 9 and 12. They are also commonly known as tweens because they are situated in-between childhood a nd adolescence. Economically Disadvantaged/Low SES: These two terms are used interchangeably and indicate students who have qualif ied for free or reduced meals in public schools, as indicated on student records.


23 Girls Club: The name created by the seven girls who participated in this study. This moniker was used only in the girls conversations with individuals outside of the study or when the girls wanted to make a distinction between th em and others not involved in the study. Book Selections: Books that were ultimately chosen by individuals from a selection of books made available to them (Spangler, 1983; Summers & Lukasevich, 1983). In this study, this term may be used interchangeably with book preference s because the individuals selected certain texts over other texts, indicating a specific pr eference based on actual selection. Black and White: Identifications of race used by the par ticipants in the study. Black specifically refers to African-Americans and White refers to European-Americans. I only use the terms African-Americans or European-Americans when citing other researchers work which included those terms. Culturally relevant Literature: Books that represent multiple ethnic cultures as well as other cultural communities defined by religious, sexua l orientation, and physical characteristics (Lynch-Brown & Tomlinson, 2005). Mass Media Books: Books about popular culture celebrities, such as mu sicians and athletes and books that represent popular TV shows (TV tie-ins), or books which have been cinematically transformed. This genre of books can also be used interchangeably with culturally relevant literature on occasion, as it represents the peer culture of the girls that is not necessarily endorsed by mainstream society.


24 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW A quest for improved understanding of the book selection rationales and experiences of preadolescent girls considered to be m arginalized readers necessitates an entrance into the world of reader engagement as it relates to books and children. Identification an d contemplation of the interplay between readers and text s serves as the entrance. Cent ral contributors to childrens book selections and subsequent interactions ar e individuals perceptions and conceptions of reading and themselves as readers, the types of books accessible, and the ways in which they are motivated to engage w ith books and reading. In the first section of this ch apter I define and discuss engagement, especially in regard to engaged reading. This delineation involves a discussion about the encompassing nature of engagement and taxonomy of motivation articula ted by Wigfield and Guthrie (1997). I continue with an overview of transactional theories of reading, as proposed by Iser (1978), Bakhtin (1981), and Rosenblatt (1938/1995), and I discuss the influence of cu lturally relevant literature upon childrens reading conceptions and engagement with books, bot h of which are considered influential factors in reading engagement. Culturally relevant literature in particular deepens the discussion of what books children articulate as engaging reads. I then discuss how reader engagement affects academic achievement. The second section of this chap ter begins with reviews of studies focusing on childrens perceptions and conceptions of r eading and their self-concepts as readers. How children envision the act of reading and themselves as readers in fluences their type and level of motivation and engagement. It also influences what books they select. I then se gue into childrens book selection studies, which focus on childrens re ading preferences, interests, and ultimate selections. Within that review I enumerate various rationales, focal participants and methods of determining


25 childrens book selections. I include the typical composite of partic ipants in these studies based on SES, gender and age, and disaggregate studies based on primary data collection methods of artifacts or interviews. I then share examples of studies that involved similar data collection methods to mine and inspired this particular study. By outlining the interrelatedness of reader engagement, childrens considerations of reading and themselves as readers, and book c hoices, I demonstrate the importance of building and expanding upon current conceptions of book selec tion studies. I also explain how this study not only contributes to the grow ing body of research regardin g childrens book selections but will also enable further consideration of how both articulated rationales and behaviors indicate what literature and readi ng literature means to child ren in their own lives. Engagement & Engaged Reading Notions of engagem ent underlie any study involving children and books. Educators actively seek a myriad of ways in which childr en can engage in learning since engagement inspires people to amplify thei r attention, critical thi nking skills, and planning towards what they are doing. This is especially true while reading. Yet what do we mean when we use the term engagement and what does it involve? According to the Oxford American Dictionary (1986), the definition of engage includes to bring attention to, to occ upy oneself and to interlock so that it transmits power. Considering these perspectives, one could cons ider an engaging book as a book that envelops the reader and stimulates imagination and cr itical thought. Similarly, engagement can be regarded as a personal state of authentic involvement, contribu tion, and ownership. According to Guthrie and Anderson (1999), engagement in readi ng is a motivated mental activity with vital consequences for world knowledge and social participation (p.18). Thus reading can be considered a persons engagement in a conceptual and social world.


26 Researchers offer different components integr al to engaged reading. Ownership, or the command and self-efficacy of literacy practices (Au, 1997), intrinsic motivation (Oldfather & Dahl, 1994; Turner, 1995), and incidences of obe dience or on-task beha viors (Tobin, 1994) are just a few indicators of engaged readership. Other researchers such as Cambourne (1995) and Guthrie, McGough, Bennett, and Rice (1996) con ceptualize engaged reader s as individuals who are motivated by personal goals, use multiple approaches to texts, are cognizant of developing new understandings, are responsible, a nd are social participants in reading or other literacy acts. Regardless of ones stance, motivation appear s fundamental to the idea of engagement. Motivation, as something which compels people to act (Eccles, Wigfield, & Schiefele, 1998), often involves setting and achieving goals (Urdan & Maehr, 1995) or identifying and solving problemsthings that prevent goal attainment (Prawat, 1993). Motivation is inclusive of beliefs and goals which guide peoples actions. W ithin the dynamics of reading, researchers have either looked at specific asp ects of motivation or general approaches to motivation. Some researchers study reading motivation within the c ontext of reading attitude s or reading interests (Mathewson, 1994; McKenna, Kear, & Ellsworth, 1995; Schiefele, 1996) while others ground their research in an engagement perspective. This perspective merges cognitive, motivational, and social aspects of reading (Baker & Wi gfield, 1999, p.452). Adherents to an engagement perspective describe readers motivations as multidimensional and relevant to many different purposes. They also separate reading interest from motivation because interest typically accompanies a specific topic while motivation encompasses more general attributes. An interested reader probably looks at one particular text at any gi ven time, while a motivated reader could have many interests (G uthrie & Wigfield, 2000).


27 Taxonomy of Reading Motivation Because ones self-con cept, psychological locu s of motivation (intrinsic or extrinsic), situated location, and reason for achieving are all pivotal when deci ding what, how long, and what degree of involvement to invest in an activity, Wigfield and Guthrie (1997) created a theoretical taxonomy of reading motivation. This taxonomy, based on a consensus of reading motivation theory research (Bak er & Wigfield, 1999), consists of three categories: competence and efficacy beliefs, intrinsic purposes, and extr insic purposes. Table 2-1 provides an overview of this taxonomy. Table 2-1. A synopsis of Wigfield and Guthries (1997) taxonomy of reading motivation Competence and efficacy beliefs Intrinsic purposes Extrinsic purposes Self-Efficacy: Belief in ability to succeed at reading. Challenge: Willingness and desire to try difficult reading material. Work Avoidance: Desire to avoid reading. Intrinsic: Interested in or curious about reading for reading's sake. Learning Goal Orientation: Desire to improve or master something Curiosity: Desire to read about something of interest Involvement: Enjoyment experienced from reading. Some liken this to "getting lost" in a book. Nell (1994) refers to this as absorption or trance. Importance: Perceived value of reading. Performance Goal Orientation: Acting to gain social acceptance (e.g. praise, grades, rewards, competition, etc.) Social Reasons: Sharing thoughts and meanings with loved ones. Compliance: Reading to meet others' expectations. Contributing to this taxonomy is Nells (1988 ) determination that having the ability to read, possessing positive expectations of reading, and having a variety of books to choose from that are of specific interest to individuals, will foster a love of reading. In addition, physiological and cognitive changes occur when one engages in ludic reading, or pleasurable reading. According to Nell, ludic reading typically occurs if all three aforementioned antecedents exist


28 and individuals read at least one book every week. While Nells study focused solely on motivated and competent readers, his conclusions could have implications for studies involving struggling or apathetic readers. Like Nell, Csikszenmihalyi (1990) focuses on intrinsic motivation, as actualized through the concept of flow or the blend of the cogni tive (consciousness) and physical (action). When we are engaged in flow while reading, we become part of the text; we are an integrated entity enveloped in concentration. The recollection of flow experiences constitutes an element of intrinsic motivation and reinforces reader engage ment. Schools, with ru les and regulations and an emphasis on competition and evaluation, tend to mitigate the opportunities for children to experience reading flows, esp ecially those who feel self-consciousness about their reading capabilities. Antecedents to Motivation and Engagement Individuals interactions w ith texts may prove critical to reading m otivation and ultimately reader engagement. Implicit models of reading, transactional theories of reading, and the variety of accessible childrens literature are all precursors to motivation and reader engagement. Schraw and Brunings (1999) implicit models of reading refer to individuals beliefs about their roles as r eaders. Iser (1978), Bakhtin (1 981), and Rosenblatts (1938/1995) transactional approaches to reading offer the possibilities of individua ls reading to develop personal meanings and social relationships, whic h could increase their motivation to read and subsequent engagement with reading. Another pr ecursor for reader engagement is the type of literature available. Children who are typically marginalized within mainstream culture appear engaged in literature which reflects their thoughts and life experiences.


29 Implicit models of reading Influenced by Louise Rosenblatts (1938/1995) theory of reading response, Schraw and Bruning (1999) have distinguished three different m odels that aff ect individuals motivations to read: the transmission, translati on, and transaction models. They believe that every individual brings at least one of these models to the act of reading and each model indicates the type and degree of interaction with texts. The transmission model, akin to the litera ry theory of New Criticism, prefaces the complete passivity of the reader. The text, as sole authority, offers meaning to the reader rather than the reader generating meaning from or with the text. The reader is completely beholden to the text or the individual who can correctly in terpret the text. According to Schraw and Bruning (1999), this model represents minimal satisfaction with and motivation for pleasure reading. Within a translation model of readi ng, which Schraw and Bruni ng consider to be an appendage of the transmission model, both the te xt and the reader have independent meanings but readers must accurately translate th e written text based on their own cultural understanding. In this instance, r eading becomes more internalized as readers inte rpret the texts based on their own world knowledge; yet the interpre tations must also be representative of the authors intentions. While somewhat different, bo th transmission and tran slation reading models necessitate minimal input from the reader. Contrastingly, the transaction model encourages readers personal and active construction of meaning when encountering texts. Reading is no longer simply a me ans of communication; it has a broader purpose and multiple functions. Readers interpret texts differently depending on personal, social, and situ ational constructs. A personal relati onship can develop between readers and texts. They are partners with the author and text and hold an equal amount of literary clout. This active orientation resides in the persona l and generates more motivation to read.


30 Schraw and Bruning (1999) conducted a study to determine whether or not individuals brought only one model to the act of reading and the implications of those models on comprehension. Their findings included evidence that adults bring both models to each reading act and emphasize one more than the other at various times. They also found that readers embodying the transactional model of beliefs tend to comprehend more and think more critically than those adhering to a transmi ssion model. The transaction m odel enables readers to engage in deeper, more constructive reading (p.295), wh ich they consider to be evidence of highly engaged reading. Transactional theories of reading response: Iser, Bakhtin, and Rosenblatt Reading, as a generative act, re quires a negotiation between re ader and text. Meaning is subjec tive due to the individuality of the reader and her socio-historical heritage. Early transactional theories focus on the aesthetic pr ocess, also known as literary reading (Straw, 1990). Iser (1978), known for his phenomenological approach to reading, emphasizes how and under what conditions meanings occur when read ers and texts meet. As readers travel through texts, they might experience wandering viewpoi nts when their views or conceptions alter based on the texts content. These viewpoints, based on what readers are seeking, speak to multiple interpretations of texts. From Isers point of view, the dialectical nature of text and r eader accentuates the readers creativity. It is the readers experience which determines the real meaning of the text. Meaning occurs when the reader fills in concep tual gaps and determines what has not been said in the text through what is said in the text. The te xt and reader dialogue with one another. According to Suleiman and Crosman (1 980), the reader is not a historically situated individual within this fluidity between reve lation and concealment (Iser, 1978). Rather, the readers psychological mindset is tr ans-historical; the creative experi ence is similar regardless of


31 the individual. Reading a text is like looking at the evening star s. The stars exist; however, the lines which connect them vary (Iser, 1978). Whil e Isers theory does indicate a transaction between reader and text, it appears to preface the text slightly more than the reader. Theories of reading often in clude theories of language and representation which are conjoined by theories of interpretation (Davidson, 1993). Theories of language focus on the nature of language and thought and notions of the individual and colle ctive. Theories of representation emphasize text characteristics or f eatures while theories of interpretation offer how one creates meaning with texts. All three elements, language, representation, and interpretation, are essential to a theory of reading (Bakhtin, 1981). Bakhtin emphasizes how theories of reading ne ed to be grounded in the view of language as socio-historical, dynamic, and dialogic. The text, framed through socio-historical forms of language, offers a heteroglossia of past and pres ent voices. Likewise, th e individual as a unique being influences and is influenced by the soci ety in which s/he resides. Therefore, meaning created by the interaction of text and reader and reified through langua ge is individual and collective, personal and social. The individual reader is em bedded within a community of readers. Further, language, and hence interpretation, are temporal ly, geographically, and socially situated. The situated context of meaning involves both the past a nd present. Like Iser, Bakhtin stresses the importance of the reader; however, he favors the text as an artistic representation of language and society. The importance and presence of the reader in tensifies in Louise Rosenblatts (1938/1995) theory of reader response. Similar to Ba khtin, Rosenblatt (1978) believes knowing or understanding requires a tr ansactional or dynamic relationship between author and text, subject and object. However, unlike Bakhtin, this relations hip is highly individualistic. Each reader is


32 unique and brings to the transa ction their own et hnic, social, and ps ychological history (Rosenblatt, 1938/1995, p. xix). A text is merely inkblots on paper until the reader transforms the inkblots into meaningful symbols (p.24) throug h an interactive and introspective process. Central to Rosenblatts reading tenets are tw o distinct stances em bodied during and after reading. These stances, aesthetic and efferent, operate on a continuum of possibilities. The purpose of reading heavily influences which stance the reader occupies. For Rosenblatt, aesthetic reading involves what the reader experiences, th inks, and feels during reading and is imperative for pleasurable reading. Efferent reading empha sizes learning over experiencing. When reading efferently, the reader focuses on what new information is learned from reading and what information was acquired after reading. While very distinct, these two stances fall on a continuum where readers mix the stances depe nding on purpose, consciousness, environment, and mode of reading. Iser, Bakhtin, and Rosenblatts views of r eading emphasize the dialectical relationship between readers and texts and how such a rela tionship invites aesthetic reading. Aesthetic reading, in turn, contributes to in trinsic motivation for reading, whic h then leads to greater reader engagement. When readers become authentically involved, contribute to the creation of meaning, and own the experience, they are more likely to continue reading and immersing themselves in conceptual and social worlds. Culturally relevant literature The availability of authentic culturally releva nt literature, as literature that accurately represents the racial, ethnic, and social diversity of our world, s eems integral to experiencing an aesthetic or pleasurable read. When one reads stories that are familiar in circumstance and characterization, one feels connected; one become s absorbed (Nell, 1988). These connections and experiences ostensibly increase reader mo tivation and perhaps reader engagement. Books


33 have the power to promote favorable attitudes and foster positive behaviors within and among readers (Sims, 1983). Therefore, a discussion about motivation and engagement would be incomplete without the inclusion of authentic culturally relevant lite rature and childrens responses to such literature. Since Nancy Larrick (1965) identified the paucity of available culturally relevant literature through her review of 5,000 childrens books, researchers ha ve explored the influences of culturally relevant literature on childrens attitudes and responses. According to Pirofski (2001), Viola Florez-Tighe (1983) and Rudine Sims (1983) are cons idered two initial advocates for the necessity of such literature in childrens lives. Florez-Ti ghes (1983) study of the use of African-American literature with basal readers underscored how culturally relevant literature enhanced young African-American childrens linguistic and cognitive development as well as the desire to read. Sims (1983) interview with a ten-year-old African-American girl about her preferences for and responses to culturally relevant literature revealed that while the girl expressed a preference for reading books that mirrored her experien ces, she also wished to read books that included novel experience s. Both studies brought to the forefront issues of cultural relevance when discussing childrens engagement and the benefits of reading. Researchers state that children receive multip le benefits of using multicultural literature in classrooms, including additi onal knowledge of their cultural past, improved self-concept and identity, and increased reading pleasure (Harris, 1990; Sims Bishop, 1997). Yet minimal research involving young African-American childrens pr eferences for and responses to AfricanAmerican childrens literature exists. Availabl e research offers differing viewpoints. Grice and Vaughn (1992) interviewed 13 Af rican-American and European-American third-graders from low socioeconomic communitie s to explore the appeal of 24 picture books


34 upon the childrens cognitive (comprehension) an d affective (identification and enjoyment) domains. All of these children were considered struggling read ers. Of the book collection, 21 of the 24 were considered culturally conscious books (Sims, 1982) and were selected by the researchers. Over a period of six weeks, the teacher read aloud each of the picture books and either the teacher or the researchers subse quently interviewed the children about each book. Grice and Vaughn determined that socioeconomic cl ass, rather than race, might play a larger influence in the appeal of and connection to particular books. They also surmised that the students limited cultural and historical awareness might have contributed to their minimal preference for culturally conscious books. Gri ce and Vaughns conclusion s indicate that the presence of protagonists of similar race to th e readers may promote reader motivation but not necessarily reader engagement. Hefflin and Barksdale-Ladds (2001) interviews with African-American adults and thirdgrade children revealed their preferences for books th at were relatable to th eir own lives and that looked like me (p.811). Similarl y, the three African-American fifth-graders in Smiths (1995) study, two of whom were struggling readers, chose books that included African-American experiences. Her interviews with each child revealed preferences for texts with written and visual descriptions and themes that most closely mirrored their own life experiences and culture (p.571) over those that did not. Davis (2000) noted that her participants, si x African-American female sixth-graders, selected books that represente d themselves; however, those repr esentations were not always based on racial identification. The relatedness of the stories also included similar situations and problems and evidenced successful problem-solvi ng. Through archival data collection and indepth interviewing, Davis conclude d that the girls were motiv ated, reflective, on task, and


35 engaged (p.268) with their selected texts. Mc Ginley and Kamberelis (1996) also found that African-American third and fourth-graders responses to multicultural literature contributed to their personal development and their cultural views. However, Taylors (1997) study of 24 lowability, low-SES African-American and Latin-American fifth-graders in an urban school offers a more varied response. In Taylors study, all students read 24 picture books selected by Taylor. These books were considered either melting pot or culturally conscious stories (Sims, 1982) and were either mainstream (realistic fiction) or folklore literature (Taylor, 1997, p.39). After reading each book the students completed a questionnaire aski ng for their opinion about the book in general and whether or not they could place themselves in the story. They then wr ote about their favorite and least favorite books (p.39). The three favorite books of the African-American children were culturally-conscious books; howev er the five least favorite books also included culturally conscious books, which left Taylor uncertain about the implications for African-American children in this study. Unfortunately Taylor did not include the st udents reasons for enjoying or disliking the offered books, which might have provided critical information regarding not only their preferences but also their levels of engagement. Williams (2005) determined that sources of familiarity, which included the childrens everyday lives, constituted the preeminent reasons for economi cally disadvantaged third and fourth-grade Black students book selections. These books, which included biographies of pop culture musicians, famous athl etes, and TV characters, genera ted discourse communities among the participants and their peers. Selection and ownership of these books also conceivably improved the childrens motivation to read.


36 These referenced studies indicate that while culturally relevant literature positively contributes to African-American students se lf-concept, social awareness, and reading engagement, the selection of and desire for engaging literature includes and extends beyond the racial identification of the pr otagonists. Additionall y, children of differe nt racial and ethnic heritage identified with culturally relevant literature th at extended beyond their own racial identification. Educational Impact of Engaged Reading While the aesthetic realm of reading, in and of itself, is im portant, evidence of scholastic gains as a result of reader engagement is what convinces education officials and policy makers that transactional reading experien ces with culturally relevant lit erature are beneficial. Reader response studies involving culturall y relevant literature, especial ly African-American literature, indicate that engaging in the aesthetic re alm bolsters the cognitive realm. Harris (1995) determined that an elementary curriculum with African-American childre ns literature enabled students to engage personally wi th the text and elevated their comprehension and discussion of characters and plot sequences. Copenhavers (2001) investigation of elementary students literary understandings from a cultural viewpoint resulted in a determin ation that cultural backgrounds provide significant resources for making meaning of story (p.347). Engaging in reader response, when transact ional and inclusive of diverse and accurate reading material, personally and academically bene fits individuals. Both texts and transactional experiences with texts appear to contribute to intrinsic read ing motivation, and intrinsically motivated readers not only typical ly engage in reading more ofte n (Oldfather & Wigfield, 1996), they also have positive attit udes toward reading (Greaney & Hegarty, 1987; Mathewson, 1994; McKenna et al., 1995). Further, active and fre quent readers improve their comprehension


37 abilities or overall reading achievement (Campbell, Voelkl & Donohue, 1997; Cipielewski & Stanovich, 1992). Engagement in reading seems to also pa rtially compensate for individuals limited educational histories and economic situations. Engaged readers from low socioeconomic areas and minimal educational experiences have perf ormed better on reading ac hievement tests than less engaged readers from higher socioeconomic and educational communities (Guthrie & Schafer, 1998; Guthrie & Wigfield, 2000). Clear ly reader engagement benefits students personal and academic realms. Students Views of Reading When discussing reading achievement and re ader engagement, childrens perceptions and conceptions of reading should not be overlooked, regardless of age. Although Reid (1966) and Weintrub and Denny (1965) concluded that young child ren were often unable to articulate their conceptions of reading, Cairney s (1988) study of how primary-aged children responded to their basal readers established childrens capabilities of understandi ng the purpose of reading and reading materials. Additionally, Roettger (1980) determined that students conceptions of reading influenced the relationship between ones ability and attitude towards reading. PurcellGates and Dahl (1991) ascerta ined a connection between 35 economically disadvantaged, primary-aged childrens reading conceptions and th eir acquisition of reading skills in a skillsbased reading environment. These studies, among others, link reading achievement, attitude, and reader engagement. Reading Studies Focused on Students Percepti ons or Conceptions of Reading and Readers During the late 1970s and 1980s, which Turbill (2002) defines as the age of reading as meaning making and the age of the writing-r eading connection respectively (para. 12), researchers conducted many studies focusing on childrens conceptions of reading and


38 themselves as a reader. The majority of acce ssible studies centered upon children during their primary school years (Bondy, 1985; Borko & Ei senhart, 1986; Cairney, 1988; Rasinski & DeFord, 1988) with some studies including a comb ination of primary and intermediate level students (Canney & Winograd, 1979, 1980; Filby & Barnett, 1982) or focusing on third, fourth, or sixth-grade students (Johns, 1974; Johns & Ellis, 1976; Roettger, 1980). Researchers continued to focus on primary-aged readers du ring the 1990s until the early 2000s (Arya, 2003; Guice, 1992; Knapp, 2002; Landis, 1999; Mller 1999; Reutzel & Sabey, 1996). All of the aforementioned studies were conducted in school cl assrooms and relied on student interviews or questionnaires. The participants represented a span of socioeconom ic and sociocultural communities and included both females and males. During the 1980s researchers adopted a relational approach to their work, comparing high and low ability readers, readers in skills-based and whole language classrooms, or comparing empirical data on the students readin g capabilities to their classmates opinions on who where the better readers in school. Researchers since then have sought to better understand the relationship between reading contex ts and reading concepts without necessarily comparing readers based on ability or curriculum design. They have focused on the various ways in which children construct their reading concep tions and the contextual influences upon those conceptions (Arya, 2003; Guice, 1992; Kna pp, 2002; Landis, 1999; Mller, 1999; Reutzel & Sabey, 1996). Research concerning childrens con ceptions and perceptions of reading have forged a consensus that the organization of lite racy instruction in schools strongly influences childrens reading concepts a nd their self-conceptions of themselves as readers. A patterned composite of students considera tions of reading arose from these studies. More proficient readers tended to describe mo re meaning-based or holistic approaches to


39 reading, which included learning fr om the text, reading a variety of books, and socializing with books, with only one group of prof icient readers indicat ing they had to read fast (Guice, 1992). Less proficient readers tended to focus on surfac e level, or skill-based aspects of reading, emphasizing decoding abilities, stre ssing the need to perform we ll and practice, control their reading environment, and read fa st. The less proficient readers em phasized procedural aspects of reading without any mention of meaning or pleasure. Karla Mllers (1999) case study investigation of how first-graders perceive reading and themselves as readers at the end of the school ye ar led her to conclude that students purposes and perceptions are intertwined. Focusing on fi ve students, Mller twice observed classroom reading instruction lessons invol ving her participants and su bsequently interviewed each participant independently. These readers were of either African-American or European American heritage, represented both genders, and spanned the continuum readi ng abilities. Mller concluded that, for her participants, reading was a utilitarian act reserved for teacher or adultrelated reading activities and a so cial act with their peers. Ea ch reader exhibited different emphases for reading; however, there were commonalities amongst all five regardless of ability. The five major categories of reading were 1) Practice; 2) People; 3) Power; 4) Personal preference; and 5) Performance. The primary reason for reading for these firstgraders was to practice in order to develop their vocabulary and decoding skills. The length of the words and text, as indicators of maturation, were particularly important for all of the readers. All of th e readers also mentioned the social nature of reading. They either read together to improve their reading capabilities or to share good books with each other; although one student who experienced the most difficulty reading mentioned reading socially only once.


40 Reading also enabled the students to acquire pleasure and power. Not only was reading fun, regardless of the students r eading ability, but it also enabled them to express themselves in powerful ways, such as writing their own books, c ontrolling what they read and responded to, and learning new information to share with others. Reading as performance was a category which included some discrepancies. The students discussed how performance, through reading aloud to their classmates, was both exciting and scary. It involved risk -taking, which the less proficient readers indicated they were not co mfortable doing but did in order to improve. Mllers study suggests children have rich re ading perceptions which are influenced by the childrens situated experiences a nd concurs with Johnstons (1997) determination that the act of reading and individuals t houghts about reading and r eaders are constructed. Sixth-graders in Guices (1992) five-month case study also exem plified the social aspect of reading in combination with scholastic influences upon students reading pe rceptions. Framing her study within reader response theory (Rosenblatt, 1938/1995) and employing grounded theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) strate gies, Guice sought to better understand how 21 sixth-graders perceived themselves as readers. The majority of her participants were White middle-class children who attended private schoo l. While both genders were represented, there were more males (n=13) than females (n=8). During the initial and final phases of her study, Guice observed and audio-recorded the students language arts class and selected eight students as her focal participants to indi vidually interview. In the intermediary phase, she investigated how social interactions at home and school influe nced their preferences for and definitions of texts. Through her investigation, she found four distin ct types of readers which were largely based on the rate and quantity of text read: 1) No t a Good Reader/Doesnt Like to Read; 2) Pretty


41 Good Reader/Sometimes Likes to Read; 3) Pretty Good Reader/Likes to Read; 4) Good Reader/Likes to Read. The girls either considered themselves not good readers or good readers, while the boys considered themselves pretty good readers. Each students evaluation of readership was largely based on her or his perception and at titude of reading. Those who considered themselves good or pretty good read ers enjoyed reading and those who did not consider themselves good readers didnt enjoy reading. The students who didnt like to read preferred short books and consider ed good books as those read at home, not at school. They also were reticent to engage in social activities related to readi ng. Further, the females were more concerned about books they could enjoy while the males were con cerned with the length, topic, and requested their male peers approval of the books. At the conclusion of the study, Guice created a theory of community of readers which highlighted the interwoven concepts of reading pe rceptions, self-perceptions of readership, and socially-situated interactions. Each concept info rms and influences the other. Students selfconcept as readers influenced their book sele ctions and book responses. Likewise, their book experiences and responses influenced their self -concept of readers. Guices theory supports Padak, Vacca, and Stewarts (1993) assertion that childrens views about reading may be related to what they do as read ers (p.363) as well as Cairneys (1988) claim that every reading event occurs within a rich social context, part of which is the shar ed beliefs that participants have concerning reading, materials, and instruction (p.420). Literacy Studies Involving Conceptions of Reading and Readers Other studies which indirectly discussed ch ildrens considerati ons about reading or them selves as readers include Margaret Finders (1997) study of adolescent girls and their underground literacy practices in middl e school, and Bonnie No rtons (2003) study of


42 preadolescent children and comic books. These two studies look at how children differentiate between unofficial and official texts and how society influences those distinctions. Finders (1997), interested in young adoles cent girls underground literate world, conducted a year-long ethnographic study at a rural middle school. The girls in her study, known as the social queens and the tough cookies, were primarily European-American girls who were members of middle or working-class families. In this study, Finders focused on the unofficial literacy practices of the social qu eens (e.g. writing notes, signing yearbooks, and reading magazines) and the tough cookies (e .g. reading magazines and home interior magazines, cookbooks). While the social queens considered their unofficial literacy practices as indicators of soci al status and community buildin g, the tough cookies considered reading and writing private endea vors which would lead to academ ic success and individuality. The tough cookies school-based literacy practices typically matched the schools literacy expectations of learni ng information, revealing literate competencies, and broadening understanding. Their out-of-sc hool literacy pract ices helped them avoid household responsibilities, bond with their mothers, and s imply play. Contrastingl y, the social queens played with power (p.80) and their unofficial literacy performances were constructed with particular audiences in mind. The practices were collaborative, coll ective, and maintained social roles, unlike their official lite racy practices, which they felt were isolating and mandatory. Finders investigation beckons further consider ation about how the l iterate underlife of adolescent girls provided the girls with the freedom and responsibility that adults had previously told them would occur with in the official literate spheres of middle school. Intrigued by her sons love for comic books Norton (2003) investig ated the ways in which Archie comics engaged academically, cultural ly, and linguistically di verse fifth, sixth, and


43 seventh-graders. The students were primarily sixt h-graders (n=23) and in cluded an almost equal number of girls (n=19) as boys (n=15). In their individual qu estionnaires and interviews the students not only indicated Archie comics were humorous, but al so that the comics provided a sense of control over their read ing process. Like Finders (1997) adolescent girls, their comic book culture, as literate underlife, created opportunities for the students to learn, debate, and engage in reading outside the parame ters of the school curriculum. The students also shared with Norton how reading in school, even during independent reading time, did not include such comics. Thei r teachers preferred chap ter books and considered the Archie comics to be a waste of time or garbage (p.144). Archie, as a comic book, was not a proper book (p.145) and was typically read at home as a re ward for finishing homework. The students felt connected to Archie comics while texts in school were abstract and disconnected from their lives outside of school. In response to the students commentaries, Norton encourages teachers to reflect on why Archie comics and reading material of the like are considered trivial and speculates that the pres sures of accountability and educators distance from childhood pleasures contribute to their stance towards comics. She advocates more research with multimodal texts like Archie comics to better understand reader engagement. The focus of Finders (1997) and Norton s (2003) studies resi des in how children conceptualize and distinguish between official texts which are accepted by adults and schools and unofficial texts which are endorsed and en joyed by children. They also suggest a renewed look at book selection studies and their significance to reader engagement. Book Selection Studies Research involving childrens book selections is extensive du e in part to the awareness that ch ildrens reading interests are inherently mobile and are influenced by access and social mores (Wolfson, Manning, & Manning, 1984). The id iosyncratic nature of book selections and


44 perhaps reading necessitates continual investigat ions of what children state are desired texts within specific domains. Such studies assist educators in streamlining what to purchase for recreational reading purp oses given their limited budgets, what to include in curriculum units, and what texts to offer which will help expand and challenge their students interests (Sturm, 2003). Reading researchers often use the terms read ing preferences, and reading interests interchangeably (Galda, Ash, & Cullinan, 2003) wh en referring to children and books despite the difference in approaches. According to Su mmers and Lukasevich (1983) and Monson and Sebesta (1991), reading preferences indicate the possibility of readership while reading interests tend to identify what has been selected to read. Reading preferen ce studies focus on the broad continuum of book choices, while reading interest studies focus on more detailed choices. Some researchers also argue that the term reader preference construes passivity amongst those selecting books and does not necessarily indicat e an authentic desire for the books offered (Spangler, 1983). For example, I am told to choose between a Stephen King horror novel and a self-help book about elevating my self-esteem, but wh at I really desire at that moment is light reading material such as a chick lit novel by S ophie Kinsella. My ultimate selection of the self-help book, thus indicating a preference, sy mbolizes a forced se lection of the more interesting choice within a given set of options rather than my tr ue reading interest. I might be interested in reading a self-help book at a later date, but for the interim, I currently want Kinsellas book. Within academic environments where reading is mandated, children may often feel compelled to select any book in order to hon or their teachers or librarians requests. Reader interest studies, on the other hand, ostensibly enab le children to become more invested in the selection proce ss because interests appear to be more intrinsically related and


45 involve freedom of choice (Spangler, 1983). Children are choosing what books they are interested in reading with no apparent pressu re to select one book over another. However both reader preference and reader interest studies tend to ove rlook the socio-historical and psychosocial influences of reader preferences an d interests. With the exception of a couple of analytical studies such as Dressmans (1997) stu dy of third-graders book preferences as socially mediated performances, book selection studies do not typically include an analysis of the sociocultural influences of childrens book selections. Further similarities between the two types of studies include shared goals. Researchers conducting both types of studies wi sh to discover what specific books or genres of books might foster increased engagement with reading and why those books are so appealing for children. While I understand the differences between the tw o types of studies, as articulated by reading and childrens literature resear chers, I do not distinguish betw een the two in this review. I categorize reading preference and reading interest studies as book selection studies because both types of studies share similar data collectio n methods, participants, and overarching goals. Lineage and Foci of Book Selection Studies Book selection studies date back over a centu ry. The initial studies (late 1800s to the 1920s) included questionnaires di stributed to 900 to 3,600 elem en tary-aged students, depending on the study. Over the past century most rese archers concentrated on preference differences based on childrens gender and age (Sebes ta & Monson, 2003) and so ught understanding of desired books based on particular genres (e.g. fi ction, nonfiction, poetry) or topics (e.g. humor, adventurous, animals, friendships). During the first few decades of the twentieth century researchers sought to elucidate whether or not children were reading ideal books (literature with high literary merit) through book selection studies. The impact of the curriculum, not the childs interest, served as the impetus for such investigations.


46 In the 1930s, researchers began disaggregat ing preferences based on the participants perceived intellectual ability (L azar, 1937). A significant shift towards a more child-centered focus and the inclusion of underground readi ng material (e.g. comi c books) in the 1960s accompanied the Whole Language Movement (Hayne s & Richgels, 1992). This move indicated a focus on recreational reading choi ces outside the academic framewor k of classroom instruction. Within the first half of the twentieth century th e subject of interest in book selection studies shifted from content to the individual. Instead of asking how book selections reflected learning, researchers asked how book selections reflected the individual. After the 1960s, book selection studies seemed to occur more frequently as a response to research indicating a marked decline in reading interest as children mature (Anderson, Tollefson, & Gilbert, 1985; Cline & Kretke, 1980; McKenn a et al., 1995; Shapiro & White, 1991) and to the fourth-grade slump (Chall, Jacobs, & Baldwin, 2000). These studies provided educators with information about potential books to use in instruction (Reu tzel & Gali, 1998) or attempted to ensure a mismatch between children and books occurred infrequently, if at all (Worthy, Moorman, & Turner, 1999). The trend of resear ching how books could better fulfill individual reading interests for both academic and personal reading continues today. Participants of Book Selection Studies Up until th e 1980s intermediate or seconda ry level students were the target population of book selection studies. The focus on older youth has provided educators with a rich source of data indicating that after age nine, girls and boys express preferences fo r different genres or content (Harkrader & Moore, 1997; Landy, 1977; McCarty, 1950; Simpson, 1996; Williams, 2005; Wolfson, Manning, & Manning, 1984). Studies involving children ni ne years or older align with researchers assertions that after eight years of age children can better articulate their rationales and experiences (K ortesluoma, Hentinen, & Nikkone n, 2003). However, studies


47 focusing on children younger than nine years old have also occurred (Fisher & Natarella, 1982; Itzkowitz, 1982; Mohr, 2003; Sm ith, 1962), and have provided insi ght into the in fluences of teachers and book access within the classroom during a period of time when children are learning to read, not reading to learn. Researchers conducting studies since the mi d 1990s have focused particularly on the ethnicities of participants (Castaneda, 1995; Taylor, 1997; Williams, 2005), multicultural literature (Mohr, 2003) and popular culture (G reenlee, Monson, & Taylor, 1996; Ujiie & Krashen, 1996; Williams, 2005). With the excepti on of a few studies (Martinez, Roser, Worthy, Strecker, & Gough, 1997; Simpson, 1996; Williams, 2005), most research reviewed did not include the socioeconomic status of the indivi duals, nor, with the exception of the late 1930searly 1940s studies, did research ers note childrens perceived reading abilities. Gender and ethnicity appeared to be the tw o crucial variables when ascertaining the preferences of children. Recognizing that access to texts could si gnificantly influence what one reads, it is disconcerting that researcher s of contemporary book selection studies are extrapolating the preferred reading materials of those who not only have literary access but are also considered proficient readers as the readi ng preferences of those who do not have access or may not be as proficient of readers. This assumption is quite risky as it potentially ove rlooks specific literary wants and needs of those alrea dy marginalized in schools. Data Collection Methods in Book Selection Studies Collection m ethods for book selection studies have often included written documentation such as reader surveys or que stionnaires (Harkrader & Moor e, 1997; Haynes & Richgels, 1992; Wolfson, Manning, & Manning, 1984) reading logs (Anderson, Higgins, & Wurster, 1985; Castaneda, 1995), and library ci rculation records (Bard & Leide, 1985; Isaacs, 1992; Kutiper & Wilson, 1993). These indirect methods of determin ing what children prefer or select to read


48 enable researchers to collect a substantial amount of information from a large population within a limited amount of time. They also allow for a gr eater capacity for genera lizing the results to a wider audience. However, reading surveys and questionnaires are often not validated instruments (Sebasta & Monson, 2003), require the respondent to have a particular level of reading ability, and often include preconceived categories which c ould hold different meanings for the participants. Furthermore, the use of fic titious titles necessitates researchers infer their conclusions rather than directly convey what children actually said. Their inferences may or may not coincide with the participan ts intentions or meaning and do es not take into account the allure of titles. Reading logs, especially within scholastic environments, implicitly convey the need for individuals to share positive though ts about selected books. The tende ncy to write about the part I liked best potentially belies the actual engage ment of the readers and might not capture the reasons why children selected part icular books. It appears erroneous to equate an enjoyable part of the book with the reason why the book was originally selected or to assume one enjoyable part indicates enjoyment of the entire book. Circulation records such as library checkout logs do not guarant ee that the children enjoyed the books they borrowed, and do not distinguish between which check-outs were mandated, which were used for the purposes of completing homework assignments, or which were voluntarily read, unless confirmed by the borrowers themselves. Nor do these records reveal the ways in which the children used the books (e.g. someone read it aloud, viewing only the illustrations, etc.). It is assumed the child read the books and read th em for pleasure. Great uncertainty accompanies this partic ular type of data collection method and readers must trust and rely upon assumptions or inferences by research ers without indications of validity. These


49 artifacts also do not account for the visual depe ndency often indicated as a primary reason for book selections among elementary-school stud ents (Campbell, Griswold, & Smith, 1988; Lysaker, 1997; Reutzel & Gali, 199 8). Most importantly, children s voices are lost amidst an array of data points and researchers conclusions. Cognizant of the limitations which accompa ny surveys and questionnaires, researchers have begun using multiple methods of data collec tions which included gathering archival data, observing behaviors, and conductin g interviews (Casteneda, 1995; Greenlee, Monson, & Taylor, 1996; Mohr, 2003; Williams, 2005). Observations could also be considered indirect sources of data in some respects due to the emphasis on the researchers pers pectives of witnessed behaviors and events. However, interviews allow students to directly articulate their rationales for their book selections and leave little room for misinterpretati on, especially if researchers use clarifying questions thr oughout the interviews. Researchers who conduct interviews with students about their book selections immediately after the selection pr ocess are able to elicit richer descriptions of the students conscious and unconscious thoughts and actions in relation to books. Interviews enable more detailed recollections and rationales for child rens book selections as children express their preferences in their own words without much inte rference from the researcher. Interview probes also help clarify childrens rationales or encourage deeper explor ation of childrens preferences. Children become active agents in studies that involve interviews. However, like book selection studies involving archival data, most intervie ws are conducted within a classroom or school library; are situated within curricula frameworks such as reader workshops or literature circles; or are extrapolations of in-p rocess scholastic endeavors.


50 Additionally, with the excep tion of Williams (2005) study, the books included in these types of studies were selected by the participan ts teacher, librarian, or the researcher, without any initial input from the participants themselves. Since teachers, librarians, and researchers are adults often concerned with ensuring childrens academic success and the children lack opportunities to provide their ow n input, scholastic or adult-th emed overtones could dominate the books included in the studies. Book selection studies that ar e either situat ed within a scholastic environment or focus on scholastic endeavors cannot necessarily be considered recreational reading choices outside of school or classroom instru ction; yet they often are. Studies situated outside the scholastic boundari es of a classroom or school library might provide additional insight into childrens book selections for recreational reading. Moreover, studies extending beyond children s articulation of why they select particular books and including what happens with the books after the selec tion process might also enrich our current understanding of students range of enga gement with self-selected books. Book Selection Studies Identifying Ch ildrens Book Selection Rationales A couple of research studies within the pa st decade have focused on the contextual factors associated with childrens book selections. Concerned about the lack of representation of special education students book ch oices and the students book sele ction processes, Swartz and Hendricks (2000) investigated what factors influenced the book se lection processes of 31 special education middle school students (6 fem ale and 13 male). Their selection criterion was based solely on the students inclusi on in a special education program The researchers engaged in book chats with groups of up to si x students at a time and discusse d why the students selected particular books For the purposes of the study, Swartz and Hendricks initiated the book chats by asking the students to recall books they had read and why they had chosen those particular books. Their


51 initial inquiries about the book selections were streamlined with questions focusing on authors, length, titles, covers, illustrati ons and characters (p.611). The re searchers then introduced five books of their choice, read the title and author of each book to the students, and then asked the students to indicate which of th e aforementioned elements (e.g. author, length, and titles) would persuade them to select that particular book. A summary of the book was also provided to generate richer responses. The students responses were divide d into the following 11 categories. 1. Topic/subject matter 2. Author 3. Writing style 4. Characters 5. Cover/Illustrations 6. Back-of-the-book summaries 7. Title 8. Length 9. Recommendations 10. Movies/television shows 11. Combined strategies Approximately half of the students selected a book based on the cover or illustrations, titles, and peer recommendations. Two thirds of the students selected books based on the topic or subject matter or the back-of-the-book summari es. One third selected books based on the books character or due to the influen ce of movies and TV. Those that selected books due to media familiarity stated they wanted to compare and contrast the book to the movie or TV show and preferred the book to the m ovie or TV show. Kraglers (2000) distinction be tween the reading abilities of fourth-grade, White middleclass boys and their book selecti ons led to some interesting fi ndings. The boys had access to a wide variety of reading materi als in school and in their cla ssroom. Analyzing the teachers reading conference forms with each boy, which included questions about their book selection


52 processes, Kragler determined that regardless of reading proficiency, the students book selection rationales were similar and included the followi ng categories, 1) Peer recommendations; 2) Physical characteristics; 3) Topi c; 4) Same author/series; and 5) Previous experiences. What differed were the frequencies within each cate gory. Less proficient read ers mentioned the books physical features and their familia rity with the author or series the most and rarely mentioned selecting books based on peer recommendations. Less proficient readers also mentioned the influence of movies and videos on their book selections although it didnt ha ppen frequently. All readers did not select books appropriate to their reading abilit y. The more proficient readers selected book that were at thei r independent reading levels and were easy to read, while the less proficient readers typically selected books that were too difficu lt and were at their frustration reading levels. In another study, Fleener, Morrison, Linek and Rasinski (1997) sought to better understand how 32 fifth and sixthgrade students (19 females and 13 males) from academically and socioeconomically diverse communities in Oklahoma and Texas selected books for personal reading. The researchers individu ally interviewed the students about their book reading habits and twice observed thei r library behaviors. Responding to interview questions about their reading habits, the students indicat ed that the surface features of books, such as the titles, covers, and length, were some of the most popular reason s for selecting particular books. While students of all reading abilities selected books by the covers, less prof icient readers selected more books due to their length and illustrations than more proficient readers. They also were more influenced by teacher recommendations and relied more on ho me, classroom, or school libraries for their book selections than more proficient readers. C onversely, more proficient readers indicated that


53 their peers book recommendations were more im portant to them than family members or teachers suggestions. Economically disadvantaged Black children in the intermediate grad es often selected books based on their books connection to their everyday lives (Williams, 2005). In this grounded theory study, Williams selected a subpopulat ion of 40 females and males from a larger pool of children (n=293) who were participati ng in Allington and McGill -Franzens (2001) study on how access to books potentially ameliorates th e summer reading achievement gap. In this study, the participants chose up to 15 books from a range of 400 to 600 books to own every summer for three consecutive years. The books offe red each year fluctuated due to participants requests and included books about popular culture figures such as celebrities, superheroes, and famous athletes. Williams recorded the spontaneous talk of her 40 participants as they selected their books to help determine the childrens book se lection processes. She then subsequently interviewed 30 of those participants, with equal re presentation of females and males, to gain a deeper understanding about what influenced the participants book selections. The audio recordings and interviews revealed that almost 90% of the 30 participants mentioned media sources such as TV, movies, vide o games, or music, as the reason why they selected particular books. Girls mentioned media sources more than boys during their spontaneous talk and interviews; however, boys selected more books based on media sources than the girls. The books physical features also assi sted the girls and boys in their selection process, with 90% selecting at least one of their books based on the books covers, titles, or items such as stickers which accompanied the books. Adults, family member s, and friends were also popular influences in the participants book selections.


54 Considerations of Book Selection Studies Due to the hundreds of book selection studies which have focused particularly on genre or topic (McKay, 1968; Sebesta & Monson, 2003) with relatively little change in childrens indicated book interest s, it appears unnecessa ry to conduct another constant-com parison book selection study based on gender a nd genre. Yet it does seem prude nt to conduct an in-depth book selection study that includes the participants ac tive involvement in preparing the book offerings, their direct articulations of why they selected particular books and their subseque nt interactions with or distance from those selected books. As exemplified in this review of childrens book selection studies, children are rarely active contributors to the studys book offeri ngs. Additionally, many book selection studies either focus on middle class childr en who have more access to a va riety of reading materials than economically disadvantaged children or do not indi cate the socioeconomic st atus of participants. Studies which do include economically disadvantag ed children do not often distinguish between more and less proficient readers and as previ ous studies suggest, read ers of varying reading abilities select books for different reasons. Looking at contemporary book selection studi es, personal recommendations by family members, teachers, or peers, childrens ever yday life sources based on popular culture, and books physical attributes are consistent determinants of children s book selections regardless of an individuals socioeconomic stat us or reading profic iency. Differences in which determinants are more dominant in more and less proficie nt readers book selection processes do exist; although why they exist have not explicitly been offered by researchers. More studies which include marginalized readers are needed in order to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the contextual details that su rround and involve book selections. This type of study would also help confirm or disconfirm under lying assumptions that books are selected for


55 the sole purpose of reading as well as deepen educators understanding of the contexts within which books are selected. My Approach to Book Selection Studies My review of previous book selection studies and current co nceptualizations of reader engagem ent fostered through motiv ation, transactional reading experiences, access to culturally relevant literature, and pers onal conceptions of reading, in dicates a need for a more comprehensive approach to book selection studies. Previous researchers have often overlooked marginalized individuals and children with mini mal access to reading material outside of school. They have also focused only on struggling ma le readers (Kragler, 2000) when desiring to specifically look at one group of individuals book selection proc esses and interests. Female struggling readers as a distinctive group have been left out of the picture. Moreover, book selection studies have rarely included substantive interviews and have taken childrens book selection reasons at face value w ithout delving into how childrens socio-historical perspectives and motivations influence their selections. In this particular book selection study, I seek to fill a conceptual gap by focusing on girls who have minimal access to reading materi als outside of school and are identified as struggling or marginalized readers. The partic ipants will share ownership of the initial book offerings and have sole ownership of their s ubsequent book selections and interactions. This approach to ownership addresses one component of reader engagement. Additionally, in this st udy I go beyond the girls stated rationales and inquire about their interactive or transactional e xperiences with their self-sel ected books. These transactions conceivably increase reader motivation a nd engagement and might provide a more comprehensive understanding of the rationales for particular books and how these rationales are guided by personal conceptions. Pe rsonal conceptions, as motivati onal factors, influence the


56 appeal of particular books and ones subsequent experiences with thos e books. Therefore, to better understand the relationships between children and books I simultaneously investigate childrens book rationales, their book experiences, and their con ceptions of reading. Because I wish to improve my understanding about the inte ractions of readers and texts and I ground that understanding in the par ticipants discourse, Gadamers (1975) approach to hermeneutics seems well-suited for this particular study. A more exte nsive discussion of this approach occurs in Chapter 3.


57 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Introduction Not everything that ca n be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. --Albert Einstein While quantitative researchers inquiries often focus on the objective whys of a phenomenon rooted within an objectivist framew ork, qualitative researchers prefer to work within interpretive or constructivist frameworks as they seek to illuminate how peoples words and actions construct social real ity while observing individuals with in natural settings (Creswell, 1998; Lareau, 2000). They aim to provide rich and detailed stories of individual lives, especially those whose experiences have often been margin alized or their voices unheard (Lieblich, TuvalMashiach, & Zilber, 1998). Such stories embrace pluralistic possibilities rather than singular notions of truth. Truth is not tr uth; our understanding of truths, as mediated through language, are heavily dependent upon on socio-historical and so ciocultural constructs. In this study I sought to better understand th e book selection rationa les, book experiences and reading conceptions of prea dolescent girls who were identified as marginalized readers. Two primary questions: 1) What rationales undergird these girls self-selections of books for personal use? and 2) How does access to culturally relevant literature reflect and reshape their conceptions of reading and books? guided my investigation In this chapter, I begin with the epistemological and theoretical f oundations of this study. I then progress to the research design, with detailed descriptions of the research se tting, participant selection criteria, multiple trajectories of data collection, a nd data analysis. I continue this discursive journey with my process of establishing trustw orthiness (Lincoln & Guba, 1985), statements of influence (subjectivity) as the researcher, and conclude with the limitations of the study.


58 Epistemology and Theoretical Framework Research requires epistemol ogy, or how we know what we know (Crotty, 2003, p.8) to guide the studys m ethodological al ignment. For this particul ar study concerning preadolescent girls conceptions of reading and their experi ences with self-selecte d books, I operated under a subjectivist epistemology. Subjectivism, according to Crotty (2003), adheres to the notion that meaning is often ascribed to objects from various sources within our unconsciousness (p.9). While the investigator and investigated subject are assumed to be interactively linked (Guba & Lincoln, 1994, p.110), the investigators values or worldviews in fluence the inquiry. Meaning and knowledge are represented through language Unlike constructioni sts, subjectivists, immersed in the world, interpret without steppi ng back and conscientiously noting how their interactions within the world have im pacted their concep tualizations. A subjectivist epistemology involves inten tionality, the consciousness of knowing something (Crotty, 2003, p.44). Individuals become engaged within the world and the subject and object are conjoined at some level. Even though, like constructionism subjectivism adheres to the notion that there is neve r a final and correct interpretati on, it differs from constructionism in that subjectivists believe meaning is create d or negotiated (Bernste in, 1983) rather than constructed (Crotty, 2003, p.43-44). Meaning becomes imbued w ith prejudices of the interpreter as the interpreter conjoins her interpre tation with the assumed meanings of the texts. Since I am exploring how girls individually conc eptualize reading and books from a cultural and socio-historical standpoint, a s ubjectivist epistemology that requi res the researcher adopt an interpretive lens and include social environments seems appropriate for this particular study. A definitive marker of social science is one s proclivity to examine the relationship between human thought and human social lif e (Hekman, 1986, p.10). Hermeneutics, as a philosophy to guide someone in understanding Dasein or being in the world (Heidegger,


59 1962), has a rich history that extends back thousands of y ears to Plato and other Greek philosophers (Bleicher, 1980; Crotty, 2003; Hekman, 1986; Teigas, 1995). Etymologically speaking, the term Hermeneutics is a Latin derivation from the Greek word hermeneuein which means to interpret or to understand (Cro tty, 2003, p.88). Some have linked the term hermeneutics to Hermes, the god of gaps who se rved as the liaison betw een Zeus and mortals (Bleicher, 1980). He conveyed messages from th e gods to humans. Extending that image, earlier hermeneutic philosophers believed that acts of unders tanding bridge human s to the spiritual Other. Understanding is a comm union of human and celestial sprit, a union illustrated in the Reformations hermeneutical emphasis upon eliciting the original meanings embedded within Biblical texts and classical l iterature (Teigas, 1995, p.27). Hermeneutics has evolved from the classical sense of deciphering Scriptures to a contemporary investigation of the everyday worl d in which we encounter ourselves and conduct our lives via reflective consciousness (Teigas, 1995, p.33). According to scholars such as Alvesson and Skoldberg (2000), Bl eicher (1980), and Ormiston a nd Schrift (1990), hermeneutics has progressed from method (classical hermeneu tics as explained by Ast, Schleiermacher, and Dilthey) to philosophy (existential hermeneutics as theorized by Heidegger and Gadamer) to critique (critical hermeneutics as argued by Habermas). I briefly describe the theoretical progression of hermeneutics, ending with Gadamers hermeneutic philosophy because it serves as a theoretical undercurrent of my study. Classical hermeneutics departs from the objec tive dogmatic replication of truth to a belief which encompasses the psychological and the grammatical, the indi vidual (part) and the entity (whole). Georg Ast (1778-1841) is first cr edited with creating a ci rcular structure of understanding, later termed by Dilthey as the hermeneutic circ le (Ormiston & Schrift, 1990). In


60 order to comprehend the spirit, as transmitted through texts, one must know language or the grammar of a text. One must capture the meaning through knowing shared expressions. Influenced by Ast, Schleiermacher (1 768-1834) adopted a psychological view to hermeneutics. He sought to create a general he rmeneutic method extending beyond biblical texts. Schleiermachers vision was rooted in the notion that language is vita l to the interpretive process. In order to understand the wr itten word, in terms of shared syntactic and semantic understandings, one must also und erstand the speaker or aut hor of a text: the individual application or psychological impetus behind th e chosen words. Through this process, one should comprehend the text more fully than the author (Ormiston & Schrift, 1990; Teigas, 1995). During Schleiermachers time, people inquired about how people communicate rather than how to read a text. Even though communication (an exchange) was a focal point, the duality of subject and object, with an emphasis on authorial intent as a guide for interpretation, remained steadfast in both Ast an d Schleiermachers hermeneutical methodologies. Like Schleiermacher, Wilhelm Dilthey (18331911) considered hermeneutics as a method of understanding recorded ideas and thoughts. However, Dilthy grounded his hermeneutics within the concepts of Erlebnis (lived experience) and Verstehen (understanding) and separated human sciences from the natura l sciences (Ormiston & Schrift, 1990). One can explain facts of nature; however human life must be understood. Dilthey rejected the notion of a singular correct interpretation and insisted on the inclusion of history as a way to illuminate approximations of truth. In tuition is not enough. Comparis ons through a I (subject of a community) / Thou (object as the to tality of mind and universal hist ory) dichotomy is needed for an object or event to be reconsidered. For Ast, Schleiermacher, and Dilthey, the goal of


61 interpretation is to obtain a particular meaning imparted upon something by the creator or author (Bontekoe, 1996). The progressive trajectory of hermeneutics ta kes a radical turn w ith Martin Heidegger (1889-1976). Heidegger was concerned with a mo re phenomenological sense of hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is not just symbolic communi cation but is also an ontology of Being ( daesin ) as a being-in-the-world ( in-der-Welt-sein ). We cannot separate ourselves from the world, therefore the subject-object binary advocated by objectiv ist and classical hermeneutics, dissolves. Consciousness is developed through historic ally lived experiences (Laverty, 2003). Understanding is the way we are, not how we come to know the world (Polkinghorne, 1983). Heideggers hermeneutic circle involves forestructures or pr eunderstandings to understanding. These forestructures are the cultur al meanings which exist before one understands and are embedded within historical constructs. Pr eunderstandings provide the forestructures to understanding and are permanent fixtures in ones consciousness. Thus a circular movement occurs. One progresses from preunderstandings to new understandings, which then become more contemporary understandings and enrich the de grees of understanding and engagement with texts, etc. However, without knowing one s preunderstandings, one can impede new interpretations, resulting in a vicious circle (Bontekoe, 1996). Thus, one cannot bracket or set aside ones prejudgments, prejudices, and predis positions in order to gain new perspectives (Moustakas, 1994, p.85). Similar to his mentor Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900-2002) believed that understanding is neither subjective nor objective, but historically conditioned (Hekman, 1986). Additionally Gadamer concurs with Heide gger on the following three principles:


62 1. Ontology is grounded in the world in th at it closely observes the ways in which humans exist and how they en counter the world (Gadamer, 1975, p.234). 2. Prejudices (Heideggers forestructures), which indicate our situatedness in history and time, are inherent. Interprete rs cannot directly ap proach or engage with a text and look at what is present. Instead they must examine or reflect upon what is within them as th ey encounter the text. (p.266) 3. The hermeneutic circle of whole and part does not disso lve into perfect understandingbut becomes realized and is inherently mobile. Understanding is a fluid interplay between custom and the interpreter. Gadamer extends Heideggers philosophy throu gh two other principles: 1) an emphasis on language and 2) the fusing of horizons (effect ive-historical conscious ness). Influenced by linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt who claimed langua ges present different views of the world (Teigas, 1995), Gadamer states that language mediates I and Thou. It is through language that I (an individual) encount ers Thou (the world). Language modifies Is understanding of Thou rather than impressing understandi ng upon Thou. A relationship forms from these modifications and reifies that th e notion that language doesnt cr eate the world but creates what we consider to be the world. Language serves as the conduit for understanding (Gadamer, 1975, p.401). Language can never be priv ate; it always involves others and hence, ca rries culture (Gadamer, 1976, p.96). It is the key that unlo cks the door to unders tanding (Hekman, 1986, p.117). Therefore, when one studies Being as b eing-in-the-world, not only does one study the object of interpretation, but one also studies the medi um of inquirylanguage. According to Gadamer (1975), horizons are our pa rticular perspectives or vantage points. Language enables those immersed in hermeneutic thought to fuse multiple horizons, which symbolizes the effectiveness of historical cons ciousness (understanding) One horizon, the past of the studied object (the text) within which previous horizons ar e embedded, is met with another horizon, the interpreter in the pres ent. Even though these horizons are omnipresent, fusions occur


63 during interpretive acts. Simplisti cally speaking, our future is informed by our present, which is informed by our past. In any circumstance, horizons, while seem ingly isolated and fi xed, are perpetually mobile, are ever-changing, and are ne gotiated as if one were engaged in play. For this study, the fusion of horizons occurs on at least two inte rsecting planes. From th e perspective of the researcher and the research process, my views and opinions of reading and books (my prejudices) are layered a nd intermingled with the participants articulations of their accumulated reading and book experiences. What I have taken fo r granted, based on my past experiences, will be called into question when encountering the girls thoughts, ideas, questions, and interpretations. Through dialogue, reflection, and analysis, new understandings will arise which will then become new horizons within which I continually engage in new interpretive acts. From the vantage point of the girls, their prejudices of reading and books inform their encounters with new texts and experiences. Books are both literal and metaphorical texts. The horizons of these texts, conveyed through authorsh ip and social mores, fuse with the girls horizons via interactive experiences, resulting in potentially new horizons or understandings for the girls. Their new understandings will then inform my understandings, as conveyed through dialogue, and the cycle continues. Recognizing that teachers and students typi cally operate from diffe rent horizons that may not fuse when it comes to reading and books and that elementary-aged students who have been scholastically labeled as strugg ling readers have rarely been asked to share their thoughts about reading and books, I sought an improved and more comprehensiv e understanding of marginalized readers conceptions of reading and books. I focused on girls because they are often absent from discussions a bout struggling readers. My desire necessitated a framework that


64 would encourage girls to share th eir individual beliefs and opini ons. I wanted girls voices to resonate within the center of an interpretive circ le or throughout an interp retive spiral that has previously left them on the periphery of readi ng research. However, I also wanted to further investigate the social influences upon those conceptions and actions. Hermeneutics seems to complement my desire to understand their thoughts and behavior and the soci al discourse used to mediate those conceptions. Selection and Description of Setting In this study I focused upon preadolescent gi rls who were considered struggling or m arginalized readers based on the aforementioned crit eria in Chapter 1. Initial investigation of possible sites included elementary schools that had a subs tantive population receiving free/ reduced meals at school, an indicator of low socioeconomic status (low SES), and a high percentage of intermediate grade (grades 3-5) students who did not pass their statewide reading assessment. Aware of a common yet erroneous inc lination in the United States to equate all African-Americans with low SES status, I purposefully sought out schools that also had a high number of European-Americans who were c onsidered of low socioeconomic status. I selected two elementary sc hools in a rural North Central Florida community as initial locations for the study. At both schools at least 80% of the student population were eligible for free/reduced meals at school and had more than half (50%) of the students aged 9-11 scored below passing on the latest reading portion of their high-stakes Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). Additionally, both schools offered extended-day enrichment programs (EDEP), commonly referred to as after-school care. These EDEP sites had a substantial number of girls in attendance. Given the geopolitical circumstan ces in this region, one of the schools had a high European-American population that was economically disadvantaged and another had a high African-American populatio n that was economica lly disadvantaged.


65 I considered an EDEP site at an elemen tary school the best location for this study. Conducting a study at an EDEP site would minimi ze any potential transportation issues for the studys participants as well minimize any potential for participants discomfort or unease if the study, as a novel experience was conducted in an unfamiliar environment by an unknown adult. Participants homesor private spheres where personal reading might typically occur would have been the optimal locations. However, my initial position as an adult stranger, especially one conducting research about a topic which the participants were unenthusiastic about, might have considerably altered what was observed and sa id in the normalcy of the participants homes. Additionally, conducting a st udy at an EDEP site al lowed me to volunteer prior to the study in order to gauge the viability of the site and to begin establishing rapport with the participants. The month prior to the study, I offered to volunteer at each schools EDEP to help determine the viability of the locales for th e study; however only one school, Meadowlawn Elementary School (a pseudonym), accepted my offer. The local school board, principal, and EDEP director welcomed both me and subsequen tly the study to this location. Meadowlawns EDEP site became my primary research site during the academic school year. The informed consent forms for the parents and guardians and th e assent form for the participants can be found in Appendix A. After the school year concluded, I visited the pa rticipants at their respective homes or other community areas when asked and when possible. Table 3-1 provides an overview of Meadowlawn Elementary Schools demographics in terms of school population, ethnic diversity, and the percentage of intermedia te grade students who did not pass their latest standardized reading achievement test.


66 Table 3-1. Meadowlawn Elementary School statistics Meadowlawn demographics Racial/Ethnic affiliations 2005 Reading FCAT scores (Scored below average [<3]) Student population (K-5) 383 Black 71% 3rd grade 54% Percentage of free/reduced lunch 89% White 24% 4th grade 58% Hispanic 2% 5th grade 54% Multiracial 3% Native American <1% Data compiled from Florida Department of Education (2005) and Grea tSchools, Inc (2005) The local school board subsid ized Meadowlawns EDEP program which enabled many of the free/reduced meal students, including the participants, to attend for a reduced charge of $4.00-$8.00 a week per child. EDEP, which operated out of the schools cafeteria, enrolled 5075 K-5 students Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 1:45-5:30pm, and Wednesday from 12:30-5:30pm, depending on the time of year. When I first began volunteering, almost an equal number of girls and boys participated in EDEP. However, as the academic school year progressed, more and more children, especia lly girls, stopped attending the program. The director of the program indicated the withdrawal as typical after the winter holiday season due to many families financial circumstances. Meadowlawns EDEP site incorporated academic components, such as homework tutoring services, writing clubs, and science e xploration clubs, with more extracurricular components such as cheerleading, step, and cooking clubs. The extracurric ular clubs rotated on a six-week schedule or until the club leader was unable to attend EDEP. Students were organized by grade levels into three groups (K-1; 2-3; 4-5) and had one adult faci litator overseeing each group, with an assistant if and when possible. Between two and four college and high school


67 volunteers filtered among the groups each week; however, their schedules were not consistent. Due to limited finances, the director relied heav ily on volunteers to oversee the club activities. When those volunteers were abse nt, the children played various sports and games outdoors or board and card games. A sample EDEP week ly agenda is provided in Appendix B. Community outreach programs such as the Big Brother/Big Sister mentorship and AmeriCorps reading tutors were incorporated into Meadowlawns EDEP program. A sprinkling of children had mentors, many of whom were sporadic in attendance, and AmeriCorps provided reading tutors for children in grades K-2 who were school-ide ntified as needing additional instruction. EDEP had a total of 50 well-used picture books and novels published in the late 1970s to early 1990s, which, according to the director, had been there for at least five years. These books were the only texts available for those who di d not bring reading materials for their daily 20minute, independent Sustained Silent Readi ng (SSR) program or their weekly Book Buddy program, where an older child read to a younger child. The EDEP children confirmed the longevity and condition of the books. During the SSR and Book Buddy reading activiti es the children read while the adult facilitators and volunteers played games or monitored the reading activity. During SSR the children were not allowed to converse. Any talk resulted in a reprimand of Now you have to sit by yourself and write a reading response because you were talking. Even I was reprimanded once when one of the girls asked me how to say a word in her assigned reading and I responded. Additionally, when some children misbehaved, the consequence was reading. They were told to go get a book, sit down, read, and behave yourselves The influence of th is particular EDEPs


68 approach to reading and reading response upon child ren is worthy of a separate study; however, I only note these circumstances here for situational understanding. According to the director, the school library closed when EDEP began, so the children could not check out books during EDEP. The director could check out five books per week on her library card, but she refused for fear that the books would inadvert ently leave EDEP and never return. At the conclusion of this study, I wrote and obtained a $2,00 0 grant to initiate a multicultural lending library and in-house reading program and worked with the director and the children to determine what were the most desi red books. This grant enabled the director to purchase almost two hundred culturally and aca demically diverse books for EDEP after my departure from the site. Throughout the study, racial and community tens ions permeated the atmosphere at EDEP and the surrounding neighborhoods. Meadowlawn Elementary and EDEP were sometimes placed under lockdown because of external circ umstances. At times local law enforcement bordered the school when neighborhood or the aff iliated high school rivalries extended into the school, resulting in younger relatives verbally an d physically defending their siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles. A sheriff deputy who was al so a member of the immediate community would speak monthly on topics including anger manage ment, sexual impropriety, drugs, and what life in jail was like. According to the director, th e male youth were typically the targeted audience for these talks, although female youth were also in attendance. From December 2005 until the beginning of June 2006, I visited the EDEP site two to three times a week for an average of 2.75 hours per visit. The only exception occurred during the initial and final book fairs. Because of the st ructure and duration of the book fairs, I had to visit the EDEP site each day of the school week. During my typical weekly visitations there were


69 numerous occurrences of tension between ch ildren that went beyond everyday disagreements between unique individuals. They would commonly refuse to talk to or play with each other because their peers are not my people. Verbal arguments ensued when children appropriated particular linguistic and cultural styles outside of their own cultural discourse and were told by their peers to stop acting White or Black an d to do your own dances or sing your own songs cause you aint never gonna be like me/us. I continually reorganized how I interviewed and interacted with the girls in this study as a result of those tensions. Selection of Participants W hile researchers formally identify those who have participated in the study as participants, I believe that th e term participants conveys an aura of distance from the researcher and implies a sense of rigorous objec tivity which does not exist within the subjective realm of qualitative research. This study was i ndeed subjective and personal for it involved people and their thoughts and experiences as reif ied through language. The relationships formed within this study compel me to use a more informal term when discus sing the participants collectively. This term was also commonly used by the participants when referring to themselves as a group: the girls. Therefore, girls, whil e more casual than parti cipants, more accurately refers to those who invested eight months of their lives to this study a nd is used in place of participants. While volunteering at the EDEP site in D ecember approximately 20 girls aged 9-11 were eligible for this study. However, when I receiv ed IRB approval, only 12 of those girls still attended EDEP. Of those 12 girls, eight racially -diverse girls aged 9-12 were selected using criterion sampling (LeCompte & Priessle, 1993 ), also known as purposive sampling (Patton, 1990). These girls were school-ident ified as struggling readers and regularly attended EDEP. Again, two of the criteria used to determine a struggling reader were: 1) eligibility for free-


70 reduced meals and 2) exhibition of a below average performance on the individuals reading comprehension portion of her most recent statewid e reading assessment. The local school board provided the statistical data needed for sampling and a school official confirmed that the girls were still considered to be str uggling academically in reading. Administration of McKenna and Kears (1990 ) Elementary Reading Attitude Survey (ERAS), a validated 20-question survey of elemen tary school-aged childrens attitudes towards in-school and out-of-school reading reduced the eligibility to eight girls. For the ERAS, the girls circled the Garfield facial expression that best represented how they felt about a particular aspect of reading that was simply and briefly descri bed in each question. The expressions were on a four-point Likert scale of emotions: very happy, a little happy, a little up set, and very upset. To ensure understanding, I read they survey aloud to each girl as she followed along. I then documented any of the girls utterances whil e they were completing the survey for informal comparisons to their survey respons es. Those who scored below the 50th percentile overall were considered to be disengaged with or harbored less positive attitudes towards reading. Even though the majority of girls initia lly vocalized to me their disd ain for reading prior to knowing about the study, the ERAS survey provided confir ming evidence for some of them. For others, it revealed they were engaged in reading but th eir performance on reading assessments did not mirror that engagement. It is important to state that I could not automatically assume that the potential girls economic status indicated a lack of accessible reading material. However, I was influenced by research which indicated that within the bounda ries of socioeconomic status (SES), great disparities exist between what amount and variet y of reading materials ar e available within high SES and low SES communities (Neuman & Ce lano, 2001; Smith, Constantino, & Krashen,


71 1997). When comparing impoverished and suburban communities in the northeast U.S., Neuman and Celano (2001) discovered the ratio of read ing material to people situated in some impoverished communities was 1:300. In more afflue nt settings the ratio was 1:3. In the low SES communities, public institutions (e.g. school and pub lic libraries) served as the primary, if not sole resource for reading materials. Clearly in these settings, ones income status determined availability of and access to reading material. Additionally, I could no t equate a school-defined str uggling reader as someone who doesnt like to read. A scholastic label of str uggling reader may not di minish the individuals will and pleasure of reading outside of the clas sroom. However, contemporary reading research cannot be discounted. Based on numerous studies w ithin the past two decades, Stanovich (2000) determined that proficient readers are allotte d more opportunities to read in school and less proficient readers are provided fewer opportunities to read in school. Duke (2000) and McGillFranzen and Allingtons (1993) de terminations that the more one struggles with something, the less likely s/he chooses to do that activity and th e less like s/he will enjoy such activities bolsters Stanovichs conclusions. Donahue and his colleagues (2001) conc lusion that successful readers read more than unsuccessful readers provides ad ditional support for the assumption that low SES children who are identified in sc hools as struggling readers are potentially individuals that not only have minimal opportunities to read but ar e also reluctant to read, depending on their struggles. Therefore my criteria for this st udy were low SES children who have limited to no access to reading material outside of school, who have scored below the minimum standard on a high-stakes standardized reading assessment, and/or those who have expressed extreme dislike of reading through the ERAS survey.


72 The number and age of the girls in this study are particularly well suited for qualitative research that involves in dividuals articulations of previous and current experiences. In order to ensure rich or thick investig ations of individuals conceptions and experiences, qualitative researchers such as Boyd (2001) recommend between two and ten participants depending on the scope of the study, when one reaches saturation, or when no new data can be made from the participants offerings (Creswell, 1998, p.65, 113). Additionally, Downen (1972) and Kortesluoma, Hentinen, and Nikkonen (2003) indi cate children between the ages of 8 and 12 better articulate th eir experiences and rationales for book selections than younger children. Participants nestled within the tween stage (a ges 9-12), the cusp of adolescence, are located within the temporal periphery of when their peers opinions often dictate their reading selections, among other social and academic decisions (Guthr ie & Anderson, 1999). Therefore, the girls in this study appear to be optimal given the foci of this study: to expl ore and understand girls conceptions of and experiences with books selected for personal use. Additional trends which support my focus upon tweens include the existence of the fourth-grade slump (Chall, Jacobs, & Baldwin, 1990), the grade of most 10 and 11-year-olds, and the rapid decrease in childrens expressed engagement in recreational reading as they mature (McKenna et al, 1995). Participant Overview As previously stated, eight girls initially participated in the st udy. Midway through the study, one ten-year-old girl m oved away and another nine-year-old girls guardian withdrew her from the study stating her niece didnt need to mess with fool ishness called reading. Another girl moved to Meadowlawn and joined midway into the study. These seven girls created the girls club a term the girls created and used to distinguish themselves from others at EDEP, even when they were not getting along.


73 Table 3-2 is a generalized composite of the girls, based on demogra phic data provided by the county school board and the results of the ERAS. Each girl has a pseudonym to ensure anonymity. For their ethnic identif ication, I use descriptors such as Black and White instead of the census descriptors of African-American a nd European-American because the girls used Black and White to identify themselves and others on numerous occasions when talking about themselves, others, or the books. I have identified Candy as both White and Native American because her grandmother mentioned her Native Am erican heritage to me on more than one occasion. Candy, on the other hand, did not want to be identified as being Native American. Table 3-2. Demographic composite of the seven girls Girl Ethnicity SES status Age Grade FCAT score Overall ERAS percentile Jaime Black Reduced 11 5 3 10 Alice Black Reduced 11 5 2 13 Morgan White Reduced 11 5 2 79 Jackie Black Free 11 5 2 26 Chris Black Free 11 5 1 46 Candy White/ Native American Free 10 4 2 9 Alondra White Reduced 10 4 2 72 Biographical Sketches of the Girls JAIME possesses a sense of m aturity and life vision one would expect from an older individual. While quite shy in large groups, she often stood out as a role model for her peers. When she talked, people listened, even if they were in disagreement. Her combination of sharp wit and intellect, accompanied by he r ability to culturally code-switch between her academic and social worlds, would appear to make her very popular in school. However, Jaime often shied away from her peers and many social activit ies unless specifically invited. Her self-


74 consciousness about her physical self greatly cont ributed to her shyness and aversion to social events. Jaime aspires to be a singer or forensic investigator and considers books and reading to be the most awful thing anybody can do. To Jaime, books trick people but its something she has to do if she is going to make it in school. Her mother, who had recently earned an associate degree, stressed that Jaime must go to college and that the be st way to prepare for college is reading and academically succeeding in school. Her mother also stressed to me that Jaime is and probably will be the only reader in the family. While her grandmother emphasizes pleasure and academic reading, her mother, sister and brother adamantly stated they are not readers. To Jaime, newspapers are for old people a nd such and magazines ar ent things to be read, but to be looked at. A c ouple of years ago, she lost a lo t of books in a house fire and currently obtains books from the public library on occasion or from her math teacher at school. Jaime and her family have a lot of family games around the house. They love to figure out mysteries or play who-done-it games. Her memo ries of positive reading experiences focus on 2nd or 3rd grade where she could draw what she hear d or read while reading a book. However, she couldnt recall any positi ve experiences after 3rd grade. ALICE immerses herself in basketball, music, and friendships. Rarely does a day go by when Alice is not singing or rappin while showing someone ne w dance moves. Her insatiable energy extends into her extracurricular activit ies, where each weeknight she has basketball practice, piano lessons, confirmation classes, or she babysits her sister or cousins. On the weekends, she gets a break and visits her aunt. She loves maki ng lists of friends names, phone numbers, song lyrics, and poetry. Living with her mo ther, grandfather, sister, and brother, Alice


75 indicated she often bears the res ponsibility of ensuring her siblings are prepared to academically succeed and takes that responsibility seriously. According to Alice, her mothers books and her grandfathers newspa pers are the primary reading materials in her home. Sh e indicated her mother loves to read but for Alice reading is a way to get out of chores becau se I pretend I dont hear them calling my name, like Im really into the book or somethin. Because of their restri cted privileges at the public library, Alice and her mother visit Books-a-Million and rent book s. They purchase books for Alices mother and return those her mother doesnt enjoy. Wh ile Alice accompanies her mother, she doesnt purchase any books. She looks at the magazines while her mother shops for books. Alice appears to be extremely conscientious about race relations and language differences in society. She often spoke of incidents or opini ons from a racial sta ndpoint, indicating that particular thoughts, words, and actions were more Black than White and vice versa. She also altered her discourse to more st andardized English at times duri ng her audiotaped sessions and reverted to what she referred to as our langua ge when not recorded. She viewed reading as something you have to do to succeed, but si nce her graduation wasnt dependent on passing the annual reading assessment, reading doe snt matter that much anymore. MORGAN, a fraternal twin and the youngest of three siblings, is what she and other girls consider to be a girly-girl. She loves pink, He llo Kitty, wears the latest clothing trends, and loves to do arts and crafts. She is typically optimistic and humorous when in social settings. However, after her parents recent divorce, Mo rgan craved much individual attention and someone to talk with about life. At school and EDEP, she often got into verbal arguments with other girls in the study, which became frustrating for everyone. Morgan attributed her


76 disconnect with the other girls to cultural differences and often re quested that I spend time with either her and Alondra or just her. Academically speaking, Morgan fares well in most subjects, with the exception of reading. Comprehension, vocabulary, and fluenc y prove problematic for Morgan and she becomes easily frustrated. Morgan feels confli cted. People ask her to read books that are too difficult for her and are about to pics old people would like, but she thinks she should be reading those books, especially since her mother us ed to work at the lib rary. She loves books like the Captain Underpants series or anything that is funny. She says that because she tries so hard in reading, her teacher will pass her. JACKIE is what her teacher considers to be a delight but also a force to be reckoned with. Extremely articulate and pe rsonable, Jackie is often identified as a born leader if she doesnt stray off the tight-rope wire to success. Because of her quick temper and sharp tongue, she often engages in arguments with others and is sometimes suspended from school or EDEP. Jackie loves music, stepping, and cheering and is constantly on the move. Like Alice, she was often heard singing and steppi ng while studying or interac ting with her peers. Living with her grandmother, two cousins, br other, and baby sister, resources and living space are tight. Jackie is often the caretaker of her baby sister or younger relatives while her grandmother works. She often talk s about speaking to or wanting to visit her mother and father in jail. Her grandmother, who expressed regret for not attending college, emphasizes academic success and reading; however, the reading materi als in the home consist of bills and notices. Jackie does well in school, but sa ys that if she had books that sh e could really like, then shed read better.


77 Jackies grandmother checks out books fo r her because, according to Jackie, her grandmother doesnt trust her. Jackie loves the Mary-Kate and Ashley series books because they talk about girls and stuff they like to do, li ke talk on the phone and stuff. Her time spent at the library involves playing computer games or looking at the Disney Channel website. According to Jackie, she and her family like to play monopoly and other family games, but no one really reads unless it is for school. Her last favorable memories of reading were in Kindergarten and 1st grade, when she read with her fr iends. She loves to get poetry books by poets like Shel Silverstein but thinks that sh es not good at doing poems that rhyme. Im kinda better at thoughts and feelings. CHRIS considers herself to be alone amongst her community of peers. Extremely shy and physically maturing earlier than other girls, she feels pressure from ol der children, especially males, to act different from how she wants to act. She is also teased at school because of her physical maturation and her current economic situa tion. Her familys financial hardship was selfevident to her peers. She is often silent in school and only speaks when she feels she has to. Chris shares household and caretaker responsibilities with her aunt who also cares for her older sister and three younger cousins. Her interests included hip-hop, rap, and crunk music, watching shows on the BET (Black Entertainment Televisi on), MTV (Music Televi sion), and Nickelodeon channels, making friends, and drawing pictures. Academically speaking, Chris has difficulty with most elements of reading, such as phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency, and readi ng comprehension, and tells me she acts out to get out of reading. When she does act out, she is sent to the schools special education classroom. Like Alice, she feels the pressing need to read no longer exists because she cant be retained for failing her fifthgrade reading assessment.


78 CANDY arrived midway into the study. A pr ofessed lover of reading when she was younger, Candy is learning to dislike reading more and more at this sc hool. Upon arriving at Meadowlawn Elementary, Candy made valiant attemp ts to gain friends quickly and felt she was often bullied at school because she was White. Her reoccurring illness often sent her to the hospital for treatments, and custody disputes between her parents prevented her from remaining at one school for an extended period of time. Bo th of those circumstances contributed to her difficulty making friends. After Candys father was incarcerated a nd her mother left the area to avoid an arrest warrant, Candys grandmother gained temporary custody of Candy and her older sister, which led to more stability and her abilit y to participate in the study. Candy loves to talk and to share her thoughts with others, and has recently found God. She also expresses an insatiable amount of curiosity about the world a nd how to successfully live in it. Candy loves adventurous books but says she refuses to remember books if they are boring. ALONDRA was born deaf, but at a young age received cochlear implants. She often speaks and uses American Sign Language simultane ously. Living with her little sister and both parents, Alondra loves animals and wants to be a veterinarian in the future. She has a passion for art, enjoys brainstorming ideas for new inven tions, and enjoys playing video games with her father. She describes her relations hip with her mother as kinda sad and hard but has a good relationship with her father. Bo th she and her younger sister ar e occasionally absent from school because they embark on family trips to experien ce different places and events that they would be unable to experience while in school. Alondra works to improve her reading comprehension. While Alondra was initially excited to par ticipate in this stud y, approximately two months into the study she asked if she could keep her participation a secret After she began borrowing books, more people indicated they wanted to be her friend. She wasnt sure if she was


79 gaining new friends because they liked her or because they liked and wanted the books she was borrowing. Because of this uncertainty, she wanted to pretend to not be a part of the study. Her request was honored; however, time spent with her was less than the other girls because of the difficulty of spending individual time with her in front of the other girls and EDEP children. Developing Rapport When I first approached the girls as a volunt eer I told them I wa s looking to hang out with girls their age to better understand what they like and dislik e. I also told them I wanted to get to know them and see if we would get along b ecause in the near future I wanted to do a study about girls and books. The girls were eager to inte ract; however, when any mention of reading or books arose during my first month of volunteeri ng, they adeptly chan ged the subject after proclaiming their dislike of reading and books, especially reading in school. During my initial interactions with the girls, we both re alized I didnt fully understand their conversations. The girls as ked me if I wanted to create a notebook to write down all the new words I heard and the movies or songs they like to listen to. I agreed and created a notebook, which they entitled Girls Club Notebook. Three girls in partic ular, Jackie, Alice, and Chris, ensured I wrote down words like psy chabooda, fye grillin or roastin and home skillet biscuit, as well as created a great est hits list that included songs by Ciara, NeYo, Pretty Ricky, T-Pain, and the Franchize Boyz. My sociolinguistic education tapered off as I became more familiar with the terms. Much to their amusement, I was never able to pronounce those words correctly. No matter how I said it, the girls laughed and told me it was OK to use your words. Just know what we mean when we use our words. I was concerned that my racial identity as a White person would negatively influence Alice, Chris, Jackie, and Jaimes narratives, especially given the racial tensions present at the school and in the community. At the beginning, those four girls in cluded the word White as an


80 identifier when they talked about their everyday experiences with each other and me. After one girl uttered the word White, another would nudge her or gestur e toward me and an apology of Whoops! My bad, sorry bout that would ensue. After the first instance I discussed the use of White and Black as identifiers with them and st ated why their use of those words didnt bother me, especially if that was how they typically spok e. I also used the word White as a descriptor in my speech with them. The apologies were less frequent as the study continued and ceased in March. By March I felt I had developed not only rapport but also acceptance when Alice introduced me to her friend saying S hes cool. Shes White, but not White White. Throughout the study the girls re ferred to me as their friend, mentor, tutor, buddy, and somebody who cares. They also fluctuated between Miss Jennifer, Jennifer and Miss J depending on the activity and situati on. They typically referred to me as Miss Jennifer when they spoke to their guardians or when they wanted to get my attention; however, I became Miss J or Jennifer when we were amongst ourselves. They also felt compelled to tell me when my hair needed to be done up, and suggested I use makeup their mothers or aunties used to make me look younger. These labels and conve rsation topics indicated the level of rapport and situated pos itions I held throughout the study. Many of the girls parents or guardians st ruck up conversations with me when they picked up their children. During these conversations, they vo lunteered information about the girls academic performance in school and rela yed what they noticed the girls doing at home with the books. They also inquired about why I didnt include particular award-winning books and where I found such beautiful books that the school dont seem to have. I often took Chris and Jackie home after EDEP and was invited to many of the girls homes for meals or to hang


81 out for awhile and relax. All of these events si gnaled a level of rapport that contributed to the trustworthiness of the study. The Study This eight-month study, which occurred between Janua ry and August 2006, had three distinct phases. Both the Pre-Study phase and the three phases of the study are outlined in Table 3.3. A brief description of the study s three phases follows the table. I discuss in detail how the books were selected for the study and the book fair process in Chapter 4. Table 3-3. Study timeline Pre-Study Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Dec. 2005 Jan.Feb. 2006 March-June 2006 June-Aug. 2006 Rapport building (Cont'd. in Phase 1) Participant selection Initial book fair Home visits Site viability Book selections for study B ook borrowings Final interview Initial interviews (Cont'd. in March) On-going interviews ERAS (survey) Final book fair Observations of and interactions with the girls occurred throughout the study. The first phase (Jan.-Feb.) included identif ying girls for the study and continuing to establish rapport with those girls. The girls and I collabo rated on a list of approximately 150 desired books for the initial book fair, and the girl s participated in semi-structured interviews concerning their reading historie s, previous book experiences, and their conceptions of reading. We also completed homework, chatted, and particip ated in various outdoor and indoor activities such as playing four-square, drawing, and playing cards. During the second phase (March-June) the girls participated in an initial book fair where they selected up to 15 books they were individu ally interested in. Af ter selecting those books, each girl individually spoke with me about her rationales for thos e books. The girls also


82 borrowed books, participated in on-going, open-ended interviews or spontaneous conversations regarding reading and books during this time The open-ended interviews differed from spontaneous conversations in that for the interv iews, I initiated the dial ogue, whereas the girls initiated dialogue for the spontane ous conversations. In May, the gi rls participated in a final book fair where they selected up to 15 books they wa nted to keep and subsequently explained why they desired those particular books They received thei r books during the last week of school in June. The girls attitudes towards books and reading significantly affected activities, events, and conversational opport unities during Phase 2. When I visi ted the EDEP site, the EDEP director considered me the unofficial group leader of the girls. This meant the girls were to remain with me unless other arrangements were ma de for them to participate in other activities or interact with other children at EDEP. However, as mentioned earlier, tensions between the girls necessitated the reorganization of which gi rls I interacted with on what day. Therefore I created a visitation schedule with the EDEP director and the girls which indicated on what days particular groups or pairings of girls would hang out with me Table 3-4 provides the basic visitation schedule and the activities we participated in during my vi sits. This schedule served as a reference guide and was very flexible. Absent eeism, early pick-up by guardians or family members, the girls desire to congregate with their peers who were not involved in this study, and their requests for personal one-on-one time w ith me routinely altered the schedule. Despite establishing designated days of interaction, wi th each group of girls, I greeted and briefly chatted with all of the girls when I arrived at EDEP and individually said goodbye to all of the girls as they or I departed.


83 Table 3-4. Overview of weekly Extended Day En richment Program (EDEP) visitation schedule and activities with girls Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Jaime, Alice, Jackie (collectively or individually) Chris and Candy (collectively or individually) Alondra and Morga n (collectively or individually) 2:30-3:15pm Played various sports and games outside (e.g. cheering, stepping, foursquare, playing tennis, cards or board games, taking walks and talking). 3:15-4:00pm Completed content area homework and reading response homework, participated in the mandatory 20-minut e sustained silent reading (SSR), looked at and exchanged books in the study in the computer room 4:00-5:00pm Looked at and exchanged books in the study in the computer room or my car, talked about the girls' books or reading experiences outside, in a quiet area of the cafeteria, in the computer room or the behavioral management classroom. Conversations about the girls' lives also occurred during this time. 5:00-5:30pm Continued interviews and conversat ions, played cards, and helped clean up the EDEP site if still present at EDEP. As indicated Table 3-4, the girls typically borrowed books an d engaged in some form of dialogue within the two-hour timeframe (3:155:30pm), with the latte r hour (4:00-5:00pm) designated specifically for the purposes of the study. However, sometimes the girls would begin speaking about books or their read ing experiences while playing s ports or other games outside. Jackie even created a step routine about her read ing experiences. Most of the girls left between 5:00 and 5:30pm. Between 3:15-4:00pm, the girls would often as k me for assistance w ith their math and social studies homework. If one of the girls wanted to read with me dur ing SSR, we would move to the computer room or on the stage in the cafe teria and read the book toge ther, alternating turns based on a particular number of pages. I typically read twice as much as the girls. Other times, the girls independently and collec tively requested I read aloud to them. On a couple of occasions in April and May, Jaime and Chris said they used two of the read-aloud sessions for their reading


84 response homework. Depending on the day, thos e read-aloud sessions comprised both the aesthetic and efferent reading st ances. Sometimes the girls li stened and commented on the book; other times we talked about the vocabulary and plot sequences. Because these types of experiences were beyond the scope of my study and because I wanted to ensure the girls understood my genuine interest a nd concern for them beyond the purposes of the study, I did not audiotape any of these experien ces. I did, however, summarize these experiences in my field notes for documentation purposes only. Because many of the other EDEP children wanted to look at the books, the girls had to borrow and return their books in as much of a priv ate setting as possible. Therefore, we used an empty computer room which adjoined the cafeteria or the empty behavi oral management room. The trunk of my car became a third location for bo ok exchanges. The use of my car is explained in more detail in Chapter 4. The girls dislike of reading and, at times, books contributed to the infrequent occasions to discuss their book inte ractions or experiences. Instead we talked about their lives, their interests, popular musicians, actors, and the late st gossip about celebrities. Some girls also asked questions about how to act around boys, how to te ll them no, and other questions related to their emerging adolescent selves. Books were not n ecessarily at the top of their must discuss list! Given the girls prior and current experi ences with reading and books at school, I initiated interviews every couple of weeks. The frequency and details of their on-going interviews are detailed later in this chapter. I did audiotape the girls when they initiated conversations with me about their reading e xperiences. As the study progressed, the girls initiated more conversations with me a bout reading or their book experiences.


85 The third phase (July-Sept.) included my ad ministration of the ERAS and final semistructured interviews with th e girls about their book experi ences over the summer and their overall experiences as a participant in this study. This phase was added to the study because most of the girls or their guardians asked if I could visit them over the summer and because particular data collected duri ng the school year raised additional questions about their book experiences. Collecting data when school was not in session helped clarify some lingering questions. Unfortunately Alondra relocated dur ing the summer, and I was unable to conduct a final interview with her. Data Collection Multip le data sources collected in this study reflect my desire to understand the girls conceptions and experiences from multiple vant age points or horizons. Just as teachers use multiple methods to better understand how th eir students are concep tualizing the knowledge included in their lessons and to better understa nd their students on academic and personal levels, so too do researchers employ multiple data source s to ensure more comprehensive and salient understanding occurs. Each da ta source included below assi sts the development of my understanding of why the girls se lected particular books, their experiences with these books, and the influences of the books and school practic es on their conceptions of reading and books. Data Sources I gathe red multiple data sources to develop a more holistic understanding of the relationships between children, books, and reading. Table 3-5 provides an overview of the data sources, the frequency of collecti on, and if they were included in the analyses. More detailed descriptions of the data sources analyzed and an explanation of why other data sources were omitted from the analysis follow Table 3-5.


86Table 3-5. Data sources used Data source Purpose When collected Frequency Used in analysis Interviews Semi-structured initial and final interviews (4590 min. / 20-60 min.) Learn about each girl's reading history and her conceptions of reading. Beginning and end of the study 2 per individual Yes Open-ended book selection interviews (1545 min.) Learn about each girl's rationales behind their book selections. Beginning and end of the study 2 per individual Yes Open-ended, on-going book experience interviews (10-30 min.) Learn about each girl's experiences with her selected books. Throughout the study 3-5 per individual Yes Researcher's documents Researcher's field notes Document each girl's behaviors and thoughts that were not audiotaped. Serves as an audit trail. Throughout the study Weekly Yes Researcher's reflective journal Reflect and evaluate preunderstandings; contemplate new understandings after each EDEP visit. Serves as an audit trail. Throughout the study Weekly Yes


87Table 3-5. Continued Data source Purpose When collected Frequency Used in analysis Artifacts Book selection lists Document what books the girls initially and finally selected. Beginning and end of the study 2 per individual No Individual book logs Register each girl's borrowed books and her evaluation of the books. Throughout the study Weekly No ERAS Initially used as a tool for participant selection. Provided additional data regarding each girl's reading attitude towards reading at the study's beginning and end. Beginning and end of the study 2 per individual No


88 Not all sources were used in the analysis. I did not include three types of artifacts in the data analyses: the girls book se lection lists, books logs, and artistic documents. I used the book selection lists only to order each girls select ed books and verify the books mentioned during each interview. I omitted book logs and artistic doc umentation from the analyses because almost every girl stated she thought th e book logs and artistic documents were representative of schoolbased practices, which is why the girls did not routinely engage in the ar tistic endeavors and why they documented what they thought I wanted to see or read, not necessarily what they truly believed. Therefore I could not rely on these docum ents as indications of their true thoughts and opinions and omitted them from the analysis. Qualitative Interviews Because lan guage serves as an intersubjectiv e activity that brings speakers together (Teigas, 1995, p.145), interviews were a primary da ta source. Interviews enabled the girls to articulate and understand core components or issues of any given experience from an individuals unique perspective (Kvale, 1996). Add itionally, interviews were integral to this particular study because no one can truly dete rmine the reading expe rience itself. Because reading is an internal experience, one must, at best, attempt to ascer tain an individuals experience, or consciousness of readi ng, through language. Since peoples words are microcosms of [their] consciousness (Seidm an, 1998, p.1), language is the only avenue to access that consciousness. Interviewing children Because the girls were y ounger children and I was an adult, I t ook into consideration numerous factors when envisioning and enacting the interview process. Open-ended interviews (Kvale, 1996) seemed optimal for this study. They involve a single intro ductory statement and question by the researcher. The ope n-ended nature of this type of interview is conversational and


89 allows the interviewee to control and navi gate the discussion. Additionally, open-ended questions are often short and descriptive to bette r ensure long, detailed descriptions of the experience (deMarrais, 2004, p.56). This type of discussion minimizes the tendency for the interviewees to seek ou t what the researchers are looking for and allows for a richer vocalization of the lived experience. Like many adults, children appear to provide more meaningful answers when engaged in an open-ended interview (Hughes, 1989). Additionally, my position as an adult, especially an adult that used to be a teacher, potentially conveyed a se nse of status and power to the girls. This potential status might have minimized the girl s willingness to say things they might have thought were unacceptable to me (Hill, 2005). Additio nally, interviewees usually anticipate what the researcher is looking for (Foddy, 1994) or wish to respond with the right answer. Having open-ended interviews increases the possibility of individuals personal opinions, rather than socially or politically correct answers. Keeping children engaged in interviews is also important. No matter how interesting the topic or the type of interview, children tend to become restless when conversing in an interview setting for longer than 20 minutes The availability of artifacts te nds to help children feel less restricted, become more engaged in the topic at hand, and tends to enrich their conversations (Greene & Hill, 2005). Therefore artifacts such as the photos ta ken by the girls and the books selected by the girls were included in many of the interviews. Throughout the interview pro cess I continually consider ed the childrens horizons: thinking about the childs point of view, looki ng for their feelings, a nd listening to what they say (Hill, Laybourn, & Borland, 1996, p.142). I t ook notes on these observations throughout the interview and integrated these observations into th e transcripts when necessary. I also engaged in


90 non-verbal interview behavior, such as main taining eye contact and nodding my head, which indicated genuine interest (Spr adley, 1979). Verbal behavior such as affirmatives (e.g. uh hunhs, ummms, I see) conveyed my attentiveness and willingness to listen rather than interrogate. I asked follow-up questions, or probes (deMarrais 2004; Kvale, 1996), which helped clarify and deepen my understanding of the girls descri ptions. Probing also became a part of memberchecking, a method used to help establish the tr ustworthiness of the data. The aforementioned interview guidelines and the foci of my research questions helped me shape the types of interviews conducted. Two different types of interviews (Bogden, 1998) for three different purposes occurred throughout the study. I digitally recorded each interview and uploaded them onto my computer for subsequent transcription. The inte rview protocols, organized by type and purpose, are found in Appendix C. Interview authenticity I tran scribed each girls collection of six to nine interviews using Silvermans (1997) transcription conventions to ensure the highest degree of accuracy (Kvale, 1996). The transcriptions were of each girls verbatim ta lk and included repetitions, self-corrections, and hesitancy markers, among other speech elements. The transcription legend can be found in Appendix D. In order to ensure reliability of my tr anscription process, especially in regard to the written representation of Afri can-American Vernacular English (AAVE) used by some of the girls, I asked an African-American colleague to li sten to some of the audio files and read my transcripts to ensure accuracy in the documenta tion of AAVE. Some of the girls were also interested in seeing their words in print, so I shar ed the transcripts with them and asked them if it sounded like them or sounded right. Most girls said that the transcri pts were fine; however, some corrected my spelling for some slang words or AAVE terminology.


91 Types of Interviews Conducted Initial and final semi-structured individual interviews W ith the exception of Candy, each girl partic ipated in one individual interview at the beginning of the study and one individual interv iew at the end. Candys initial interview occurred in April, when she joined the study. Thes e interviews were the most structured interviews because I sought historical informati on and the girls initial conceptions of reading and books in the first interview and their concl uding conceptions about reading and books during the last interview. The initial interviews, which lasted 45-90 mi nutes, took place in a private location, such as the computer room, at EDEP. While these interview durations seem quite lengthy for girls aged 9-12, the interview was not a typical face-to -face interview. Because the girls attention spans ebbed and flowed throughout the interview, we took energizing breaks throughout the process. We practiced cheerleading, walked around the playground, typed out codes on the computer, or engaged in art activities for 5-10 mi nute intervals and then resumed the interview. The girls, from the onset, clearly negotiated the processes for these particular interviews and enjoyed intermingling activities with the interviews. When they told me they felt they had talked enough, which indicated a saturati on point, we stopped the intervie w. The final interviews ranged 20-60 minutes and reflected more typica l seated, face-to-face interview settings; however, these interviews were conducted in each girls home or another location outside of school suggested by each girl. Book selection open-ende d individual interview s With the exception of Candy, who joined the study in April, each girl participated in one initial and one final book selecti on interview that occurred immediately after she par ticipated in a book fair. Because the girls were already borrowi ng books in April, Candy did not have equal


92 access to the entire offering of books. Therefore, when Candy joined the study, she immediately began borrowing from the selection of books av ailable and participated in only one book selection interview in May. These individual inte rviews, which lasted 15-45 minutes, were more conversational in tone and included two guidi ng questions What book did you pick? and Why did you pick that book? for the 15 selected books. Given the repetitive na ture of the questions, many girls quickly took the lead of the interview. During the interviews the girls often interacted with their selected books. Some of the girls became immersed in the book that they had selected and forgot they were speaking with me. On those occasions I took notes and after a few minutes asked them what in the book had caught their attention. The immediacy of the books also enabled the girls to show me what they were referring to as they were talking about their reasons behind selecting this book. I also took no tes of the books features and page numbers which then accompanied the transcript of the audio file. In between the initial and fi nal book fairs the girls had th e opportunity to borrow any books in the study. While some girls borrowed th e same books they had selected during the initial book fair, others borrowed different books Because the girls could borrow books at any time without my being present, I was unable to ask many why they selected different books within the immediacy of the se lection during the three months of borrowing. Any stated rationales after the immediacy of the event could have been po tentially intertwined with the girls thoughts after they had r ead or interacted with their bo oks. The time gap between the girls borrowing books and their on-going interviews ab out their experiences with the books mitigated the possibility of accurate recollections of why they selected the books in the first place. Therefore I did not often ask the girls why they chose books which differed from their original


93 selection of books. However, if the girls mentione d in their final intervie ws why they selected particular books to borrow without solicitation, I included their st atements in the analysis. On-going, open-ended individual interviews and spontaneous conversations Over a perio d of three months, each girl e ngaged in three-to-five on-going, open-ended individual interviews regardi ng her experiences with the books she currently possessed. These individual interviews lasted 1030 minutes depending on the quantit y of books selected, the girls desire to talk about the selected books she had selected, and the numbe r of books of which she spoke. During these interviews some of the girls used their digital photos or artwork related to the books they checked out as conduits for convers ation. The use of digital cameras is discussed in more detail later in this chapter. Table 36 provides an overview of the frequency of each girls on-going interviews. Table 3-6. Frequency of ongoing interviews per girl Girl March April May/June Total on-going interviews Alice 1 2 0 3 Alondra 0 2 1 3 Candy 0 1 3 4 Chris 0 1 2 3 Jackie 1 3 1 5 Jaime 1 2 1 4 Morgan 2 1 1 4 I originally initiated the on-going interviews with each girl. I waited a couple of weeks after the girls began borrowing the books to begin conducting on-going interviews to allow ample time for the girls to potenti ally interact with the books and to reduce the resemblance of interviews to school-based activities where the gi rls had to read and answer questions about the books. The interviews often occurred after I played games with the girls or helped them with their homework.


94 Over time, a couple of girls, such as Jackie and Candy, began initiating conversations with me by asking questions such as You wa nna know about these books Ive got? They even turned the tables after they were done talk ing about their book experiences and wanted to know what I thought about their selected books. Ho wever, many of the girls, such as Chris and Jaime, stated they wanted to be left alone wi th the books, which resulted in less frequent and shorter interviews. Additionally, when the girls teachers began assigning them novels to read at home, the girls did not interact with or read their selected book s from the study as much. This development also reduced the number of interviews with the girls. Conduits for the Interview Process Because the girls em phatically stated their dislik e of reading and/or books, I anticipated some degree of apathy or resistance towards conversing with me a bout books and reading. Additionally, I was unsure how many of the girls preferred or al discourse over written discourse as well as their levels of experience and fa miliarity with discussing books or engaging in reflective practice. I ther efore offered the girls th ree alternatives to tr aditional face-to-face ongoing interviews about their book ex periences. These alternatives potentially fostered a more enjoyable experience; elicited personal recoll ections more readily then relying solely on memory; captured the immediacy of the book and/ or reading experiences throughout the week; allowed me to view their experiences through thei r eyes; and enabled the gi rls to not only lead the interviews but develop rich dialogue. These options were a udio-based documentation, artistic responses, and visual documentation. Audio-based documentation This alternative, sim ilar to think-aloud pr otocols (Pressley & Affl erbach, 1995; Wilhelm, 2001), allowed each girl to verba lize her thoughts within the immediacy of the act and capture those thoughts on a digital recorder. Because I didnt want the girls to consider the interviews as


95 interrogations and because I was ab le to only visit the EDEP site two-to-three times a week, there would be large gaps of tim e in-between our conversations or interviews. This method of data collection minimizes the girls need to recall events that occurred over a week ago. It also better enables rich details a bout their book and reading experi ences to materialize more organically than a face-to-face inte rview (Alton-Lee & Nuthall, 1993). Artistic responses Responses to books through artistic lenses (e.g. drawing, writing, dram a, dance, etc.) embrace an aesthetic approach to reading and books (Rosenblatt, 1938/1995; 1978). As interpretations that embody multiple sign syst ems, artistic responses involve personal experiences (Albers, 1997; Bu ssert-Webb, 2001) and enable peopl e to speak without using more conventional means of e xpression: verbal and written discourse. People artistically responding to books shift between creating and re flecting, and typically engage in inquiry (Whitin, 1996). Considering the girls situated pos itions in relation to sc hool and reading, their pronounced lack of agency in readin g activities, and their love of artistic activities, I considered artistic responses an optimal a lternative to the traditional appr oaches to reader response and interviewing. Visual documentation Individu als, especially children, are becomi ng more visually oriented due to their familiarity with digital cameras, computers and video games (Supon, 2003). The allure and prevalence of visual information necessitated a renewed look at how one collects data in qualitative research, especially when conducting research with i ndividuals who were born in the Digital Age. Photographs are becoming an incr easingly viable approach to collecting data (Schwartz, 1989) as they enable people to glimpse aspects of social and psychological worlds that can be elusive (Ziller, 1990). Not only w ould taking digital photog raphs, as tools of


96 engagement and creativity, motivate individuals to document their experiences in order to share them with others in the future, it would enable them to use a language they might prefer, a semiotic language. Similar to digitally recording ones thought s and experiences, taki ng digital photos can capture an event in its immediacy, thereby reducing recollections far removed from the original event. While a picture can say a thous and words, so too can a word conjure a thousand pictures. Therefore intermingling photographs with interviews in this study not only emphasized the interviewees individual stance and interpre tation from multiple perspectives, but also furnished individuals who might experience a loss of words with a tool for enriched and animated conversations. The photographs serv ed only as springboards for conversations and were excluded from analyses. Girls Selected Alternatives Four girls in itially opted to use digital camer as, two girls opted to draw their experiences, and one girl wanted to solely converse with me. However, as the study progressed, three of the girlsone using a digital camera and two draw ing their experiencesd ecided to stop using these tools and only conversed with me. One of the girls stoppe d using a digital camera because others involved in her reading or book experiences refused to have their photos taken. The experience became frustrating rather than engaging for her. Of the two girls who wanted to draw, one of the girls stated that even though she put her art supplies in a s pecial place, her younger siblings had used all the paper I had provided he r and had broken the markers, colored pencils, and crayons I had given her. She then began usin g the digital camera; how ever, her photos were of her family and, according to her, not related to the book experiences. She opted for the digital camera because she wanted her family to have family photos. The other girl who opted to draw never brought in anything to talk from during th e interviews. Therefore by the end of the study


97 three girls used digital photos during their interv iews or spontaneous conversations and four girls relied solely on conversations. I loaned the girls their dig ital cameras and created multiple digital camera workshops days at EDEP where the girls le arned the various functions of th e digital camera and practiced taking photos. All photos taken were erased at the end of each workshop. The girls and I also brainstormed ideas on how to use a digital cam era for documentation purposes. These ideas were placed on a laminated bookmark and attached to each digital camera as a reminder for the girls. The girls were not limited to the ideas on the bookmark. The girls digital photos were for interv iew purposes only. Each week I brought a laptop computer to EDEP. When the girls brought in their cameras, we downloa ded their photos with each girl labeling her own photos. I then printed the photos to use for upcoming interviews. During the interviews the girls or ganized the photos and revealed the significance of these photos to their book experiences. Unless the girls wanted to keep their photos I destroyed them. Researchers Documents The researchers docum ents included field not es and a reflective j ournal and served as part of the studys audit trail. These document s enabled me to synthesize and postulate what transpired during my EDEP visits. They also helped ensure coherence and agreement existed among the data sources Field notes During each visit, I documented various activit ies and thoughts articulated by the girls. On some occasions the girls did not want to be audiotaped but allowed me to take notes on what was being discussed. On other occasions I was unab le to immediately record what I observed or heard. When this occurred, I privately audiotaped these circumstances in my car or in a separate room at the next possible moment and then transcribed those recolle ctions at home.


98 Reflective journal A reflective journal enabled me to continually move to and from my own prejudices and the girls perspectives. In this journal, I not only illumi nated my subjectivity but also documented my mistakes, problems, and t houghts (Lareau, 2000). Journaling required a continual and reflexive critique of how my assumptions, presuppositions, etc. might be influencing my behavior and choi ce of diction around the girls. Th is process is critical for a fusing of horizons and for new understandings to develop. Wall, Glenn, Mitchinson, and Pooles (2003) reflective journal design seemed well suited for the reflexive and reflective emphasis of th is hermeneutic study. The journal process involved three main areas of reflection. I first began jour naling my preunderstandings, my predictions for what was going to happen, my worries, and anyt hing I needed to remind myself to do while visiting the EDEP site or interv iewing. After each interview or si te visit, I revi ewed, reflected, and documented the learning processes of what I had experienced or thought had occurred. During that journaling experience, I noted modi fications and any misconc eptions I had had, as well as documented potential new understandings as a result of the intervie ws or interactions with the girls. I then considered how the new know ledge could be applied in future interviews or interactions. For example, after I had conducte d a couple of on-going interviews and reviewed the recordings I realized that I was unconsciously implying through my language that I thought the girls should be reading the books. This convin ced me to write a reminder at the top of each blank observational note page for each visit: Books Reading! Journal writing occurred throughout the data collection and analysis stages and honored Gadamers (1975) assertion that reflection w ould make new questions and help further progress (p.139). This journal not only served as an audit trail (Lincoln & Guba, 1985) but also contributed to the validity of my final interpretations.


99 Artifacts Multip le artifacts were collected during the study which assisted with the studys organization and richness of data collected. The three types of artifacts collected but excluded from the data analysis for this study are described below. Initial and final book selection lists Each girl completed two Top 15 book lists that indicated w hat books they initially thought they wanted and what they books they ultimately selected to own. These lists were used to verify and align the students book selections with their rationales. The book list template can be found in Appendix E. Book logs The girls book logs were individual folders th at contained a register of what books each girl borrowed, the date when borro wed and returned, a brief descrip tion of the type of interaction with the book, and an evaluation of the book. Due to logistical reasons, I transported the book logs to EDEP every visit. These logs were housed in a file box and were organized by each girls pseudonym. The girls acce ssed their individual folders at any time during my visits. The girls occasionally relied on their book logs to recall book titles. A template of the book log can be found in Appendix F. Elementary Reading Attitude Survey (ERAS) I used this survey as part of the sampling pro cedures to ensure the girls met the given criteria for the study. I administered the survey a second time for tria ngulation purposes and to bolster the validity and reliability of the study. Data Analysis Data analysis serves as one way of processing da ta in order to make it socially accessible (Hatch, 2002). A qualitative research study is ofte n like participating in an adventure race that

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100 requires arriving at multiple des tinations within certain time frames and without a Global Positioning System (GPS) device. One must create a systematic process of navigating the natural terrain while using specific techniques to reach each destination in th e best shape possible. Therefore, selecting or creati ng a systematic inquiry process is beneficial when conducting qualitative research. The nature of data collecte d in this study necessitated two different types of analysis: Discourse Analysis (DA) (Gee, 2005) and thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). The initial, final, and on-going interv iews were analyzed using Gees (2005) DA approach, and the book selection interviews were analyzed using Bra un and Clarkes (2006) thematic analysis approach. I did not analyze my field notes using DA because these documents included my spontaneous and indirect transcri ptions of the girls comments as well my subjective observations, queries, etc. Therefore, I analyzed the field notes thematically as a means of bolstering findings derived from us ing DA. Table 3-7 provides an overview of the analysis methods used with particular data sources. Table 3-7. Data analyses applie d to particular data sources Data source Analysis method used Initial and final semi-structured interviews Discourse Analysis (DA) Open-ended, on-going book experience interviews and spontaneous conversations Discourse Analysis (DA) Open-ended book selection interviews Thematic Analysis Field notes Thematic Analysis Rationale for Discourse Analysis Since the 1980s, the popularity of discourse an alysis has risen and is becom ing increasingly interdisciplinary (Coyle, 2000). Li nguists, psychologists, sociol ogists, and educators all have

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101 come to see the veracity of disc ourse analysis to help illustrate how meaning is constructed or conveyed through language. Generall y speaking, discourse analysis, as an analysis of language, has been an umbrella term for other analyses su ch as narrative analysis conversation analysis, linguistic analysis, and critical discourse analysis among othe rs (Potter, 2002). Each method, while immersed in the study of language, approaches the analysis from diff erent lenses. While I am using Gees (2005) approach to DA, it is important to distinguish between the multiple approaches to analyzing discourse and then i lluminate how DA aligns with the purposes and theoretical framewor k of this study. Narrative analysis investigates written and oral stories gene rated by individuals. Researchers conducting narrative analysis interpret representa tions of experiences or how protagonists interpret things (Bruner, 1990, p.51 as quoted from Reissman, 1993, p.5). Conversation analysis focuses on the meanings and contexts involved in the turn-taking nature of conversations, yet the social context is not necessarily emphasized. Lin guists utilize discourse an alysis as a method of determining how utterances or sentences unite to form particular discourses (Potter, 2002, p.144). Critical Discourse Anal ysis (CDA), as developed by Fairclough (1989), like Gees (2005) Discourse Analysis, looks at both the linguistic and social structures; however, critical discourse analysts hone in on how texts reproduce so cietal power structures and social inequity (Perkyl, 2005). Poststructur alists such as Michael Fou cault (1926-1984) also approach discourse analysis from a critical view as they investigate how statements historically evolve into subjects and objects (Perkyl, 2005). I seek to better understand the cognitive (thoughts) and socio-physic al (book selections and interactions) experiences of pa rticular individuals as articula ted through discour se. My initial concerns were not focused in the critical or group interactive aspect s of critical discourse

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102 analysis, sociolinguistic discourse analysis and conversation anal ysis. However, I was concerned with the socio-historical influe nces of the girls conceptions of reading and books. Therefore, Gees (2005) Discourse Analysis model seems to provide a good foundation to achieve this new understanding. While Gees model of discourse analysis as well as others approaches to discourse analysis are largely associated with social constructioni sm, a theoretical framework which seeks truths and how they are constructed thr ough individual and in stitutional interactions within society, I believe this approach is also complementary to the hermeneutical stance I employ for this study. Both emphasize language as a mediator for mean ing and the socio-hist orical contexts of meaning. Just as discourse analysis investigates human experiences as constituted by discourse (Gee, Michaels, OConnor, 1992), Gadamers (1975) theory of hermeneutical understanding is rooted in language and time and emphasizes language a nd conceptuality. Language, as a medium of engagement, indicates how we are in the world through being in language It is a dialogue between individuals and between individuals and society (Gadamer, 1975; Malpas, 2005) and it articulates our views of the world. The prominen ce of language in hermen eutics is akin to the small d discourse, or how language is used o n site to enact activities and identities (Gee, 2005, p.7). Language, through its ability to provid e breathing space for thought, places things and events in context where one can determine their significance (B ontekoe, 1996, p.130). It is not arbitrary, but rather carri es culture (Gadamer, 1976, p.96). The effective-historical consciousness (fusing of multiple horizons) in Gadamers hermeneutics was discussed earlier in this chapter. However, this concept serves as an important example of how Gees Discourse Analysis method can be used in a hermeneutical study. Socio-

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103 historical and sociocultural activities, whic h can be considered in tegral to Gadamers preunderstandings (consciousness) and horizons (points-of-view), he lp constitute Gees capital D/Discourse. Discourses with a capital D are the ways in which society and language intermingle. Discourses help to formulate ones identity which helps mold ones linguistic and psychosocial beha vior (Alvermann, 2000). From Ga damer (1975)s perspective, ones horizons are heavily dependent upon ones preunderstandings or prejudices, which help create ones identity. In order for understanding and progress to occur, one must reflect on how these preunderstandings (and thus horizons) were crea ted and negotiated w ithin culturally and historically situated moments. The interpreter must understand the horizon of action it does not end with probing subjective in tentions or getting inside so meones mind, but also includes investigating meaning in the social context in which it occurred (Hekman, 1986, p.148). Gees integration of both the linguistic and social components in discourse analysis seems to reflect the role of the researcher in a hermeneutic study. Rationale for Thematic Analysis Them atic analysis, a widely used analytic method, is rarely acknowledged as substantive (Boyatzis, 1998). Compatible with objectivist, subjectivist, an d constructionist frameworks, thematic analysis is widely used across diffe rent methods as a foundation for discovering or constructing meaning. Like other analytic methods that include themes such as discourse analysis, interpretive phenomenol ogical analysis, and grounded th eory, thematic analysis is a method for identifying, analyzing, an d reporting patterns in data (Bra un & Clarke, 2006). It is an inductive and interpretive proced ure that does not nece ssarily give voice to participants but takes decisive action about the salience and connective threads between participants thoughts and actions. By engaging in thematic analysis one can not onl y recognize how individuals make meaning of their experience, they also include how meaning is made within socio-historical

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104 constructs. Thus, I believe thematic analysis to be complementary to and supportive of discourse analysis. To help answer one of the research questions or this study, What rationales undergird these girls self-selections of books for personal use I conducted book selection interviews with the girls. While the interviews were open-ended, leading with Why did you decide to pick this book, many of the girls responses embodied a mo re sequential and deterministic tone than narrative tone. While some girls did converse in narrative, others li mited their talk to statements such as because I liked the cover. Even with probes, the brevity of the girls discourse challenged the possibility of creating stanzas a nd narratives used in DA, much less analyze the linguistic features. Additionally, e ach girl spoke of at least thirty books. Therefore, a thematic analysis seemed most appropriate for these part icular interviews. The themes would complement discourse analysis by detailing the broader social contexts that in fluenced the girls choices for books. Data Analysis Procedures Discourse Analysis Process All interviews except the ini tial and final book selection inte rviews were analyzed using Gees (2005) Discourse Analysis m odel. This method incorporates macro and micro levels of analysis which represent the soci al (building blocks) and linguistic structures (words, lines, and stanzas) respectively. Focusing on both enable the union of meaning and structure (Gee, 2005). After each interview was transcribed, I performed the following actions: 1. I reviewed the transcript and found important meaning units to create stanzas. Stanzas are clumps of language units that deal with a unifying topic or perspective (p.107). 2. I labeled each stanza to create larger narratives and sub-narratives. 3. Afterwards, I honed in on the narratives to find instances within these accompanying stanzas that indicate a po tentially important issue.

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105 4. I then began a microanalysis of the stanzas looking at what linguistic details are significant to the Discourses in the data. These details help to determine the seven building tasks (Gee, 2005, p.11-19) language helps build a. significance b. activities c. identities d. relationships e. politics (distributi on of social goods) f. connections g. sign systems and knowledge Due to scope of this study, I selected five building tasks which resonated the most in the narratives. These building tasks were a.) significance; c.) identities; d.) relationships; e.) politics; and f.) connections 5. I then refer to and attempt to answer the 18 questions generated for those four building blocks as outlined on pages 110-113 in Gees (2005) An Introduction to Discourse Analysis: Theory and Method 6. With the questions answered, I engaged in a validation process of convergence, where I saw how my answers to the 18 questions overlap and are connected to the emerging motifs and revised the themes when necessary. 7. I then organized my new findings and substant iated these findings with specific linguistic details. 8. I finally created more comprehensive motifs a nd addressed the research questions of this study. These findings were then compared with observational notes as well as the findings from the thematic analysis, which is another validation component, coverage. Thematic Analysis Process Seeking to answer one of my research questions, What rationales undergird these girls self-selections of books for personal use, I analyzed the girls in itial and final book selection interviews and my field notes us ing Braun and Clarkes (2006) th ematic analysis process. This process would complement DA and augment findings for my other research question: How does access to culturally relevant li terature reflect and reshape the girls conceptions of reading and interactions with books? The thematic process, as an inducti ve analysis procedure, is divided

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106 into five phases detailed below. These phases s eem remarkably similar to the tertiary coding procedure used in grounded theo ry: open, axial, and selective coding (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). 1. I transcribed and familiarized myself with the transcribed data through repeated readings prior to creating codes. I jo tted down thoughts and ideas as I transcribed and read the transcripts. I placed those thoughts and ideas aside for the time being. 2. I then open coded the data based on meaning un its, retaining some of the context with the code. The codes used as much of the girl s words as possible. Some meaning units potentially had multiple codes. 3. I then gathered the codes and began combin ing the open codes into larger codes or potential themes. Some codes c ould become sub-themes, or themes within a theme. I also searched for what I might have left out of the coding and thematic processes. My initial codes helped at this point. 4. Reviewing or clustering themes (Boyatzis, 1998) automatically occurred again as leading or candidate themes emerged. I determined the degree of fit between the themes and the data by asking whether the themes reflect the meanings in the data as a whole. A saturation point was achieved. 5. In this last stage, the essences of each theme and the story within the theme were created. I then considered how these storie s are interconnected with each other across themes and wrote a short description (approxi mately two sentences) about each theme. The findings were then discussed in the context of the present study and provided additional support for th e discourse analysis. Trustworthiness of the Study A study is only as good as the research design. In order to ensure this study conveys the girls thoughts of and experiences with readin g and books, I must look at the data from multiple vantage points and angles. This process better ensures triangulation, or as Richardson (2000) says, the crystallization of the study. To help en sure such crystallization, I collected data from multiple data sources: 1) interviews, 2) archival data such as the girls book logs and book selection lists, 3) detailed observa tional field notes, and 4) a re flective journal. Immersion in reflection translated to constantly monitoring on paper my own prejudices and wonderings as the study progressed.

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107 Much of my reflective proce ss happened immediately after each visit to EDEP. However, I also reflected when I reviewed the audio files and when I transcribed. My unconscious seemed to often work overtime. Rapid-fire thoughts oc curred just before sleeping, while exercising, dining out, or discussing resear ch methods with a group of co lleagues also conducting their dissertations. During these circumstances, I recorded my thoughts and then transferred them to my computer upon arriving home. During the transf er, additional connections or contradictions manifested, which added to the de pth of the reflective process. During the study, the girls helped ensure th eir comments were accurately documented. Many of the girls requested to see what I sa id on paper which I obliged. Additionally, I offered them my interpretations of what I thought had occurred a nd they confirmed and disconfirmed my thoughts. Some avenues of misint erpretation included why they didnt pick up a book or the significance of the books remaining in a plastic bag in the bottom drawer of their dressers. On a few occasions the girls indicated surprise and interest in my interpretation. For example, when I mentioned to Morgan a pattern I thought I saw in her book selection process and why that pattern might exist, Morgan replied Hunh. I never thought of it like that. Thats kinda cool. How can you think like that? But sh e then countered with I actually think its because This feedback repr esents intersubjective validity and tests my understanding through a back-and-forth social interacti on (Creswell, 1998, p.207); something Gadamer emphasizes is a necessary component to hermeneu tics and reflects one level of what Gee (2005) refers to as language-in-use. Specific to Gee (2005)s Discourse Anal ysis are four elements to validity: convergence, agreement, coverage, and linguistic details (p.114). The data converges when the analysis provides substantive answers to as many questions for each building block as possible.

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108 Agreement occurs through member checking or confirmation by other re searchers findings that support my findings. Coverage ensures that the analysis is ap plicable to various data sources, such as transcribed interviews and observational notes. The th ematic analysis of the book selection rationales would complement DA and st rengthen its validity. The final component for validity in Gees DA, is how the linguistic structures within the discourse marry the communicative ideas. For example, when di scussing the motif of reading as a punitive experience, I cite the prevalen ce of modal verbs of necessity with first-person pronouns (e.g. I have to) and how they are married to nouns such as criminal. Both semantics and syntax convene. Subjectivity (Prejudices) Central to h ermeneutics is an act of reflectiv ity and reflexivity. One needs to be aware of ones own bias so that the text can present itself in all of its ot herness and thus assert its own truth against ones fore-meanings (Gadamer 1975, p.269). The researchers ideologies and interpretations are inherent in the research proces s and the researcher is always connected to the individuals and topics involved in the study. Additionally, as Ga damer proposes, the historicity of life is embedded within ones consciousness a nd interpretation of the world. Therefore it is crucial that I note my previous experiences, current conceptualizati ons, and orientations. Childhood reading experiences As a European-American female, I grew up in a lower middle-class community in the southeast region of the U.S. but was raised by pa rents who held middle-class values. As a child, I read to escape the realities of my life and vicariously travel the world. At nine years of age, I found utter delight in sitting in the bushes outside of my house reading fictional or fantastical adventures conjured by Lloyd Alexander, Madeleine LEngle, Hugh Lofting, or Frances Hodgson Burnett (ironically all British authors), as ants danced around my ankles. My parents

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109 shared their love for books and r eading, and with the he lp of my next-door neighbor, instilled in me a passion for reading. They modeled how readi ng was one way of finding lifes treasures. If we couldnt do something or go somewhere, we could always read about it. Interestingly, my sister a nd brother do not share the same affection for reading. My brother reads under professional duress and my sist er reserves her reading experiences to popular magazines such as People or Sports Illustrated Books have never really been a part of their lives. Additionally, both experien ced difficulties with reading as they progressed through public school. My brother, known for inserting Garf ield comics into his textbooks at school, contemplated dropping out of high school due in part to his read ing difficulties and disengagement. I recall his frustr ation and felt powerless becaus e at the time I didnt understand why reading was so difficult for him. My familial experiences enabled me to learn about the accolades and pitfalls associated with reading in a culture that prefers print literacy to oral literacy. Public teaching experiences My teach ing experiences in the U.S. and Japan have been situated within rural, impoverished environments at the elementary a nd secondary levels. Whether I taught English literature, English grammar, func tional literacy skills, language arts or reading, the focus of each class was literacy. My first t eaching position was in a U.S. 4th/5th grade class for individuals already targeted as pote ntial drop-outs. These individuals st ruggled academically and socially. While I was supposed to help them with their an ger management and life-coping skills, I realized that the program had one noticeably absent co mponent: literacy. Readi ng and writing difficulties were the nucleus of my students frustration and disengagement in school. I subsequently created, rather haphazardly, a l iterature-based curriculum to help these students become more proficient readers and writers, improve their self-esteem, and begi n enjoying reading. That first

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110 year was one of the most challenging years of my life. It highlighted the importance of print literacy in this country and r eaffirmed that books can ultimately change peoples lives on multiple levels. In Japan, I typically had a high percentage of secondary students who disliked or had difficulty reading English. While I had brought in various reading materials to help my struggling students, they ofte n renounced my offerings until I included something I deemed particularly unworthy of read ing (e.g. comic books or popular te en magazines). I superficially thought I was meeting my students needs. Howe ver, when reflecting on those experiences, I believe that while I provided them with access to something they valued, I also inadvertently conveyed my literary conceit towards such ma terial. During my tenure at the middle and high schools I had stressed that they could read the materials as recr eational reading ma terials in the class; however, they could not bring their out-of-school reading texts and experiences into the classroom discourse. I think this hidden curriculum potentially mi red the possibility of helping struggling or apathetic reader s becoming lifelong readers and re minded me of how influential teachers attitudes were upon reading and learning. Despite my awareness of the multiple roles a nd values associated with popular culture texts, I still negotia te that tension surrounding the dic hotomous notion of high-quality literature, such as award-winning books and p opular culture l iterature such as comic books, manga, and film or TV-based books. I feel both ha ve value in childrens lives but I continually vacillate between when and how to value these texts within an academic environment. Before this study I did value high qua lity literature more than popular culture literature. After teaching an undergraduate childrens l iterature class and a graduate secondary reading class at UF, I believe th at everyone can enjoy reading; it s just a matter of recognizing

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111 that there are times when one may become tempor arily disengaged with reading and considering how to renew ones reading engagement. In my undergraduate children s literature classes, approximately one third to one half of my stude nts stated they strugg le with reading or disliked reading. By the end of the term, approximately half of those self-identified struggling readers voluntarily informed me that they found some joy in reading. When probed as to what helped them determine that, they all indicated choice and th e ability to find books that matched me as the most si gnificant reasons for thei r change in percepti on. In a culture that prefaces individual choice, it is no wonder the debilitative effects a lack of choice and too many choices have upon the enjoyment and subseque nt efficacy of reading and other literary experiences. My interest in researching struggling girl readers is also personally motivated and based on my teaching experiences. When teaching at the co llegiate level, Ive always encouraged my students to become reflective practi tioners and modeled this practice to them as often as possible. Approximately two years ago, I was sharing yet a nother story of a strugg ling reader that had previously been in my classroom, when I stoppe d mid-sentence. I aske d my students if they noticed anything interesting about all the stories I had been shari ng with them over the course of the class. They looked at me with slight bewilderment. I informed them that I had just realized all of the individuals in my st ories of struggling readers and th eir experiences with literature were boys. One of my students replied, But isnt th at the case? I mean, what girl cant read? I informed the class that I have had female str uggling readers but for some reason I couldnt recall their stories or experiences with books, much to my chagrin. After class, I began emailing and calling my colleagues asking about their struggling readers and they too said that th eir immediate story recollections were boys. They knew they

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112 had had struggling girl readers but they couldnt recall their stories as readily as they could the boys stories. This experience compelled me to pursue research involving girls who experienced trouble with reading. Reading research experiences I had the good fortune to assist Dr. Anne McGill-Franzen and Dr Richard Allington on a three-year grant that investigated how to m inimize summer reading loss among economically disadvantaged elementary aged children who had minimal access to books. One of my responsibilities included formally interviewing children about why they selected the books they did and informally asking them what happened with the books af ter they took the books home. Their responses revealed that while the ch ildren may not have r ead the books, the books themselves held particular importance to them. These findings strengthened my belief that books have situated values that ex tend beyond the printed word. I also believe that many indi viduals will opt for books that are heavily immersed in their lived worlds outside of the classroom; books about popular TV shows, movi es, or other visuallystimulating texts, that the students can crea te communities around, as Dyson (1993; 2003a) has evidenced. To me, while the immedi acy of reading is quite private, it is also a social endeavor. Previous experiences also impact the reading of texts as well. Thus, reading is embedded within sociology, within self and society. While I hold these beliefs, I cannot assume that the girls embody the same beliefs. Through all of my previous teaching and resear ch experiences I have begun to conceive of reader engagement as a process which ebbs and flows within the interludes of life. I have also solidified my belief that language is value-laden within socio-historic al contexts and is inherently interpretive; conversation is a di alectical and dynamic activity which allows for the emergence of multiple meanings. Who we are with, where we are, and what we hear all influence what we say.

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113 Limitations Lim itations involving the c ontext of the study include: 1. Race and status could have minimized the depth and breadth of data collected. Our conversations and interactions were most likely influenced by the racial dissonance prevalent at the research site, the ethnic and cultural differences between the girls and me, and my status as a former teacher who loves to read and is White. 2. My interactions with the girls outside of the study, which the guardians and girls requested, could have influenced the type and method of conversations within the context of the study. I did not use any data from those interacti ons in this study. 3. The girls articulations of their difficulty engaging in reflectiv e practice potentially reduced the richness of th eir thoughts and experiences. 4. The appeal of the books offered extended beyond the girls and in cluded their peers. The girls obtained books for those not i nvolved in the study, including a teacher, therefore skewing the data collected. Limitations regarding the design of the study include: 1. The number of participants and the situated location of this study minimized the potential to generalize the resu lts; however, the findings from this study led to further inquiries and future research. 2. While the study occurred in a familiar pla ce for the girls, the site contained an academic atmosphere which might have subc onsciously affected the girls and my conversations in terms of content and discourse. 3. During the book fairs, the display of books mi ght have impacted the girls selections. 4. Transcriptions are constructions themselves as I, the transcriber, determine which aspects are salient and significant and which are not. They are stories with me as an editor. Thus, as Mischler (2003) reminds us, one needs to make a concerted effort to match the transcription pro cess with the analysis met hod to ensure the necessary characters, plotlines, and dialogues are present. 5. Interpretation, as the nucleus of social science, is a nebulous process. Discourse analysis and thematic analysis are two processes that ultimately end with the researcher producing the fina l product. Thus, there runs a risk that my prejudices might have overshadowed the girls experiences.

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114 CHAPTER 4 BOOK CHOICES, FAIRS, AND EXCHANGES A great library contains the diary of the human race. ---Georg e Mercer Dawson Understanding the contexts surrounding childr en, literature, and reading is paramount when discussing book interactions. The historic ity of literary experiences and contemporary social networks considerably influence which te xts one ultimately selects. The ways and means in which one accesses texts also influences the accep tance or rejection of particular books at any given time. In this chapter I invite a better understanding of th e circumstances surrounding the girls book selection processes. The characteri stics of the books which the girls collectively requested at the beginnin g of the study and subsequently se lected throughout the study, as well as the surroundings in which the selections occurred, provide n ecessary context to the girls reactions, involvement, and perhap s distance from the range of books offered. I intersperse my observations and interpretations of the girls particular behavi ors and commentaries during the book fair to provide additional forestructures to my findings discussed in Chapters 5 and 6. I will discuss the girls reactions, involveme nt, and distance in those chapters. As mentioned in Chapter 3, the girls partic ipated in book fairs at the beginning and conclusion of their participation in the study. The girls selected books to borrow and possibly own during the initial book fair and selected up to 15 books to own during the final book fair. Each girl received new copies of their preferred books to keep. Most of the books remained the same for both book fairs. However books requested by the girls after the book fairs, such as We are Puppies (Grooms, 2005) or additional books from the Alvin Schwartzs Scary Stories series, were also honored.

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115 Selecting the Books for the Study Students Verbal Input Developing rapport with the gi rls and determ ining what books to include in the study occurred simultaneously. A collaborative appro ach was essential and was guided by Guthrie and Anderson (1999) and Schraw, Flowerday, and Reis etters (1998) assertions that building on student interest and allowing st udent choice can stimulate an interest in reading, even among struggling readers. At the beginning of the study, the girls repeatedly ar ticulated how voiceless they felt in regard to school-based reading activities and schoolwork in general. Their pronounced lack of agency in their school-sanc tioned reading practices and their recreational reading selections further suppor ted my decision to honor their c hoices and ensure their active participation in the decision-making processes. The girls suggested, confirmed, and signed-off on what books were offered in this study. From the onset, I paid close attention to not only the girls artic ulations about their hobbies and life experiences but also any menti on or display of what books the girls borrowed from the libraries or classrooms, their commentaries about their daily reading response homework, and any other casual conversation about their reading activities at home or school. These personal offerings and commentaries occurre d within authentic after-school activities such as playing card and board games, participati ng in the ever-appealing favorite ice cream and favorite color personality tests, an d occurred during homework time. When the girls commented that they could n ever find a book in the library because all they got are old books, I inquired about what reading materials they wished they could find and borrow from school and eventually extended my inqui ries to include what reading materials they wanted me to bring. Whenever I wrote down the girls suggestions, they engaged in goodnatured teasing about my memory, or lack thereo f. Comments such as Oh yeah, thats right,

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116 youve got that ole type a memory. You wanna write this down peppered any conversation where one of the girls wanted to ensure I included or understood something. The girls verification of what I wrote, initiated by statements such as Let me see if you got all that down right, revealed their desire fo r their voices to be authenticall y and accurately heard. Their sense of agency reverberated throughout the study. The girls requests ranged from specific titles such as The Bad Beginning (1999), the first book of Lemony Snickets Series of Unfortunate Events series, or Roal d Dahls (2002) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to general categories such as funny books, books about Black peoples history, and basketball books. For category-based recommendations, such as funny books, I probed for possible examples to better understand what constituted a funny book. Since many of the girls seemed unable to pr ovide more specific details, I found various books that could potentially be f unny and asked them if those books were indeed funny to them. Similarly, for topics about which I was a novice, such as basketball, I would bring in a variety of books and the girls would affirm or negate my se lections. The affirmed books were then added to the list of books I purchased for the study. Curiously, on a few occasions the girls men tioned magazines in their conversations but did not include them as suggestions for the study. The girls might have excluded magazines from their list of desired texts because they already had access to magazines through their friends. Additionally, since schools and classrooms do not traditionally house magazines such as Vibe, The Source URB, or J-14, the girls might have thought thos e magazines were unattainable or unacceptable given the academic environment in which the study occurred. Due to the girls apparent access to magazines, I decided not to offer magazines in the study and focused on texts that were not readily availa ble to the girls but were em phasized in school: books.

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117 Book Fliers and Catalogues Because the girls stated they were fam ilia r with Scholastic Book Club ordering forms, I distributed the eight-to-ten page color fliers from Scholastics Trumpet, Troll Arrow, Lucky, and Classroom Cares book clubs, and asked each girl to independently circle what books they were interested in. These fliers were visually appealing with a hea vy emphasis on the book covers and minimal attention to the books cont ent. The books selected by the girls were then added to the list of potential books for the study. Cognizant of the vast amount of mainstr eam, middle-class, European-American books published and distributed by Scholastic, I also as ked the girls to circle possible books from two publisher catalogues that had mo re multicultural lite rature offerings. The 18-page Penguin Young Readers Celebrating African-American Heritage catalogue and the 15-page multicultural literature section of Lee & Lows catalogue were black-and-white and contained more print than the Scholastic Book Club forms. The girls could have kept all book club forms and catalogues for as long as a week; however, most finished th eir selections in one day while at EDEP. I then tallied their book preferences and added books that were either requested at least twice or emphatically requested by one of the girls to the ever-expanding book list. The girls expressed excitement while looki ng at the Scholastic Book Club forms. Some remarked that they had never been able to pa rticipate in the Scholastic book ordering process; they had only been spectators of their peers pa rticipation. While looking at the Penguin and Lee & Low catalogues, every girl spontaneously verbalized books she r ecognized, liked, and disliked. Interestingl y, with the exception of Ruby Bridges Through My Eyes, (1999), the girls did not select familiar books for the study. Familiarity was the underlying reason for the books exclusion. A books novelty seemed to be a primary factor in the decision-making process. Six of the seven girls did not finish looking through the publisher cata logues stating there were too

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118 many words and not enough pictures. Morgan aske d if I had made a mistake in giving her the multicultural Penguin and Lee & Low catalogues b ecause those catalogues dont have people like me. Im not like them. She uttere d similar comments throughout the study. Researchers Influence Selecting books from a one-dimensional adve rtisement is not necessarily the optimal method of selecting books for futu re interactions. Recognizing th is as well as acknowledging the scarcity of books available to the girls at school and duri ng EDEP, I brought in culturally relevant picture books such as Hewitt Andersons Great Big Life (Nolen, 2005) and Our Gracie Aunt (Woodson, 2002a) and culturally releva nt historical novels such as Trouble Dont Last (Pearsall, 2002), Bicycle Madness (Kurtz, 2003) and Numbering All the Bones (Rinaldi, 2000) to determine if the girls might also be interested in these books. Because of the girls pronounced aversion to books and reading, I left the books in my satche l during my EDEP visits. Curious about my life, as revealed in my sa tchel, some of the girls burrowed through my satchel. Theyd ask to borrow a pen or calcula tor in order to rummage through my bag. When they encountered the books, they would take them out and wonder aloud who would carry books round with em? After shar ing that I often carried books around with me because I never knew when Id have an opportunity to read or because I wanted to see what they thought of the books, some girls would borrow them during EDEP. Sometimes they return ed the books without commentary and other times they revealed wh ether or not they t hought it was a good book. A few of those books, such as Our Gracie Aunt (Woodson, 2002a) and Bicycle Madness (Kurtz, 2003) were later requested fo r inclusion in this study. This study was appealing to other children atte nding EDEP. Those children not involved in the study referred to me as the book lady and requested books from me. I occasionally found post-it notes with their requests for horse books, animal books, sports books, or any book

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119 you think I could like tuck ed into my satchel or my jacket pockets. While I could not honor those requests due to the paramete rs of the study, I did give them to the EDEP director to see if she could borrow those books for the other child ren. It seemed as access to desired books was one crucial element missing from both the girls and their EDEP peers lives. Making the Final Cut The girls collective re quests resulted in a list of over 180 books. Sensitive to the possibility that the girls lim ited experience with a variety of books might curtail their knowledge of what they would enjoy, I included books wh ich I thought the girls might enjoy but were unacquainted. While resear ch has shown the disconn ect between what teache rs or adults think children enjoy reading and wh at children say they enj oy reading (Booth, 2006; Brooks, Waterman, & Allington, 2003; Pascoe & Gilchrist, 1987), I believe my previous teaching experiences, combined with my recent three-year participation in studies that focused on books children enjoyed, enabled me to have a small voice in what books should be offered. These books, which were primarily award-winning, multi cultural picture books and novels, constituted a nominal percentage of the total books offered. My additi ons increased the book list to approximately 220 books. Each of the girls reviewed the book list whic h included each books ti tle, author, genre, and a brief summary The girls responses to that list, as indicated by comments such as You mean you really are gonna get what we said we wa nted? appeared to be a mixture of surprise, disbelief, and happiness. Some of the girls vocalized more elaborative commentaries when assessing the final list of books. These commentaries, exemplified by Alice below, confirmed previous observations that culturally relevant and unfamiliar books were desired by some of the girls. Alices comment also confirmed previ ous statements uttered while looking at the book fliers that familiar books were not necessarily preferred books.

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120 Alice: Uhh, lets see what you got. Raven? Now I dont like Raven. JG: You dont like Raven? Alice: Raven? She act like a little White girl. SpongeBob for sure! ((reading off the list)) What Do You Do to Deserve a Sister Like You ? Ooh, I want these two! 101 Ways to Fool Your Teacher and 101 Ways to Fool Your Parents. JG: Alright. Alice: Im gonna go home and read that like crazy. Yeah, Im gonna go home and read that like crazy Charlie and the Chocolate Factory The Princess and the Pizza I read that book. Nah, dont keep it. I dont like those because we al ready read that kinda book. Oh, Allen Iverson I do want somethin like that. Thats more my kinda thang. I deleted books based on unanimous rejecti ons, topic overrepresenta tions, and budgetary constraints. The final book list for the first book fair consisted of 150 books published primarily between 1995 and 2006 and represented multiple genres. The lexile range of the books was between 160 and 1430, accounting for a range of potential reading abilities. After the first book fair, the girl s specifically requested books to include in the next book fair. These books included Are You There God Its Me Margaret (Blume, 2001) and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Lewis, 2005). These additions result ed in a total of 161 books that represent the same repertoire of genres and fall within the same lexile range of the books purchased for the first book fair. Appendix G contai ns a comprehensive list of the books offered in this study. Tables 4-1, 4-2, and 4-3 provide the di stribution of the 161 to tal books by genre, types of books, and cultural relevance.

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121 Table 4-1. Book offerings by genre Genre Percentages Number of books Realistic Fiction* 36% 58 Non-Fiction [Non-Fiction Auto/Biographies] 24% [11%] 39 [17] Fantasy 15% 24 Traditional Literature 9% 14 Poetry 7% 12 Historical Fiction 9% 14 *Narrative poetry novels such as Locomotion (Woodson, 2004b) that could also be considered Realistic Fiction were only accounted for in the Poetry genre. Table 4.2. Book offerings by series and type of book Series*/ NonSeries Percentages Number of books Book type Percentages Number of books Series 35% 57 Picture Book 43% 70 Non-Series 65% 104 Chapter Book 57% 91 *For the purposes of this study, I used Meekin s and Wolinskis (2003) definition of series books as books that have a continuous character, format, and/or setting. Table 4.3. Cultural rele vance of book offerings Cultural Relevance Percentages Number of books Multicultural [African or AfricanAmerican] 60% [49%] 97 [79] Caucasian 25% 40 "Other" (Animals) 15% 24

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122 In this study, cultural relevan ce was defined by the visual or written descriptions of the protagonists as members of various microcultu res in the U.S., such as African-Americans, Latinos, and Asians (Lynch-Brown & Tomlin son, 2005). The Other category included nonfiction books about various animals and animal fantasy books such as Avis (1995) Poppy or Doreen Cronins (2000) Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type While animals in the fantasy novels can personify different cultures, I excluded them from the cultura l categories because of the high degree of individual interpretation involve d in determining the cultural representations of each animal. These books were placed in the Other category. The percentage of books with multicultural protagonists virtually mirrors the racial demographics of the girls in the study. Four of the seven girls (~57%) considered themselves of Black heritage and almost 50% of the books se lected by the girls ha d Black protagonists. Additionally, almost all of the girls commented at some point in the study that th ey didnt realize there were so many books with Bl ack protagonists ava ilable and that they were happy to see these books, even if they didnt want to read th em. They rationalized that while they didnt necessarily want to read ever y book with Black characters, they knew of others who would if they were aware of their existence. Approxima tely 25% of the books had White protagonists and two of the seven girls who participated in the bo ok selection process (the third girl joined the group after the books had been selected) identified themselves as White (~28%). While people do not solely select books based on the race or ethni city of the characters, the racial or ethnic representation of the characters can matter. Both the statistics and commentaries indicate at the very least the girls de sired culturally relevant reading materials. To ensure the girls voices were heard in the book selection process, I reviewed and organized the books into three distinct categories. These cate gories indicate that

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123 approximately 84% of the books offered were ei ther directly requested by the girls or directly connected to the gi rls, supporting the girls ag ency in the decision-making process Participant request (52%): Books specifically or indi rectly requested by the girls such as I want the Lemony Snicket book or I want scary books. Interest-Based (32%): Books that were directly re lated to the girls based on conversations I had with the girls. For example, one girl repeatedly said she loved to invent things so a book about female inventors and their inventing processes was included after approval from the girl. The girls approved these books. Researchers Best Guess (16%): I used my experience, expertise, and intuition in selecting books and to pics that I thought the girls might like. Availability of Select ed Books in School I cross-checked our book list with each of th e girls clas sroom lib raries and the school library to ensure that the books offered in the bo ok fairs were not already available in the girls school. Due to the overall scarcity of books in th e classrooms, duplications were limited to only the Paula Danzigers Amber Brown series and Lemony Snickets Series of Unfortunate Events ( aka Lemony Snicket) series books. When reviewing the girls classroom libraries, only one of the girls teachers had a substantial library of almost 200 books. Those books were largely popular series fiction chapter books with middle-class European-Ame rican protagonists such as Ann Martins The Baby Sitters Club series or Marcia Thornt on Jones and Debbie Dadeys Bailey School Kids series. Another teacher had approximately 25 books in her classroom library, all of which were targeted for emergent readers and had African-American protagonists, such as Bill Cosbys Little Bill series or were written by award-winning African-American authors such as John Steptoe or Eloise Green field. Approximately 16 of those books were on loan from the library and rotated every week or two. Anot her teacher had approximately 80 books of which

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124 the Wishbone series books dominated. Two teachers stated they did not have a classroom library and relied solely on the school library. The school library housed approximately 18% of the books on the fi nal book list. These books were primarily series books such as Mary Pope Osbornes Magic Tree House series or award-winning books such as Kevin Henkes Olives Ocean (2005). For the popular series books, only a couple of copies were available in the school librar y. Because four of the seven girls had restricted library privil eges due to previously lost books and were only able to select from the lending library cart, they could not borrow those popular series books. When I visited the school library, the lending library cart included approxi mately 100 chapter books with predominately European-American, middle-clas s protagonists. With the exception of the Amber Brown series, the books the girls desired were ab sent from the lending library cart. My observations indicated that not only did the girl s in this particular study have limited access to reading materials outside of school, but they al so appeared to have limited access to reading materials they wanted inside school. Book Fairs in Action The book fairs involv ed multiple steps outlined below. I describe each step in greater detail in subsequent sections. 1. The girls helped set up the books for each book fair. 2. I asked each girl how she typically selected books. 3. Each girl independently and privately se lected 15 books she thought she wanted. 4. Each girl collected her selected books and sh ared with me her reasons for selecting the books in an open-ended interview. 5. After the interview, the girl returned her books to the tables left the room, and the next girl arrived. 6. After every girl identified her books and completed an interview, all the girls were able to borrow any books in the study

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125 Setting Up the Book Fairs I conducted the book fairs during the first week of March 2006 and the last week in May 2006. The EDEP director allowed both fairs to be conducted in an empty classroom with multiple round tables and desks available to disp lay the books. In this room, the girls had ample space to wander around and look at the books. I used a private classroom to ensure privacy and eliminate non-participants from looking at the books and perhaps accidentally borrowing them. As mentioned in Chapter 3, each girl independently selected 15 books they thought they would want to keep. I assigned a unique number to each book which allowed the girls to easily document what book they wanted on their book order form. A sample of the book list form can be found in Appendix E. I displayed the books on round tables, with hardcover books standing upright and paperback books lying face up. The girls assisted in arranging the books on the tables for the book fairs because 150 books could prove visually overwhelming and I wanted the girls to have as much contact with the books as possible. I had hoped this strategy would minimize the potential for the girls to overlook books they might really want. While setting up the books, most of the girls expressed excitement. Oohs, Yess! and Ooh looky here! permeated the air when they saw both culturally relevant and popular culture books such as Ruby Bridges (1999) Through My Eyes, biographies of popular singers such as Omarion, Bow Wow, and Beyonc, or TV-inspired series books (TV tie-ins) such as W.I.T.C.H. or Unfabulous These particular books created spontaneous communities of animated discourse concerning the pop stars or TV shows. Jaime even expressed her incredulity of the book fairs themselves when she said, You bought all these books for us? Youre some kinda crazy person to spend money on all these books. No one does that I dont know why you did it, but its cool.

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126 Additionally, some girls held up books such as Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (Cronin, 2000), asking no one in particular, H ey, you remember readin this one? The girls would then immediately comment on what they thought of the book and then placed the book back on a table. Other inquiries specifically directed to me involved the plots of unfamiliar books, such as Sharon Creechs (2003) Love that Dog Some girls stopped displaying books to flip through or begin reading a book that ca ught their attention. The girls comments, conversations, and behaviors, while not audiot aped, were documented as much as possible. These communicative acts implied that while the girl s previously professed disinterest or dislike of books and reading, they were readily engaged in the book fair processes. In this setting, access and agency seemed interwoven with engagement Assessing Book Selection Strategies Before each girl b egan selecting books, I as ked her how she typically selected books. The girls indicated that even though th ey knew all the different strate gies for selecting a book, such as using the five-finger rule, reading the back of the book or th e inside jacket, flipping through the pages, etc., they selected books based on the book title or cover alone. Jamies explanation for selecting a book by its cover is representative of the girls sentiments, Why go through all that trouble when you still cant find something you like? Its just as good to look at the cover. You get the same thing at the enda boring book. For these girls, continually striking out when trying to find a good book understandably led to adopti ng the quickest and easiest method without regard to the conclusion, because it is always the samea disappointing one. Selecting and Talkin g about the Books Every girl privately selected books they thought they would like in order to m inimize peer influence or pressure to select particular books while looking at the book selections. The girls book selection processes la sted between 10 and 25 minutes dur ing the initial book fair and

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127 between 4 and 15 minutes for the final book fair. The girls attributed the alacrity of their book selections during the final book fair to their certainty of desired books. After finding their books, the girls arranged them in the order in which they wanted to discuss them with me. Each girl had a distinct way of organizing the books and refuse d to speak to me until she had organized her books thematically (e.g. sports, music), by series, book type (picture or ch apter book), or author. These open-ended book selection interviews we re often the first occasion in which the girls delved into the books. While looking through the books, they to ld stories either related to the book or a mixture of their liv es and the books life; describe d the covers appeal; took me on picture walks with them; and even expres sed surprise that the book wasnt what they thought it was going to be about Alondra, Candy, Chris, Jackie, and Morgan changed their minds during the interview and substituted different books for the originally selected ones. Other times, some of the girls, such as Jackie, Candy, a nd Alice, became so entranced with some of the books peritextual elements they forgot they we re speaking with me. I noted their presumed immersion into the books and after a few minutes I would ask the girls if I could join them in their books. Upon hearing my voice they looked up startled, flashed somewhat sheepish grins, and apologized. I quickly informed them they didn t need to apologize; I was just curious about what was so intriguing about the book. The gi rls then returned to the interview. The girls responded to my inquiries about their book selection rationa les in a surprising way. Jackie, Jaime, Morgan, and Chris all indi cated that they were initially unsure how to respond to the question Why did you select th is particular book? According to Alice, she initially didnt want to answer the question because its not what teachers ask for. We just need to answer correctly reading. You didnt wanna know if we got it lik e correct and all. Jaime and Morgan also indicated my questions were outsi de of their comfort zone. During the first book

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128 selection interview Morgan countered my questi on with her question of Arent you supposed to ask me questions after I read the book? Additionally, Jamie expressed similar sentiments during her final book selection intervie w after I had asked her about w hy she selected a particular book. 04 I dont know why. 05 You keep on asking some hard stuff. 06 I aint never had to thi nk about what Im thinking. 07 I just think it. 08 Anyway. 09 No one really care what I read and why! 10 No ones ever asked me why I pick a book. 11 How you supposed to know until after you read it? Morgan and Jaimes statements, which are repr esentative of some of the other girls sentiments, indicated the potential absence of metacognitive awaren ess (lines 06-07) and critical thought (lines 09-10) within the girls classrooms and suggested that reading is not something others considered something worthwhile to talk about (line 10) especially not before one reads (line 11). Additionally, one might surmise fr om Morgans statement that one only asks comprehension questions, or questions emphasizi ng an efferent stance, after reading. What matters is if you can respond after reading, not before. For Alice, you had to respond correctly The girls had to grapple with th e idea that I did care about what they selected and why they selected it. I was more concerned about their opinions than what they learned from the text. The girls statements were surprising. A questi on I had considered to be relatively simple, Why did you select this book? became an object of frustration and possible contention at times. The girls visibly relaxed after I explained w hy I thought knowing why people select particular books would be important to educators and librar ians, and emphasized that I was not looking for particular answers, any answer was fine. I beli eve the girls also felt mo re comfortable after my repetition of the same question and when I ne ver asked them What was that book about?

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129 After their interviews, a few girls discovered additional books they wanted more than what they had previously selected. I quickly asked them why without beginning another formal interview while they changed their list of wa nted books. Because each girl selected and discussed their book selections priv ately with me, the book fair last ed an entire week. Only after every girl had completed the sel ection and interview process were the girls able to borrow books for personal use. Bootleggin Books Due to logistical purposes the girls borro wed and returned books only when I was at EDEP. Over the course of three months, the gi rls typically borrowed three to five books for an average of three weeks. During their Spring Br eak, many of them borrowed six books just in case I have nothing to do. While the quantit y and frequency of book loans were encouraging, the evolution of the borrowing e xperiences beckons contemplation about the social influences upon individuals interactions w ith books, especially those who have a tenuous relationship with books and reading For the first couple of months most of the girls wanted to discr eetly borrow books. If I brought the books into a private room at EDEP, the girls asked for homework help in that room. Their homework entailed casually looki ng at the books and placing their borrowings into their backpacks without any witnesses. Ho wever, the girls avoided the books if they were displayed in public, such as the stage in the cafe teria where EDEP was held. Noticing this trend, I began keeping the books in the tr unk of my car when a private room was unavailable. Similar to their previous actions with books stored in my satchel, the girl s would look at the books in my trunk under the guise of borrowing school supplies or tennis rackets for EDEP free time. I willingly played the game and each week I forgot to bring in these needed materials. The girls, individually or collectively, would accomp any me to my car and begin searching through

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130 the plastic bins of books in my trunk in search of something they might like to borrow. At times the girls would quickly flash a book at me, requesting a quick book talk. Once the girls selected their books, they kept them in my car until their parents or guardians picked them up. The girls would then transfer the books or back packs into their cars before saying goodbye to their peers at EDEP. While this particular behavior diminished as the study progressed, I often felt like a bootlegger trying to sell/pe ddle underground merchandise. Books, not illegally downloaded music or DVDs, were the market items. The girls comments and behaviors during this process stimulated many yet unresolved wonderings. The girls occupied a central position in dete rmining what books were offered in the study and expressed a desire for a wide range of books. They expressed joy in actively participating in book selection processes, seemed resolute in what books they wanted, and expressed awareness of the multiple ways in which they can select books. Yet what happened after they possessed the books? In the next two chapters the girls will sh are their thoughts and opinions regarding reading and books after theyve accessed their desired books. These thoughts and opinions will help shape our understandings of how reading and books coincide a nd how, at times, never the two shall meet.

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131 CHAPTER 5 THE GIRLS BOOK SELECTION RATIONALES You actually listened to us? I mean we can look at these an stuff? I mean pick em up an take em? --Jackie (looking at Our Gracie Aunt ) You sure we ainarent gonna get in trouble with these? --Morgan (holding up The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe ) Now hold on here. A reading study? You said this was a book study, not no reading study. I aint doin no readin thang. --Alice The responses above represent some of the gi rls introductory comme nts during their first book selection interviews. The girls reactions hinted at their pe rsonal literary histories which include episodes of unheard desires or unfulf illed promises, book values and censorship, and potentially punitive reading experiences. Additi onally, Alices distinction between books and reading opens a porthole to investigating how b ooks might be operational outside the context of or in addition to reading for some, if not all, of these girls. In this chapter I orient the girls articu lations for their book choices throughout the study by using Braun and Clarkes (2006) thematic analysis model. I also intersperse some microanalysis elements of Gees (2005) Discourse Analysis (DA) when possible. This analysis aided me in answering my first question, What rationales undergird these girls selection of books for personal use? The thematic overtones of the girls rationales in this chapter provide a strong foundation for the expansion, contraction, and shift of the girl s conceptions of reading as they interacted with these books discussed in Chapter 6. The gi rls stated rationales will contribute to a broader understa nding of how books and reading resided in both parallel and intersecting literary spheres for these particular girls. However, before discussing the girls rationales, I must provide some parameters and gui delines to the data included in this chapter.

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132 Framing the Girls Rationales Because of the purpose o f my study, I chose not to analyze the girls selected books in relation to each other an d in relation to the overall offeri ngs in the study. Nor do I hypothesize why some girls chose the same books throughout th e study while others ch anged their minds, or why some books, while desired by the girls, did not make thei r Top 15; although each inquiry is noteworthy in its own right. I have included a list of each gi rls book selections in Appendix H. There you can see the similarities and differe nces within the girls selections at the beginning, middle, and end, while also noting the similarities and differences across the girls selections. I do, however, refere nce book titles in th is chapter when di scussing the girls articulated rationales for their books. These titles help frame the girls rationales and hopefully facilitate contemplation about th e connections and dis tinctions between particular genres or specific books and the girls reasons for wanting them. Within this chapter, words in quotations are direct quotations of the girls from either the book selection interviews or from my field notes I have included quotes from my field notes when I felt additional context and information were needed to better represent the significance of the girls statements. I have not altered the girls diction or syntax to ensure I am representing their words, and hence, voices, as accurately as possible. While a transc ription legend is located in Appendix D, I will review common transcription markers to better ensure a more fluid read. Anything underlined was emphasized by the speake r. A colon ( : ) indicates an elongation of sound by the speaker. The length of the sound is proportional to the number of colons. Underlined words indicate emphasis by the speaker. Single parentheses ( ) indicate simultaneous talk between two speakers. Double parentheses (( )) signify my additions to help clarify the context or reference. Any personal name is a pseudonym and I am JG.

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133 One of the underlying purposes of this study was to provide a venue for girls who are marginalized in school to share their thoughts about and experiences with books. While I have chosen to organize this chapter in themes, I did not wish to diminish the girls individualities or dilute their independent voices. The girls are indeed unique a nd have their own schemas of books, reading, and the world. However, they al so share and use a language shaped by their larger cultural communities. Due to the high degree of common discourse and sentiments and the tendency for each girl to have multiple reasons for selecting many of their books, I believe a thematically structured chapter minimizes redundancy and illustrates th e overarching strength and connectivity between the girls rationales. Within each discussion of the prevailing themes, I include girls specific statements to express th eir individual thoughts or to illustrate thematic nuances that run the risk of being masked within the collective. Each girl is present in every theme discussed in this chapter; however, with in the sub-themes, some girls voices are more dominant than others. Therefore, organizing the girls rationales thematically enables me to show both the part (individual self) and the whole (communal ideologies). So what were the rationales of girls who were identified as marginalized readers and had limited access to desired reading materials inside and outside of school? Did the girls select books by the coversa popular selection method used by children (Haynes & Richgels, 1992) as they had asserted prior to the book fair? Or did deeper and broader undercurrents steer their book selection processes? According to these seve n girls, there were a plethora of variables associated with book selections that both reinfo rced and countered the popular adage you cant judge a book by its cover. While the girls may have begun their responses with because of the cover, what lay beneath the cover literally a nd figuratively appeared to be quite enriching.

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134 Core Book Selection Themes My analysis of the girls book selection interview s resulted in three overarching themes that narrate the girls fluctuation between th e known and the unknown, the desire to belong and stand out, and the desire to ulti mately reside in personal, acad emic, and social comfort zones. The girls rationales indicated their quests to reinforce or obtain competencies in all three domains of life. These three themes, book access connectivity to pers onal and social lives and empowerment encompass academic, personal, and social domains and include a variety of subthemes. In this chapter I provide a brief description of each theme, discuss the themes and subthemes according to each girl, a nd identify the relationships betw een the themes and Wigfield and Guthries (1997) taxonomy of reading motiva tion when appropriate. I have italicized and underlined the themes within the descriptions, but have only italiciz ed the sub-themes. Book Access The them e of book access included the girls selec tions of books due to the books accessibility and novelty regardless of topic, genre, or type, as well as the girls ability to choose without negative consequences. Th e girls often selected books, pa rticularly at the beginning of the study, due to their familiarity with particular books, book se ries, or book topics via school or mass media Book access was the least prevalent of all thr ee themes, and as the study progressed was mentioned less and less by every girl except Morgan. Among other reasons, the familiarity of the books Morgan experienced during the study constituted why she selected the majority of her books at the end of the study. Morgans experien ce in this study is discu ssed in greater detail in Chapter 6. This is not to say that the girl s did not select their final books because of their familiarity with them; the girls just didnt state familiarity as a reason.

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135 Accessibility and novelty During their initial book selection interviews Jaim e and Chris stated they sometimes selected books simply because they could or because they preferred these books over the books available to them in the library. What mattered to them was that I could get em if I want (Jaime) and that these ((books)) he re are better than what I be seein in school (Chris). Jaime and Chris general statements about their initial book selections indi cated that the books themselves may not be what they desired, de spite their active role in the decision making process. Rather it was the freedom of choice that seemed to be initially more important to them. Based on their statements, I wondered if they sel ected some books for the study just because they could, regardless of their interest in the books themselves. Perhaps they were unsure if they really wanted those particular books, or didnt want those books but didnt know what else to offer as substitutes. It was as if they had part icipated in the selection process prior to the book fairs, but unknown factors mitig ated that participation. Other girls such as Jackie indicated in their initial and final book sele ction interviews that they selected books because they were unaware of their existence. When speaking about picture books by Jacqueline Woodson, such as Coming on Home Soon (2004a) and Our Gracie Aunt (2002a), and Ethel Footman Smothers The Hard-Times Jar (2003) during her in itial interview, Jackie shared the following about the allure of unknown books. JG: So if I remember correctly, you said that you really wanted Black history books (Jackie: Un hunh), but I dont really see any Black history books here. Can you talk to me about that? Jackie: Um, well, le ts see. Ummm see well I thought I was gonna want to get those books but then when I seen the-these, I just wanted thes e. These are about real life and were in them. Like not like just hist ory. All the books here ((in school)) is about us in history. I didnt even know these books were out here!

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136 Jackies statements, its about real life and we re in them and all th e books here is about us included the collective pronouns we and u s. Her use of those pronouns when speaking about her personal book choice signified a collec tive sense of identity (Fordham & Ogbu, 1986) and validation (Sims, 1983). She, as a Black person and a member of distinct cultural community, is not a historical figure but a contemporary individua l who experiences real life just like anyone else. When offered a choice between Black history books, which she stated are the most prevalent books with Black characters in her school, and contemporary fiction books, she opted for the realistic fiction due to their re presentational effect (it s about real life and were in them). More discussion about books as indices of personal validation occurs under the second theme, c onnectivity to personal and social lives Comments such as Jackies were echoed by Alice when determining what books to include in the study. Alice was adamant about not having Black history books in the study because Im tired of always seeing Black history books. Keep em out (field notes, February 16, 2006). The girls discourse reinforced the need for a variet y of culturally relevant literature that enables people of different cultures to appr eciate themselves as central figures within a realistic story rather than the focus of the story or the subject of a history lesson. When encountering mass media or potentiall y controversial books, some of the girls expressed apprehension about se lecting those books. As indicated at the beginning of this chapter, Morgan questioned the viability of reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Lewis, 2005) from The Chronicles of Narnia series. During her first book selection interview she wondered if she would get in trouble beca use we dont have it ((in the school library)) because its like about Adam and Eve and like stu ff like that. So we cant have it. Morgans concern about her access to a book which the school disallowed indicated the level of influence

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137 Morgans school policy had over her selection of books for personal use as well as her fear of retribution if she defied that policy. Appare ntly, Morgan was denied access if books that contained controversial topics such as Adam and Eve. Morg an sought assurances of her safety if she selected a book banned from school, ev en if were for personal use. Morgans use of we as a collective pronoun suggested that all students seemed to lack access to books such as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and were potentially prev ented from reading those types of books in school. Some of the other girls also needed assurance or confirmation that the books offered in the study were acceptable. Since the girls were not allowed to read picture books, they inquired on multiple occasions during and after the first book fa ir whether or not it was acceptable for them to select or borrow picture books and if I was going to get mad at them if they did. Their initial hesitancy to interact with pict ure books, as illustrated by their requests for permission from me, further reinforced the girls in ternalization of their school policy regarding permissible reading habits or book preferences. Additionally, even though the girls requested books based on popular Nickelodeon or Disney Channel TV shows such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Unfabulous, The Cheetah Girls, and Thats So Raven they were surprised to see the books in the book fairs. Candys response was representative of the girls uncertainty about choosing mass media books based on popular TV shows. Candy: Aah!! Thats So Raven! The Cheetah Girls! Unfabulous Whoa! Another Cheetah Girl! Another Raven! You actually lettin us read these? Its OK? JG: Yeah, sure! You said you wanted them, right? Candy: Yeah, but I didnt think you d actually get em for us! Cool! (Candy, book fair participation)

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138 After reviewing Candys and others statemen ts, I noticed issues of power and agency resonating within this theme of book access It appears as if I, as th e adult and researcher, served as a gatekeeper for books. In this study, the ga tes were continually open but the girls were initially wary of entering. They expressed disbelief that they would actually have access. Judging from Candys comment that I didnt think youd actually get em, they considered my listening to them and honoring my promise almost innovativ e. However they appeared to adjust quite rapidly. During the final book fair, the girls did not seek assuran ces, permission, or indicate any wariness about selecting books which reflected th eir popular culture intere sts or books which the school might disapprove of. The books considered new during that book fair were books that had been present throughout the entire study but may have been inaccessible because other girls had borrowed them for most of the studys duration. School-based familiarity Five girls also selected chapter book s during the initial and final book fairs because they had either seen or interacted w ith the actual books or books from th e same series at school. These books were primarily from The Land of Elyon, Junie B. Jones, Amber Brown, Series of Unfortunate Events (aka Lemony Snicket ) and Magic Tree House series. Only two non-series books, Click Clack Moo (Cronin, 2000) and Through My Eyes (Bridges, 1999) were selected because of school-based familiarity. Every girl, w ith the exception of Jackie and Alice, selected books due to their familiarity of the books charact er or purpose. Alondra and Chris appeared to select more books with which they had ha d previous encounters. Alondra picked Junie B. Jones is (Almost) a Flower Girl (Park, 1999) because I know its good. I know who this author is Weve got them in the library (initial book selection interview). Chris selected Amber Brown Wants Extra Credit (Danziger, 1997) because I already got Amber Brown is Not a Crayon

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139 Thats a library book I know its funny because so I got this one (( Amber Brown Wants Extra Credit)) cause I like the other one (final book selection interview). Alondra and Chris statements reinforced the school library as th e primary location for the girls access to books (Fl eener, Morrison, Linek, & Rasinski 1997; Krashen, 2004; Lamme, 1976; Mellon, 1990; Pucci, 1994) and indicated a sens e of security that sure bets were both readable and enjoyable books or were books de emed worthy by the school. The abundance of series books that were selected due to school-bas ed familiarity was striking and elicited wonder about the presence of non-series books, especia lly books considered culturally relevant, in the girls schools. While researchers have indicated that reading se ries books does not hamper ones interest in reading non-series and award-winning books (Gre enlee, Monson, & Taylor, 1996; Nixon, 2000), what implications does a limited variet y of books, most of which are series fiction, have upon children? Moreover, if children are searching for what they know, series books appear to be what they know, and teachers provide only books that the children know, how diverse are the book collections in the girls scho ols? How will students experience a repertoire of books that also capture the uniqu eness of life instead of just th e predictability of characters, storylines, and resolutions? Teachers and classroom-based instruction as locales of familiarity were virtually nonexistent in the girls book se lection rationales. Only Candy, Morgan, and Jaime indicated selecting one book each because of a teachers instructional decision. Candy selected Ruby Bridges Through My Eyes (1999) because I read about her. I know about her. We read this in my third grade class (final book selection interview), while Morgan and Jaime, who had the same teacher, selected the first three Lemony Snicket books for a different reason, as indicated by my following conversation with Jaim e during her final interview.

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140 Jamie: I chose these thr ee cause I read these book. Well, my reading teacher read them to me. JG: Remind me of your reading teacher again? Jaime: Well, my old reading teacher, Ms. S., (JG: Um humh) and um she read them to me. But I want, I want to read them to myself because some um pages she didnt read all of it so I want to read it for myself and then read the whole book. JG: Oh, I see. Do you know why she didnt read some of the pages? Jaime: Cause she thought it wasnt important enough, impor tant enough for us to know. JG: So why do you want to read those pages? Jaime: So I can figure out whats on them. Yeah (Jaime, final interview) For all three girls, their teachers inclusions of books for either shared reading or reading aloud resulted in their desire to not only independently re-read certain books, but also possess them. Yet, based on what all seven girls shared with me, the library had more influence upon their selections than their teachers, with both teachers and libraries having minimal influence. This finding is similar to Moh rs (2006) determination that t eachers were absent from firstgraders book selection rationales. It also offers a different perspective from researchers previous determinations that teachers have a strong influence upon childrens book choices (Fleener, Morrison, Linek, & Rasinski, 1997; Wray & Lewis, 1993; Williams, 2005) and provides additional context to the overwhelmi ng influence of mass media upon the girls book selections. Perhaps the current classroom climate for these girl s minimized the opportunities for teachers to read-aloud or engage in more ho listic approaches to r eading instruction and contributed to the girls gravitation toward s another familiar domainmass media.

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141 Media-based familiarity The girls often selected books based on the book s associations with popular culture and everyday life. This particular sub-them e, media-based familiarity is intertwined with other themes such as connectivity to personal and social lives and sub-themes such as relationships learning about the self and the world and finding models of success Therefore, discussion about mass media books and their familiarity will be threaded throughout multiple discussion points in this chapter. TV shows and movies. During the initial book fair all of the girls indicated a strong desire to read books based on popular TV shows such as Thats So Raven, Zoey 101, SpongeBob SquarePants and Unfabulous, or movies, such as Aquamarine, Lemony Snickets Series of Unfortunate Events Because of Winn Dixie or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Fewer girls cited a desire for such books during the final book fair. Biogr aphies or autobiographies of popular musicians such as Destinys Child, Bow Wow, and Omarion, and male basketball stars such as Carmelo Anthony, Vince Carter, and Al len Iverson were also selected during both book fairs and remained consistently popular thr oughout the study. All of these books, and others, were selected because the girls already had a st rong foundation in the topic and either wanted to engage in something enjoyable that was related to their everyday lives or wanted to expand their knowledge about particular individuals. I discu ss those two reasons la ter in this chapter. Books which were adapted as movies appeared to become more desirable because they had become part of the girls media-related popul ar culture. When discussing why they selected Aquamarine (Hoffman, 2001), Alondra and Morgan shared the same sentiments in their initial book selection interviews. Alondra: The preview on TV told me that it was gonna be good. I didnt know if the book was good but if they made a movie of it, it should be good.

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142 Morgan: I picked this one because it might be an interesting book and plus the movie, the um, the description of th e movie on the, um, the comm ercial was really really good. So I think it would be an excellent book. Its on TV. Even though the book was published prior to the movi e, the movie trailer fo r Aquamarine sold Alondra and Morgan onto the viability of the book. A books transformation from the printed word to the cinematic world, from high culture to popular culture, appeared to authenticate and elevate its appeal fo r Alondra and Morgan. Morgan also extended her enjoyment to books based on TV shows, often called TV tieins. She selected Zoey 101 #1Girls Got Game (TeeNick/Mason & Stephens, 2006) and Unfabulous #3Starstruck (TeeNick/Reisfield, 2006) because I like the shows a lot. And I think that since the shows are good, the books should be good (initial book selection interview). Similarly, Jaime attested to the viability of selecting mass media books based on TV shows when she selected Thats So Raven #10Psyched (Ponti, 2005), because basically Im a fan of Raven Simone. I watch her shows. Theyre good so its a good book. I know it. Thats basically it. Its a cool book to read (initial book se lection interview). Candy concurred with even though these arent award-winning books, these are TV shows a nd they are interesting. So they are just as good (book selection interview). In all these instances, TV commercials or the TV shows themselves, rather than teachers, librarians, family members, or friends, book ta lked the books to the girls. These virtual book talks established the books appeal and increased the certainty that the books selected were not only good choices but were cool to read. The potential for a risky book choice was minimized through a cinematic validation of th e book. In fact, for Candy, the books are just as good as the TV shows. This suggests Candy held the TV show in higher regard than the book.

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143 The reflexivity between ma ss media books and TV shows or movies automatically assigned positive values to the books for these girls. A books transformation from the printed word to the cinematic world appeared to elevate not only its appeal but al so its status. Clearly mass media books were appealing; virtually every girl who selected mass media books indicated similar sentiments to Jackie. Mass media books would make reading kinda fun and watching kinda fun (initial book selection interview). Other re searchers have cited the appeal of the partnerships between TV shows and books as a motivational factor fo r book selections and reading (Hamilton, 1976; Swartz & Hendr icks, 2000; Wendelin & Zinck, 1983). The appeal of cinematic worlds created from books was so great that some girls such as Candy and Alondra selected mass media books because they could not often afford to see the movies. They wanted assurance that if they were able to spend money on a movie such as Aquamarine or Lemony Snickets Series of Unfortunate Events they were going to enjoy it. Looking at or reading the book would enable them to ascertain whether or not spending their money would be wise. Alice, Chris, and Jackie al so selected mass media books fo r the aforementioned reasons, but extended the concept of familiarity and appeal to include reader engagement and competency for their younger relatives. JG: And why do you want Thats So Raven books? Alice: Because my sister likes Thats So Raven and I gotta get her to start likin readin. So I can read it to her and shell get in ta readin so she w ont be havin no--any trouble in school. I can also be practicin reading. (Alice, final book selection interview) JG: So, tell me why these are books (( Thats So Raven )) you wanted to pick? Chris: Because I like to re ad them to my cousins because they like the Raven show on the Disney Channel.

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144 JG: So how do these books fit in? Chris: It goes with the TV show. Then they can learn to like reading. Ill be practicing my reading and getting them to like reading. JG: I see. Would that happen with other books? Chris: No. I need to give them something they like first so theyll get to like reading. (Chris, initial book se lection interview) In these two examples, Alice and Chris r ecognized the importance of reading and believed that enjoying reading is one avenue to becoming a better a nd successful reader, especially in school. If you ar e a successful reader you avoid trouble in school. Given that both Alice and Chris had experienced trouble in school related to their re ading capabilities, including transferring to differe nt classrooms, their decision to help their younger siblings or cousins experience reading in a pleasurabl e and enriching way is significant. For Alice and Chris, books based on the popular culture of child rens everyday lives appeared to be the most viable means of foster ing their relatives reader engagement and reader success in school. The girls claimed responsibility for getting their sister and cousins to enjoy reading (get inta readin, like reading) and that responsibility included modeling the reading process through read-alouds (I can r ead it to her). This was esp ecially true if they read a book that emulated a known and loved topic (My sister likes Thats So Raven [Alice] and I need to give them something they like first so theyll get to like reading [Chris]) Yet the girls excluded themselves from this aesthetic domain of read ing. For them, reading these particular books meant practicing, not enjoying. It is as if enjoying reading was unattainable for these girls, or at least with these particular books. Jackie also expressed similar beliefs when she selected Carmelo Anthonys partial autobi ography (Anthony & Brown, 2004) and Before They Were Stars (Smallwood, 2003) for her younger male cousins.

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145 The girls book selection rati onales and predicted behavior with TV-based books (helping others read and avoiding troubl e in school) echo educators and researchers advice on how to engage readers: share books w ith others, model good reading beha viors, and supply them with books in which they are interested (Allington, 2 001; Guthrie & Humenick, 2004). While the girls indicated they would demonstrat e the aforementioned activities to their loved ones with popular culture books, they were unfortunate ly noticeably absent as recipien ts of those same activities. In these situations they were the providers but not the r eceivers. Popular culture musicians and star athletes. Books focusing on popular singers and musicians such as Omarion, Bow Wow, and Destinys Child were desired by all of the girls except Morgan and Alondra. The other five girls cited wanting to know about the singers lives and how they were able to become successful at such a young age. We ((referring to MTV and BET TV channels)) talk about them a lot so I wanna know more (Alice, initial book selection interview). In this instance, Alice indicated her passion for music by identifying herself as a part member of MTV and BET (we). Those two channels focus on the music and pop culture trends loved and identified by youth. Alice also desired books about famous basketball stars such as Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, and Lebron James. These star athletes were loved by not only Alice but also her grandfather and fath er. By selecting basket ball books, Alice believed she could learn more about how they become stars and how they begin to like basketball (initial book selecti on interview). According to Alice, this new-found basketball knowledge would enable her to impress her grandfather and father when they watched basketball together. Desiring additional knowledge about the pop cultur e icons and athletes was another consistent reason for selecting mass media and will also be discussed in the forthcoming section, learning about the self and the world

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146 Considerations of accessibility, novelty, and familiarity Som e of the girls, like Jaim e, stated enjoying reading about celebrities and asked me well dont everyone like readin about celebrities some times? (initial book selection interview). She and the others have a poi nt. Nightly celebrity TV programs such as Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight and CNNs SHOWBIZ Tonight as well as reality shows such as American Idol Dancing with the Stars, Survivor, and MTVs The Real World most of which consistently make the Top 10 list in th e Nielson TV viewing rankings, indicate U.S. citizens, by and large, have a penchant for fa me, fortune, and celebrities. This fondness extends to reading material. Since 2005, celebrity ente rtainment readership has significantly grown, while traditional news readerships circ ulation continues to decline. As of 2004, People and US Weekly two leading celebrity entert ainment magazines had comparab le circulation averages to traditional news magazines such as Newsweek and U.S. News People and US Weekly had average circulations of 3.7 a nd 1.4 million respectively, while Newsweek and U.S. News circulation was approximately 3.1 million and 2.0 m illion respectively (Project for Excellence in Journalism, 2006). Additionally, AdWeek named People magazine the number one magazine for advertisements in 2006, indicating its in creasing popularity among the general public (TimeWarner, 2007). Alex Mardsen, a noted biogra pher of celebrities, at tributed his successful career to the fact that . celebrities sell (Obituary Al ex Madsen, 2007, para. 7). People read for a variety of reasons a nd purposes. Celebrity magazines such as US Weekly and cultural magazines such as National Geographic displayed in doctors and dentists office, verify our thirst for multiple types of readi ng materials. If adults indulge in these types of reading material for pleasure, then why are child ren admonished or restricted from engaging in similar reading practices, especially when readin g for pleasure? What advantage is there to modeling particular reading behaviors and then reproaching children for exhibiting the same

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147 behaviors? Perhaps both mass me dia and award-winning literature can occupy adjoining spaces on our bookshelves as they do in our professional offices. Gaining access to new books or retaining access to familiar books as rationales for book selections seems logical and even expected cons idering the girls restri cted access to books and their difficulties with reading. However, bene ath the surface of access and familiarity lies a deeper and more comprehensive commentary on th e various perspectives the girls had of books and reading and the influential fact ors involved in selecting books. Under this theme of book access, books appear ed to serve as mirrors of cultural and personal validation for these girls. Not only were the girls able to access books both previously denied to them and representa tive of their peer culture (e.g. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Thats So Raven) they could also interact with books that reflected their cultural personhood within contemporary settings (e.g. Before They Were Stars, The Hard-Times Jar ). Books appeared to be vehicles for access to cultu ral texts and media denied to the girls due to financial circumstances. They also seemed to be vehicles for literary success and pleasure. Some of the girls (Candy and Alondra) sought books that we re made into movies so they could see in print what their peers see on the screen. Others, such as Jackie and Jaime, stated they repeatedly enjoyed the movies or shows de picted in the books without having to watch TV. Books also appeared to enable the girls to assist their l oved ones in academic pursuits (e.g. reading). The girls (Alice and Chris) wanted to mitigate their younger relatives reading difficulties and elevate their reading engagement and motivation by connec ting their sisters and cousins everyday lives with books, just as educators advocate. All of these rationales appear to indicate intrinsic motivations for reading (Baker & Wigfield, 1999). The girls wanted to improve or master something, read something familiar and

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148 of interest, and appeared to value reading. Ma ss media books, while familiar and of interest, are often considered to be extrinsically motivating b ecause they provide access to social worlds and social acceptance (Baker & Wigfield, 1999). Howe ver, the girls indicated more intrinsic motivations when discussing mass media books. They wanted to read the books out of curiosity or to master a goal (e.g. learn more about athlet es lives and celebritie s), and to improve or master something (e.g. reading). Since people who are intrinsically motivated are more likely to continually and successfully read (Turner, 1995) perhaps mass media books do have more value than some adults and educators realize. All of the girls parents and guardians volunt arily informed me that they felt reading would ensure their childrens success, which is why they wanted them to become readers. The girls wished to continue and extend their parents and guardia ns desires with their younger sisters and cousins, yet appeared to overlook themselves in th e process. But perhaps their rationales should be viewed from an additional lens. The girls also selected books for personal use based on their desire to c onnect with the self and the larg er society. The second theme, connectivity to personal and social lives, constitutes the most comprehensive and most prolific theme amongst these seven girls. Connectivity to Personal and Social Lives The them e of connectivity to personal and social lives includes three sub-themes: literary life-worlds, establishing and strengthening peer and familial relationships and learning about the world In this section, I provide examples that represent more than one of the aforementioned sub-themes. Additionally, some examples overlap with other sub-themes discussed earlier, such as media-based familiarity To illustrate, Jackie selected cookbooks not only because cooking was an important part of her life ( literary life-worlds ) but also because she wanted to spend more time with her grandmother ( establishing and strengthening peer

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149 relationships ). Candy selected mass media books not only because of their familiarity ( mediabased familiarity ) but also to learn about her Black peers culture ( learning about the world ) and to become friends with her Black peers (establishing and strengthening peer relationships ). The interwoven nature of the girls rationale s across themes and sub-themes and across individuals reflects Gadamers (1975) emphasi s upon understanding the individual and social selves, in addition to Gees ( 2005) notions of agreement (simila r results are associated with different data sources) and the complementary re lationship between linguistic structures and communicative ideas. The recursive nature of th ese themes encourages deeper contemplation about the variety of conscious or unconscious co nsiderations people ente rtain when selecting a book and how they, regardless of ability or desi re, seek self and social improvement through books that were quite possibly written for diffe rent purposes. The thematic entwinement also speaks to reading response and the socio-historical nature of reader response. Readers engage in both efferent and aesthetic responses to books base d on their personal schemas or theories of the world. Such schemas are rooted in the readers previous experiences and preferred mode of discourse. The thematic qualities of the girls articulations offer a less conventional view of reader response. Reader response can occur as on e first encounters a text not necessarily when one opens a book and begins reading. Literary life-worlds Familial experiences and texts-as-self are elemen ts of the girls literary life-worlds. When talking about why they selected some of thei r books, girls such as Jamie, Alondra, Candy, and Jackie, included brief plot summaries of the books that were a mixture of illustration and titleinspired storyline predictions and recollections of their own lives. For these girls, the books, regardless of whether they had pr eviously read them or not, were desired in part because they reflected their life experiences. At times, the books illustrations or ti tles reminded them of

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150 previous familial interactions or the storylines paralleled the girls feelings associated with particular memories. The books validated and so metimes comforted the gi rls. It is as if, according to Candy when talking about Becoming Naomi Leon (Ryan, 2005) she ((author)) stole my life or somethin--a part of it. How di d she know? (field notes, May 10, 2006). Even though the girls may have only referenced textual features (e.g. title or illustrations) when discussing their connections to their books, I use the term literary in stead of textual. I prefer literary because, regardless of whether or not they read the book identified as being similar to their lives, the girls have created integrated stories of their persona l lives with the books visual or semantic storylines. The girls aut hor stories even though the books already have authors. Familial experiences. Particular books reflected current or historical life experiences for Alondra, Jackie, Candy, and Morgan. While some girls recollections as rationales were somewhat innocuous, such as wondering if the characters in Dont Say Aint (Smalls, 2004) experienced the same reprimands the girls receiv ed from their grandmothers when they use the word aint, others were more serious. The girls selected Visiting Day (Woodson, 2002b), Buttermilk Hill (White, 2006), and Bird (Johnson, 2006), because they addressed realistic and often distressing life events such as visiting lo ved ones in jail and expe riencing their parents divorce. When individually speaking to me while play ing tennis, Candy and Jackie occasionally spoke of how they missed their dads and described some of their dads experiences in prison. After viewing Visiting Da y (Woodson, 2002b) on separate occasions Candy and Jackie said they felt and acted as the girl did; however, Candy refute d the possibility that one can sit on her dads lap in jail, as Woodson depicts in Visiting Day (2002b). Their identificatio n with the protagonist

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151 in Visiting Day was one of the reasons why they sele cted the book. Jackie also communicated her longing for her mother, who was also sent away for undisclosed reasons, when she stated why she had selected Coming on Home Soon (Woodson, 2004a) and Our Gracie Aunt (Woodson, 2002a) both of which addressed the issue of absent mothers. So moved by all of Jacqueline Woodsons picture books, Jackie emailed Woodson at the end of the study and shared how wonderful it felt to know that Jacqueline Woodson understood her. I LOVE your books like..... Sweet, Sweet Memory and Visiting Day ; those two books are just like my childhood life. But the book that I like the most is.... Our Gracie Aunt that was the first book of your s that I had read. To me I think I have a lot in common with you like..you went to visit your dad in jail just like I did. I think that I felt the same way as the girl did in the book like she was happy that she was going to see her dad with her grandmother. When I saw my dad, I ran and gave him a hug and we talked, but we didnt have long because he had to go back to his cell When I first read your books it made me like to read books, but when I read other books I didnt really like reading. In most of your books, you had a part of you and it was real but it was fiction and I had never read books like that before (Jackies email sent August 28, 2006) In this excerpt, Jackie detailed how W oodsons books mirror Jackies life (those two books are just like my childhood life; I think I ha ve a lot in common with you; I think that I felt the same way as the girl did in the book) an d the positive impact of those books on her life (When I first read your books it made me like to read books). Jackie re ferenced some of her experiences (her visitation with her dad in jail) and spoke of her awareness that lif e stories can be shared in fictional narratives (In most of your books, you had a part of you and it was real but it was fiction and I had never read books like that be fore). Jackies proact ive approach to share the positive impact of these books with the author reified her pr eviously expressed enthusiasm for discovering and selecting book s that realistically portrayed Black individuals like her. Morgans rationale for selecting Buttermilk Hill (White, 2006) and Bird (Johnson, 2006) involved her emotional struggle w ith her parents divorce, which happened a year earlier.

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152 Ooh, Buttermilk Hill Yeah, thats about a divorce a nd the girls feelings and Bird I thought it would be cool if I had this one b ecause of what happens to her. Her goin to look for her dad because he leaves (Morgan, final book selection interview) During my EDEP visits, Morgan did not wish to talk about her parents divorce but did talk about how she wished she could spend more time with her dad, like she used to when her parents were married. Days prio r to her weekend trips with her father, Morgan excitedly talked about what they would do together; however, wh en I saw Morgan after their weekend trips, Morgan appeared quite reticent. Morgans desire for books involving a girl grappling with her parents divorce and a girl searching for a dad align with her wishes to retain the type of relationship she had with he r dad before the divorce. Text as self. Surprisingly, personal interests or hobbies as an extension of the self or a reflection of ones life habits, were not commonly articulated factors which connected the girls to their selected books. There were only a c ouple of instances where the books content or storyline was the primary reason fo r its selection. Out of the seven girls, only Jaime, Morgan, and Alice stated selecting books due to persona l interests. In both her initial and final book selection interviews, Jamie actively sought the biographies of singers such as Bow Wow, Beyonc, and Destinys Child because she loved to sing and wants to be a si nger later in life. She also chose books such as Becoming Naomi Leon (Ryan, 2005), Fairy Dust and the Quest for an Egg (Levine, 2005) and Because of Winn Dixie (DiCamillo, 2001) because they talked about girls um and how girls felt and stuff lik e that (initial book se lection interview). Jaime expressed interest in finding books with female characters in part because in school she was reading award-winning books, such as The Whipping Boy (Fleischman, 1986), The Cay (Taylor, 1994), and Which Way, Freedom (Hansen, 1982), which all had male protagonists. While Jaime thought the school-assigned books might be interesting, she really wanted to

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153 identify with female protagonists. I just want to read somethi ng with girls in them. Its kinda cool to see girls doing things in books. Even though other girls did not necessarily echo Jaimes wishes, Jaimes comment reminds educators that a classroom of diverse books, which includes gender diversity, is important when offering reading materials to students (Gooden & Gooden, 2001; Sadker, Sadker, & Klein, 1991), especially those who are relyi ng on the classroom for reading materials. As indicated by Jamie a nd supported by research (Booth, 2006; Smith, 1983), books possess little value to those who feel disconnected from the stories, Morgan selected Avi and Rachel Vails (2005) n ever mind! A Twin Novel because of its similarity to her life. The novel s protagonists were fraternal twin s just like her and her brother. When first learning about the book, Morgan expre ssed disbelief that a book was written about her situation. That disbelief transformed into enthusiasm when she indicated she would compare the novels twin characters to her and her brother; Im gonna see if what they ((the characters)) do is what we do. She also selected Alvin Schwartz Scary Stories series because I always like to scare my family, and I really really love scary stories (final book selection interview). Alice, on the other hand, selected books due to he r interest in mens bask etball. Almost half of the 15 books she selected involved ba sketball as a sport or basketba ll stars. Alice loved playing basketball. For her it was fun. Its just so much fun. You get to play with your friends no matter if you lose or win. I love playin. Both Morgan and Alice sought books they could relate to and could enjoy very much: being a twin and playing basketball. The relative infrequent evidence of selecti ng books due to persona l interest, excluding family relationships, complemented and countered other researchers contentions that children select books based on their hobbies or intere sts (Greenlee, Monson, & Taylor, 1996, Williams 2005). The girls did select books that contained st ories which supported their lives as girls (e.g.

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154 books discussing girls feelings, presence of fema le protagonists) and re flected their hobbies (e.g. singing or playing basketball); however, these books were infrequent selections. Perhaps their interests were not captured within the books offered, or perhaps, as Alondra revealed during her first book selection interv iew, I do it, so why do I want to read about it? Establishing familial and peer relationships Relationships were cited as a very co mmon reason for selecting books. The girls rationale s suggested books were conduits for familial and peer relationships. The books, either as literal stories or symbolic vehicles for interacti on, assisted the girls in their quest to become closer to their peers and family members. Alic e, Candy, Chris, Morgan, a nd Jackie all professed selecting books either to share w ith friends and family or to use those books as tools to dismantle walls of peer resistance. Some of the girls acknowledged selecting book s to share with their loved ones. Alice wished to share O (Grandberry, 2005) with her mother be cause she knew her mother would enjoy looking at the book. Alice also said that she selected basketball books not only because she loved basketball but also to show her grandfathe r that I like watching basketball with him. According to Alice her grandf ather wouldnt read the book, but hed know she possessed it. Alice often spoke of her grandfat her and stated that he was the one she looked up to most. Books about basketball, as an additional medium for th eir shared love of the sport, conveyed to her grandfather, as an adult role model, her enjoym ent of not only the sport but also their time spent together. Alice even selected mass media books that she did not like herself, such as Thats So Raven TV series books, so she could read them to her five-year-old sist er who loves the TV series. Alices desire to read or share books seemed to be embedded within the sphere of building relationships with or helping her family members. The relationships which books might foster seemed rather compelling for Alice.

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155 Morgan and Chris opted for Nutty Knock Knocks (Rosenbloom, 1986) so they could read to their sisters, brothers, aunts, and cousins. They indicated their families enjoy sharing jokes and believed this book would provide some good times. Jackie and Candy also wanted more fun time with their grandmot hers, so they selected The Everything Kids Cookbook (Nissenberg, 2002). In Jackies opinion, this coo kbook enabled her to spend some time with her grandmother, who is always busy caring for he r and her four younger re latives while working, and handling other family business. She wanted to do something fun, rather than something related to work or school, with her grandmothe r. Candy offered a similar response and included Sandra Markles (2005) Family Science experiment book as a way to enable her grandmother, sister, and her to hang out togeth er. In all instances, not only di d the girls state they intended to read or use the books, they also intended to do it in loving environments where social interactions existed. For the girls, books feasibly increased the possibility of enjoyable familial experiences, as indicated in the Trackton comm unity (Heath, 1983). In the Trackton community, reading was considered both social -interactional and recreational. The books were not always selected to be re ad by the girls or even by their relatives. Some were considered peace offerings toward s family members to recreate a sense of closeness with siblings or to rectify quarrels. Mo rgan selected Fairy Dust and the Quest for an Egg (Levine, 2005) because her sister, who was a se nior in high school, really liked Tinkerbell. According to Morgan, if she showed her sister th e book maybe shell know we are kinda like ya know the same an stuff. I mean um maybe I can like Tinkerbell more (initial book selection interview). In this instance, Morgan sought to reconnect with her sister through a book containing a media figure her sister liked but she didnt: Tinker bell. While Tinkerbell wasnt necessarily liked by Morgan (maybe I can like Ti nkerbell more), the symbolic significance of

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156 the book (shell know we are kinda like the same an stuff) would, in Morgans mind, renew their sisterly connection. Like Morgan, Chris also desired a closer re lationship with her high school sister. Chris selected Double Dutch (Draper, 2003) and Pop People: Lil Romeo (Morreale, 2004) because I gotta get good wit my sister again. Shes mad at me and shell like dis. (field notes, March 30, 2006). Chris also chose O (Grandberry, 2005) so that she could look at it with her sister. When probed about this possibility, Chris said she thought that while they were looking at the pictures she could talk to my sister like I used to (initial book selection interview). However, she said they probably wouldnt read them. In all three instances, Chris sele cted books that both she and her sister might like or just her sister might like in order to improve thei r relationship as sisters and friends. While the books were not necessarily going to be read by either girl, Chris thought they could bridge the intrafamilial gap. Actively searching for peer acceptance, Candy selected a plethora of books aimed at becoming friends with her Black peers. Candys selections ranged from culturally relevant literature such as Francie (English, 1999) and The Other Side (Woodson, 2001), to mass media books such as Bow Wow (Bakston, 2004), Destinys Child (Gittins, 2002), and the Cheetah Girls series by Deborah Gregory. Her intent was the sa me regardless of the book: to figure out how to get along with her classmates and school p eers, especially the Black kids. During her book selection inte rview Candy described her need for friendship and thought if she read about Black people maybe Ill unde rstand who they are when Im not around and I can get along with them. For her, books were the best resources for solving her problems. She extended her resources to books about popular mu sicians such as Destinys Child and Bow

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157 Wow. She believed she would gain their accep tance if she could prove her worth through dancing. If I can dance like the girls, they wont tell me I cant dance their stuff They tease me and stuff, tellin me that I cant step. Maybe if I read this book (( Destinys Child )), I can step and they wont be mean to me no more. Candys beliefs parallel Kraaykamp and Dijkstra s (1999) assertion th at artistic tastes and cultural activities are means of establishing social group memb ership and constructing social networks (p. 210). They provide an inner sense of solidarity (p. 210) while removing social inequity based on social status (DiMaggio, 1994). However, thos e particular books didnt seem to help Candy reach her goal. Candy often talk ed about how she and her Black classmates always argued and while she thought reading books was the only way to enter their world and become a part of a peer community, she just wa snt finding the right books. While Candy was friends with Chris for awhile, I often heard children teasing Chris for interacting with Candy and observed Chris distancing hersel f from Candy in public. Frustrat ed with her initiative, Candy ultimately began selecting TV tie-in books. He r rationale reiterates the power of peer communities, the need to fit in, and the status of books within her immediate peer community. JG: So why did you pick so many TV books now? Candy: I like the TV books better now. JG: You do? Candy: Yeah. They dont listen to me about those. JG: Those .? Candy: Books, like the Naomi one. They say that not TV books are stupid. JG: But TV books are OK? Candy: Yeah!! TV books help me get along with th e kids because its something they be talking about and know.

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158 JG: OK Candy: We can talk about the same thing. (Candy, book selection interview) In this excerpt Candy illust rated her necessity to possess membership in a particular community. Since she joined the study, Candy s ought opportunities to gain entrance into her peers social and discourse communities. TV tieins were the next genre of books to help her achieve that. Candys sense of solidarity is evidenced through her pr onoun modification from the contrastive pronouns they and me to the collective pronoun we. Additionally, Candy began with verbs listen and say which coul d imply one-sided conversations. However, she concluded with the verb talk alongside the word same. Candy semantically and syntactically conveyed her advancement in her quest to be come a member of her peers community. Interestingly, while the other girls selected non-fiction books which specifically addressed friendship difficulties, such as the American Girl Librarys A Smart Girls Guide to Friendship Troubles (Criswell & Martini, 2003), Candy did not c hose that book. The reason for this is still unknown but could be connected to the power of popular culture. Candys discovery that particular books were not necessarily reflective of ones peers culture (They say not TV books are stupid) is rather interes ting in respect to the reading material endorsed by many educators for their stud ents. Candy initially liked culturally relevant books more than non-TV books, as indicated by her use of now after I like TV books better. Her reading preferences were more aligned wi th educators preferences for high-quality literature (Hunt, 1991). However her peers re ception of non-TV books influenced her book preferences. Her inability to share common disc ourse with her peers wi th culturally relevant literature (They dont listen to me about those) and her ability to exchange similar discourses

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159 with TV books (TV books help me get along with the kids because its something they be talking about) shifted her purpose for books and perhaps reading. Candy recognized that within certain social domains she should refrain from discussing books unless they were books about popular culture. A ccording to Candy, her classmates dont listen to me about those but they do talk about TV books. Her developed cognizance of the acceptance or rejection of texts from a sociocultural standpoint is a foundation upon which she can hopefully build and create some level of fr iendship with some of her peers (Dyson, 1993; 1998; 2003a; Hepler & Hick man, 1982; Marsh & Millard, 2000). When we wish to gain entrance into different communities, we often consider the similarities between us and capitalize on those similarities as introductory dialogue. Some might consider such dialogue linguistic (Delpit, 1992) or sociocultu ral (Gonzalez, Moll, & Amanti, 2005; Moll, Amanti, Neff, & Gonzalez, 1992) but bot h address the need to possess cultural funds of knowledge, or skills and pract ices that have been cultura lly developed for social and individual success. For these three girls, popul ar culture and mass medi a were the dialogue necessary to establish or maintain friendships Morgan, through her use of a book including the fairy Tinkerbell, Chris, through books with musi cians such as Omarion and Lil Romeo, and Candy, through TV tie-in books, all signify the imp ressive influence pop ular culture has upon children as they socially naviga te their peer and social commun ities. Within the peer community inside and bordering the periphery of this study, books and reading were not necessarily valued as reading material, but the books subject matter and potential status as a cultural object were. Thus, Morgan, Chris, and Candy, among others, sought what they considered conducive to obtaining their goals of maintaini ng or establishing relationships.

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160 Considerations of literary life-world s and familial and peer relationships As described here, books valid ate life experiences which are both unique and common. The girls rationales for particular books that m irrored their live s and provided some degree of security remind us that by asking why books are se lected, we, as educators, can learn much about our students lives, especially about topics or events that they may not be willing to offer without some element of protectionsuch as a book. Teacher s can consider books as social and personal informants, as the girls did. Talking about books even before they are read can reveal compelling information about childrens individu al needs, feelings, and desires. Discussions about books can assist educator s in creating highly contextual ized and relevant learning experiences for the classroom. Learning about the world While the books mentioned thus far were soci ally-situated for the girls in multiple ways, there were other books the girls selected in orde r to broaden their knowle dge about their personal lives and the global society. Within this partic ular theme, non-fiction boo ks were the dominant genre in the girls quests for scientific and social facts. The following books, listed with both the title and author, constituted the majority of books selected by Alondra, Morgan, Jaime, or Alice to improve their understanding of the world from a global perspective. The first eight books are non-fiction books with the last book a contem porary piece of traditional literature. 1. Magic Tree House #8: Twisters and Other Storms (Will and Mary Pope Osborne) 2. Magic Tree House #12: Sabertooths of th e Ice Age (Will and Mary Pope Osborne) 3. Time for Kids Almanac 2006 ( Time for Kids Magazine) 4. Hottest, Coldest, Highest, Deepest (Steve Jenkins) 5. The Weather Detectives (Mark Eubank) 6. Chocolate: A Sweet History (Sandra Markle and Cherise Merideharper) 7. Signing for Kids (Mickey Flodin) 8. Various biographies of popular musician s (as mentioned throughout this chapter) 9. Why Is Heaven Far Away? (Julius Lester)

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161 While Morgan, Jaime, and Ali ce selected these books for e ducational purposes, Alondra seemed the most engaged in learning about life and its particulars. She sought books that told the truth about stuff like wars, how countries are different, and um fun f acts about how the earth changes (initial book selection in terview). Alondra also expresse d a desire to know history so I know why things are like today (final book selection interview) Her selection of The Magic Tree House series and the Weather Detectives books reflected her fascination with weather systems, the geographical changes of Earth, and th e evolution of animals. She appeared to want to immerse herself in discovering why life is in a pe rpetual state of flux. Sh e also wanted to just know things other people did. Her sentiment was shared by Morgan and Alice who selected Signing for Kids (Flodin, 1991), Chocolate: A Sweet History (Markle & Merideharper, 2004), and Why is Heaven So Far Away? (Lester, 2002). Even though Alice and Morgan selected more books that reflected their lives with in the immediate contexts, they indicated they wanted to learn information and facts we may not learn at sc hool (Alice, initial book se lection interview). Other girls expressed concern a bout maintaining friendships in the future. Every girl in the study believed that A Smart Girl's Guide to Friendship Troubles (Criswell & Martini, 2003), Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul-The Real Deal #2 (Canfield, Reber, & Hansen, 2005), or books based on popular TV shows such as Unfabulous, Thats So Raven and Zoey 101 and SpongeBob SquarePants would tell them the real deal a bout friendships and stuff (Jackie, initial book selection interview). The girls selected books they felt would provide them with factual or illustrative tips on how to maintain friendships a nd negotiate the rough terrain of friendships during adolescence. Th ey wanted to know how to handl e gossip, how to talk to their parents or guardians, and how to not mess up good friendships (Jaime, initial book selection interview)all important details in life Their expressed needs and concerns, mediated through

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162 their book selection rationales, confirmed resear ch indicating the importance of preadolescents and adolescents establishment of close friends hips for personal and psychological benefits (Burhmester, 1990; Parker & Asher, 1987; Rubin, Bukowski, & Parker, 1998). Within this sub-theme of learning about the world the girls considered books as authorities. While some girls questioned the r eality of some realistic fiction books, such as Candys challenge of Jacqueline Woodsons portrayal of a daughter and father interaction in jail in Visiting Day (2002b), they did not consider challe nging any of the non-fiction books. Nonfiction books, as truth books (Alondra, Candy) we re the authorities on any given topic. In fact, the girls stated that even though they learned a lot about their favorite singers on TV channels such as MTV or BET or the Internet, they wa nted the book to verify the accuracy of what entertainment channels facts abou t their celebrities. Additionall y, they thought the TV tie-ins might reveal where the TV show got it wrong (Jackie, Candy, Jaime). For these purposes, books remained supreme to visual media-based sources. What was intriguing about the girls declarat ion of a books authoritative nature was their acknowledgement that not all truth is truth, es pecially when conveyed virtually. Only printbased information retains its truth. The girl s critical thoughts when discussing media-based information about celebrities and their passivity when discussing informational books suggest the girls may have had little experience with reading response or criti cal thought when reading informational texts. However, the girls took owne rship of their academic and social learning, especially regarding popul ar culture topics typically absent fr om the schools official curriculum. The girls proactive approach to books which reflected popular culture conveyed a sense of comfort, engagement, and perhaps power, as th e girls compared, challenged, and learned more about topics which connected themselves with others.

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163 Empowerment The third ov erarching theme, empowerment involves three component s that relate to the girls seeking assurances of personal and academic success as well demonstrate their control and social positioning as individuals in possession of books. Again, descriptio ns and examples of empowerment overlap with the themes alr eady discussed. The three sub-themes under empowerment are successful reading, role models of success and a term the girls used: frontin books. Successful reading At the beginning of this study I assumed that girls selecting books for personal use would exclude school or academics. Yet the girls in serted their academic lives into many of their discussions. They chose books that would enable them to authentically complete their nightly reading homework and books with particular text f eatures that would assist them in successfully reading a book. Instances of authentic reading, in terms of successful reading in school, are described in more detail below. Reading response homework. Alice, Chris, and Jackie indicated during their book selection interviews that they selected books that would help them complete their nightly reading homework. Every night the girls ha d to read for at least 20 minutes and then write either a halfpage or full-page response to their reading, de pending on their teachers directions. During my interactions with the girls pr ior to the first book fair, I observed them writing their reading responses on previously read books, without ha ving re-read them, or copying the backs of books as their reading responses. According to the gi rls, they didnt read books for their reading responses because the activity was boring and poin tless to both them and their teachers. Reading responses didnt matter because the teacher doesnt read em anyway. They just check it if its the right size. How long it is (Alice, fiel d notes, February 22, 2006). The perceived

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164 worthlessness of authentically co mpleting reading responses resulted in the girls active pursuit of alternative methods of completing the assignment. To them and perhaps their teachers, the value of the activity resided in the length and not the content. Their responses to or opinions about the books were of no concern to their teachers; it was an exercise in following directions rather than an authentic avenue of communication. Given the girls pronouncements about the mean ingless act of writing a reading response I was surprised when the girls stated they had selected certain books to complete their nightly reading responses. I wondered if the girls would read the books. The books selected for their reading response homework included realis tic fiction picture books such as Our Gracie Aunt (Woodson, 2002a) and realistic fiction novels such as Locomotion (Woodson, 2004b), series books such as Geronimo Stilton, biographies or informational texts such as Before They Were Stars ( Smallwood, 2003), O (Grandberry, 2005), and Dear Mrs. Parks (Parks & Reed, 1997), and mass media comics such as SpongeBob SquarePants: Friends Forever (Hillenburg, 2003). The girls emphasized that they would read their selected book s for their reading responses, which according to Chris, would be the first time ever (field notes, March 31, 2006); however, their reasons for reading varie d. Jackie wanted to read a picture book, The Hard Times Jar (Smothers, 2003), to see if she ((Jackies teacher)) would notice I read a picture book and to show her teacher that picture books can be good books for me to read (Field notes, March 23, 2006), while Morgan and Chris i ndicated they were running out of books to use (field notes, March 14, 2006). Chris and Ali ce shared similar sentiments towards reading and responding to their books. Alice read some of her books because when you read, these kinda books help you. It helps you read and bu ild your thoughts for writing (final book selection interview). Chris read the books becau se I can. I can read them. My teacher dont

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165 know the difference but I do. I can read em (field notes, April 13, 2006). In this instance Chris used can to indicate reading compet ency not text availability of the Olivia Sharp series. Chris found other books, such as the Geronimo Stilton and Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs series books, which she could independently read and ofte n read aloud excerpts to me during the study. The girls reasons elicited doubt about the girl s previous claims th at reading responses were pointless. Perhaps they used word pointless as a mask for the possibility that they either didnt have books to respond to, or the books available were unreadable. The girls reasons for reading the books for their read ing response homework were a nything but pointless. Jackie challenged classroom policy by reading a pict ure book. Alice stated how reading could academically benefit her. Morgan and Chris testified to the need for continual access to a variety of books. All of their statements attested to the potential power accessible books have for students who are marginalized in school. These girls, who have consistently professed their disdain for reading and have expressed frustrat ion with a decontextualized reading activity, exhibited behaviors expected of successful readers. They took ownership of their reading by finding books they could and wanted to read for th eir regardless of the teachers opinion (Chris); understood they needed to continue to read and re-read (Morgan and Chris), wanted to share and educate their teachers about the value of books they have deemed worthy and appropriate to read (Jackie); and explained the academic and personal benefits of r eading (Alice). Struggling readers are often portrayed as apathetic or al literate (Poppe, 2005), whic h these girls countered through their book select ion rationales. Personal and academic self-efficacy permeated the girls rationales for selecting books to complete their reading response homework while proving to their teachers and themselves that they had the ability to successfu lly read a book. For some of these girls, procedural engagement,

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166 which involves obligatory completio n of reading activitie s, appears to have shifted toward a more sustained commitment of completion, or substantive engagement (Nystrand, 1997). Physical text features. Critical determinants for the gi rls book selections were books which had short chapters or were relatively short, contained simple vocabulary and not so small words, and included captivating i llustrations or photographs. Those illustrations or photographs often assist readers comprehension of the text and realistically portr ay life (Keifer, 1994; Nodelman & Reimer, 2002). When referring to a books physical features, each girl typically mentioned one or two specific features which she felt would increase her engagement with particular books. Textual simplicity and brevity seemed to be optimal for Chris, Candy, Jackie, and Alondra. Chris and Candy preferre d either picture books or books with short chapters and words that arent too small. They defined words that arent too small by the font size. Books with a smaller font size, such as the font in a typical novel, indicated a level of difficulty beyond their comfort zones. Additionally, books with large font were considered babyish. Therefore, they searched for books with font sizes that were slightly larger than a typical novel and smaller than text in a beginning readi ng book. Chapter books from the Geronimo Stilton and Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs series, independent books such as Ida B (Hannigan, 2004) and So B. It (Weeks, 2005), and picture books such as Visiting Day (Woodson, 2002b), appeared to fulfill their literary needs. Jackie indicated her pref erence for picture books b ecause theyre not as long as chapter books so theyre more interesting to (final book selection interview). A books thickness also influenced Alondras selection of books. Alondra often preferred thin books .because I can get more outta these than a big thick book. Thinner ((books)) help me like read and help me read more stuff. I can keep on reading more than the next day. I can read another book the next day, next day, next day. The fat kind ((books)) make me like read for weeks, weeks, weeks, months, mo nths. (final book selection interview)

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167 The girls preferences for books that were shor t or thin spoke to variability of reading endurance and its significance to an ticipatory recreational reading practices. For Chris, Candy, Jackie, and Alondra, pleasurable books were s hort books. The brevity of such books ostensibly enabled quicker reading experiences, provided opportunities fo r comprehension, and as indicated by Alondras statement I can get more outta these. Her use of the adjective more three times, and another once also reinfor ced the perceived benefits of thin books. Conversely, shorter books might also have indicated a desire to avoid reading (Baker & Wigfield, 1999) or the opportunity to have completed their reading hom ework faster. Even if the girls did seek opportunities to read faster, they were conceiva bly reading or wanting to read, both of which were not behaviors in which they were earlier engaged. Alondra preferred books with many illustrations. For her, illustrations evoked a desire to touch the pages and try to get into the book (final book selec tion interview). Picture books such as We are Bears (Grooms, 2002), Our Gracie Aunt (Woodson, 2002a), and Children of the Earth, Remember (Schimmel, 1997) or the Time for Kids Almanac 2006 (Time for Kids, 2005), included illustrations that matched the words, let me see what they are feeling, and conjured a sense of calm in Alondra. Her calmness enabled all the voices screaming in my head to talk less (final book sele ction interview). Alondra described the screaming voices as he r parents simultaneously ordering her to complete her chores or demanding her attention. From Alondras perspec tive, the demands of reading, paying attention to the semantic and syntact ic nature of the words at the very least, was cognitively overwhelming and confusing, like one would feel if multiple people were forcibly requesting her assistance: overwhelming. The illu strations and simplified text in Alondras

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168 selected picture books enabled her to not onl y comprehend the book (eradicating the screaming voices) but also enjoy the book. In their book selection interv iews, Morgan, Jamie, and Chris also attested to similar benefits of illustrated books. For Alondra, Morg an, Jamie, and Chris, illustrations fostered improved comprehension by scaffolding their un derstanding of the events and emotions experienced by the characters. Their improved comp rehension helped elevate the girls sense of pleasure and accomplishment because they knew they could read and comprehend the text. Confusion, as voices screaming in my head, subsided with some of their selected books and led to re-reading illustrated books and learning different things sometimes (Alondra). Given the relative ease and pleasure experienced with these books, as articulated by the girls, ownership of these books made sense. The influential presence of covers. In my discussion of how particular physical text features contributed to the girls decision to select particular books fo r successful or engaging reading, I did not include the girls statements that the covers, in and of themselves, were the reason why certain books were or were not selected. Most of the references to covers were within the context of additional rationales. At times, however, some of the girls indicated they did or did not select the book because of the cover. When discussing Fairy Dust and the Quest for an Egg (Levine, 2005) during her final book selecti on interview, Jamie described the allure of covers. The picture on th e front of the book draws me into the book and makes me want to open it up and read it. Alondra shared a sim ilar view to Jaime when she stated that Fairy Dust and the Quest for an Egg has a good painting that makes me want to know the mystery inside (initial book selecti on interview). As suggested by Jaime and Alondras use of the word make, covers envelop the reader into a visual fantasy and beckon entrance into th e literary fantasy. This

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169 invitation reiterated researchers determinations that covers were some leading contributors to book selections (Carter, 1988; Kragler & Nolley, 1996; Swartz & Hendricks, 2000). Book covers also establishe d an assumed connection betw een Jackie and picture books. When revealing why she chose Circle Unbroken (Raven, 2004) during her final book selection interview, Jackie discussed the impact of the books cover. Jackie: The cover makes everything look so real. It shows a girl who looks like my cousin playing in the rain. (J G: Oh, really?) See, th is illustrator ((E.B.Lewis)). He is always putting us girls wi th little braids in the hair. JG: Oh, I hadnt noticed that. Iv e never thought about that before. Jackie: ((smiling))Well, you might have been lookin wit different eyes. JG: ((Laughing)). I guess youre right! Jackie: Yeah. I picked it because I like the way the cover look s. I wanted something for me In this instance, and others, Jackie readily id entified with the character on the cover as a Black girl who participates in similar activitie s as she and her cousin. Just as Jackie has previously mentioned, her pleasure in finding books that depict he r, a Black female, in realistic and contemporary settings, resided within the books rea listic illustrations. She also exhibited intertextual understanding when she noted E.B. Lewis tendency to illustrate Black female characters with little braids. Reviewi ng his illustrations fo r Jacqueline Woodsons Our Gracie Aunt (2002a), Coming on Home Soon (2004a), and The Other Side (2001), all books Jackie selected in this study, one can see this particular pattern. Looking at her statements from a linguistic pers pective, Jackie made a distinctive racial or ethnic distinction be tween me and her. She used the colle ctive phrase us girls as a method of unification of Black girls a nd distinction from me, a White adult female. Additionally, she appeared to reinforce her claim to the book, thereby denying me and others ownership of or

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170 participation with this book. She wanted the book for herself and she picked the book because she liked the cover. The emphasis on the pronoun I in her declaration of why she selected the book was significant. She was clearly in control of the situation, unlike other instances when Jackie phrased other reasons for selecting diffe rent books with the book as the subject (e.g. The book has nice pictures). Also, by commanding my attention with the word see, pointing out a noticeable fact about the book, and then implying my racial and ethnic identity could prevent me from seeing what she saw, Jackie positioned he rself as an empowered individual staking her claim. Yet, by using the qualifier might, she left the possibility open for my being able to see things in similar ways to her. Covers also dissuaded girls from selecti ng particular books. When looking at the book Seymour Simons (1994) Big Cats Alondra indicated that the cove r looked too nasty to even open. But I wanted to see it. I just couldnt (initial book selection interview). Alondra considered the cover to be too graphic for her ta ste and preferred to see cute cats. Morgan was also adversely affected by book covers. When she heard about The Breadwinner (Ellis, 2001) without seeing the cover, she expressed intere st in the book. However, upon viewing the cover, she responded, No, I dont think so. I dont want to read about those kinda people (field notes, March 28, 2006). When I asked her if she would be interested in the book if it had a different cover, she said she would. However, she would not look at the book the way it was currently presented. As demonstrated by Alondra, Jaime, and Morgan, book covers are powerful influences of book selections, and I felt it remiss not to briefly mention th at covers, while not a dominant rationale for their book selections, were mentioned on o ccasion as one reason for the girls book selections.

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171 Implications of successful reading Increasing students reading e ndurance, or the abili ty to read and com prehend texts of a particular length and texts indi cative of ones specified grade level (Florida Department of Education, n.d.), is a common goal of literacy edu cators and often occurs within the classroom. However, when reading for pleasure or voluntar ily reading, people, especially those who find reading difficult, do not often take literary risks. They seek ou t books that reside within their comfort zones and provide joy or flow (Csiks zenmihalyi, 1990; Nell, 1998). If people are continually provided books that re quire more effort than desired or incite frustration, they are more prone to not readas these girls indica ted. While it was unknown if the girls improved their vocabulary or ability to read denser mate rial for longer periods of time because of their book access, they appeared to be partaking in more pleasurable reading experiences than before and they indicated the existence of reading for intrinsic purposes. It is understandable and benefi cial to challenge readers to read more difficult and dense text in the classroom. Yet it also seems sensible to allow children to read independent texts, which can include picture books. This option did not seem available for these girls. For children who have limited access to reading material outside of school, it is important that we do not unequivocally restrict their readi ng options to books that are diffi cult to read. Books which can be read independently and are deemed interes ting to children are necessary, as these girls suggest. Models of success Som e of the girls indicated they wanted texts which included individuals who embody strength, conviction, and success, or who convey assurances of the streng th within females. Alondra, Jackie, Jaime, Candy and Chris spoke of females who exemplify success, while Alice

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172 referred to male athletes as he r role models for success. Regard less of gender, the girls sought models of success. Molly Grooms realistic picture books about an imal behavior confir med to Alondra that we are strong, loyal, and we are learners (final book selection interview), while Beah Richards (2006) Keep Climbing Girls encouraged her to keep clim bin, climbin, climbin al:::: the way up high, like reachin my dreams. Alondra al so desired books that illustrated females in powerful roles, such as Ruby Bridges biography Through My Eyes (1999) and Catherine Thimmeshs (2002) Girls Think of Everything She wanted these particular books because it tells you about women who did important things and invented stuff. People dont know that women could invent stuff so men i nvent other stuff and they cant even think about it. Its cool to get books like these (final book selection interv iew). Alondra, herself an inspiring inventor, often spoke of how people thought she couldnt do much because she was born deaf. She also talked about how she thought her mom was strong but she often let other people help her too much. Alondra spoke of having to tell people I can like do stuff, ya know?! and thought that while she could do anything, her convictions were not shared by others around her. While she believes women are equal to men, we dont know enough about what women did (initial book selection interview). Because Alondra has struggled with convincing people of her capabilities as a deaf woman (I have to tell people I can like do stuff!) and grappled w ith her belief that her mother was too dependent on others, (other peop le help her too much), she desired books that countered the stereotypes of wo men as inferior women and exemplified the tenacity and vision of prominent women we dont know enough about. She wanted books that encouraged her to keep climbin reachin my dreams.

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173 Similar to Alondra, Candy spoke of wanting b ooks that are about our natural rights as girls (final book selection in terview) and Chris selected Olivia Sharp books because Olivia shows you can make it on your own (final book se lection interview). Additionally, Jackie selected some books, such as The Real Lucky Charm (Richardson, 2005) to prove to her male cousins her right to play the same athle tic sports as they. Jackie elaborated, She ((the protagonist)) can play basketball just like her brother can, if thats her brother Shes allowed to play basket ball just like a nybody else is. Now I can show that to my cousins and then Ill play. (initial book selec tion interview) In these three instances, the girls conceived of realistic fiction books as literary models of society that could conceivably prove to disbelievers that women were competent, independent and equal to men. In Jackies case, affirmations of womens rights needed to be shared with her cousins to ensure understanding. For Jackie, he r thoughts werent as persuasive as a books words. Mass media books also provided guidance for th e girls seeking images or models of success. Jaime read pop music icon biographies, such as Beyonc (Tracy, 2004) to figure out how they made it even though its tough. I wanna make it (final book selection interview). Likewise, Candy and Chris considered mass me dia books based on TV shows, such as the Disneys W.I.T.C.H. series and TeeNicks Zoey 101 series to exemplify female empowerment. According to Chris and Candy, Zoey 101s storyline involves girls who ar e nice and can be cool and rule the school as a crew (Chris initial book selection interview), while the W.I.T.C.H. characters use their powers to defeat super villains fight for other people and save the world (Candy, book selection interview). Chris and Candys interest in books with girl s who are popular in school connects to their own experiences in school. Based on what I observed and heard from the EDEP director, the

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174 other girls, and additional EDEP children, Chris and Candy were constantly teased at school for their current living conditions. They also said th ey only had one or two for real friends that they talked to in school. Girls often commente d on Chris wardrobe of only two outfits for school, her nappy hair, or her need for a pe rm like yesterday. She endured sexual innuendos from her male peers due to her early physical maturation, and according to Chris, was laughed in class if she read-aloud. Candy, who could pass for a second-grader in terms of stature and often had sunken eyes due to her me dical condition, was often teased by her peers. She was also grilled by her Black peers when she attemp ted to gain entrance into their community. According to Chris, Candy tries too hard to be liked. Their social positions in school might have influenced their desire for books that included nice people as cool people, ( Zoey 101 ) and books with superheroes who help save the world ( W.I.T.C.H. ). They could vicariously make it in school through the characters s een on TV and in their books. Frontin books One of the last areas of em powerment is frontin books For this particular sub-theme, the girls indicated that the value of the book was the book itself, rather than that storyline or topic. While I expand on this particular theme in Chapter 6, I feel it necessary to introduce this concept when talking about their book ration ales. According to Chris, Jaime, Jackie, and Alice, frontin means showing off in front of your friends or others. For some of the books, most of which were mass media books, the girls stated they merely wanted to own them and show them to others, while not providing others access to the books they fl aunted. Alice in particular wanted to inform as many of her peers as possible that she had basketball books such as Carmelo Anthony (Anthony & Brown, 2004) or the partial autobiog raphy of the singer Omarion. She would walk around with those books in her hand announcing what she had. According to Alice, those books were hers and she didnt wa nt anyone else to read them. On ly if they were nice to her

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175 would they be able to hold the books. Jamie and Cr ystal said they either read or looked at the pictures of the biographies of pop music icons Bow Wow, Destin ys Child, and Lil Romeo, but some of the other girls and the EDED director said they witnessed Jaime and Crystal frontin those books, not necessarily reading them. Morgan, on the other hand, prefe rred to flaunt the hardcover editions of the first three books of the Lemony Snicket series. She indicated that the hardback editions were special looking and will last a long time (final book selection interview). Within these books were folios that said This book belongs to ., whic h Morgan stated was the coolest part of the book. She indicated she wanted to select thes e to show everyone that I own these. Candy opted to select Lemony Snicket series books so she could get even with her sister. Her sister wanted the books but didnt have access to them In her book selection in terview she stated she was going to enjoy shoving them in her face and not lettin her have them. The girls emphasized books as status symbols. Books, histor ically and currently, convey social class, power, and status (Booth, 2006; Finkelstein & McCleery, 2005; Summers, 2005), as the girls indicated through frontin particular books. All of these books mentioned as books to fr ont are immersed in and reflect the popular culture of the girls ev eryday lives. They focus on successful singers and musicians the girls and their peers listen to on a daily basis, involve star athletes th ey watch on TV, or are the original print versions of current movies. Each of these cultural arenas is distributed through popular media outlets not only for children but also adults Music, sports, and movies are everyday topics which could conceivably be threaded through ev eryday conversations and could be tools for negotiation for other items or positions the girl s value. It seems logical that books, not necessarily considered a coveted item in popul ar culture but highly valued in school and

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176 mainstream society, would become emblematic of social status amongst their peers in school once they involved popular cultu re. In this particular st udy, not only do the girls possess something of scholastic valuea bookthey also possess something coveted by their peers: information and photos of their role models a nd artifacts of popular movies. With these books, the girls indicated they could competently navigate two worlds as a means of acquiring social capital and achieving academic and personal su ccess. At times, reading a book doesnt matter nearly as much as having a book. Book ownership, as capital, is paramount. Significance of the Girl s Stated Rationales The book selection rationale them es discussed in this chapte r introduce a range of motifs, some of which are described in Chapter 6, and will help develop an understanding of how access to culturally relevant literature shifts and reshapes the girls conceptions of reading and interactions with books. A review of the themes and the girls pr esence and absence within each theme and sub-theme is in Table 5-1. Each of the three themes and their respective sub-themes indi cates the girls desire for academic and social acceptance and security within cultural spheres which often define an individual through cultural and social acceptance. The girls appeared to solicit ways and means to not only look successful to other people but also feel successful about themselves, with differing definitions of success. For some, success meant reading with comprehension, for others success meant conversing with family members or their peers. Based on what they shared, the girls seemed to understand what they already possess in order to become successful and confident and what they feel they need to acquire in order to expand their capabilities and social finesse. What appeared rather striking was their demonstration that gaining knowledge and understa nding, when related to the printed word, is construed as a passive event. With the excepti on of one realistic fic tion picture book and the

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177 celebrity biographies on occasion, these girls cons idered books as transmitters of information. The girls do not actively create know ledge nor do they often transact with the text. While I did not observe the classroom instru ction of the girls, their comme nts about needing to find the correct answer in books and pass standardized te sts during my visits suggest their classrooms quite possibly embody a transmission approach to learning, especially in regard to reading. A transmission approach to books often decrea ses the motivation to read (Schraw & Bruning, 1999), which is quite disconcerting. Contrastingly, when the girls wished to seek connections with their family members or friends, the books became mere tool s, with the girls as the operators. The girls recognized the value and status of the books within different co ntexts and used that kno wledge to create social bridges towards those they wish ed to connect or reconnect with. As evidenced by Candy, they felt competent to attempt to enter different cultu ral peer groups through books. They also ran the risk of being rejected by their sisters if their sisters refused their peace offerings or talking sticks as indicators of developing more c onvivial relationships. For these girls, books potentially wielded different degrees of power, ranging from the academic to the social. While I do not wish to justify the girls selections of books from a psychological standpoint, I cannot discount the emotional, social and physiological change s girls experience as they begin to physically mature and grapple wi th the transition between elementary and middle school. The desire for independence o ccurs as children begin to form their identities. This desire often involves separation; however psychologists indicate that i ndependence also occurs within ones social network of loved one s, friends and other peers, and the larger society (Conger, 1991; Steinberg, 1993). Separation is so cially cushioned. Therefore, children feel the need to both

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178 distinguish themselves from and be accepted by ot hers. These needs and contexts seem evident in the girls stated rationales for their selected books. It seems beneficial to also consider the psycho-social influences upon childrens book selections. We must consider looki ng beneath the veneer (or cover) of blanket statements such as I liked the cover/ because it looks good, and delving deeper into how literary elements such as authorship, writing style, cove rs, and characters, could reveal an array of conceptions of and approaches to books and reading that fluctuate between the personal and social, subjective and objective. The girls rationales imply that we do not neces sarily just pick up a book and read it. For these girls, while the process of selecting the books typically last ed less than fifteen minutes, their rationales were numerous and illustrative of the intricacies of life. A lingering question remains: What actually happened once th e girls were in possession of their selected books?

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179 Table 5-1. Girls book ra tionales by theme Theme Sub-theme Girls present Girls absent Book access Accessibility and novelty Alice, Candy, Chris, Jackie, Jaime, Morgan Alondra School-based familiarity Alondra, Candy, Chris, Jaime, Morgan Alice, Jackie Media-based familiarity Alice, Alondra, Candy, Chris, Jackie, Jaime, Morgan None Connectivity to personal and social lives Literary life-worlds Alice, Alondra, Candy, Jackie, Jaime, Morgan Chris Establish and strengthen familial and peer relationships Alice, Candy, Chris, Jackie, Jaime, Morgan Alondra Learning about the world Alice, Alondra, Candy, Jackie, Jaime, Morgan Chris Empowerment Successful reading Alice, Alondra, Candy, Chris, Jackie, Jaime, Morgan None Models of success Alice, Alondra, Candy, Chris, Jackie, Jaime Morgan Frontin' books Alice, Chris, Jaime, Morgan Alondra, Candy, Jackie

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180 CHAPTER 6 THE GIRLS READING CONCEPTIONS AND BOOK INTERACTIONS While the girls book rationales encompasse d a variety of them es that addressed personal access, community connections, a nd instances of academic and social empowerment, their book interactions and co mmentaries revealed a distinct difference between their desire for the books and their interactions with these books. Over the course of seven months, the gi rls book interactions revealed beliefs that reading could bolster their social and academic success. However, the girls also defined books and reading as separate entities which when i ndividually enacted cultivated instances of engagement and disengagement. Books and r eading were not necessarily inseparable partners on some occasions. At times, books, as cultural objects, became the stories themselves rather than conveying the stories, and reading signified the ability to interpret both the written and social worlds (Friere & Macedo, 1987). In this chapter I detail the conceptual journeys of seven gi rls who experienced a myriad of emotions while in teracting with or distancing themselves from books. Their experiences, while not all pleasant, were indicative of lifes idiosyncrasies and demonstrated the continual inve stigation of how read ing and social justice initiatives are conjoined. The girls experi ences and commentaries also su bstantiated the importance of not only access to a variety of books of par ticular interest to children, but also the necessity for educators continual immersi on in self-reflection on how they construct literary worlds, the sociopolitical influences of those constructi ons, and the ultimate impact of such constructions upon students. Using Gees (2005) Discourse Analysis model, I determined three overarching motifs which helped answer my second question, How does access to culturally

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181 relevant literature reflect and reshape the girls conceptions of reading and interactions with books? These three motifs, reading as a routinized and punitive school-based practice the reductive nature of reading and books as conduits for personal relationships illustrate Hallidays (1975) claim that t he reality that the child constructs is that of his culture and subc ulture, and the ways in which he learns to mean are also those of his culture a nd subculture (p.143). There were some distinct conceptual shif ts among some of the girls. Access to and interactions with bo oks did not necessarily replace previously held conceptions. The girls experiences reinforced or reshaped existing conceptions in a recursive manner. Therefore I could not compartmentalize their conceptions into discrete categories and discuss their conceptions on linear trajectory fr om Point A to Point B. Instead I discuss girls conceptual reflections and transformations for the first two motifs. I then discuss each girls conceptions of reading and interactions with books for th e third motif. Within the stanzas included in this chapter, my stat ements are italicized and words included in the microanalysis process are in bold. A ny underlined words were emphasized by the girls. Reading as a Punitive and Routinized School-Based Practice Reading Defined? The girls included their school-based readi ng practices in their discussions about their prev ious and current reading experiences They initially portrayed reading as a functional act in which they were to successf ully master a set of skills (Cook-Gumperz, 1986; Willis, 1995) and perform well on standardized reading assessments. When asked what reading meant to the girls, the majority stated reading was solely a scholastic endeavor which involved only books, as indicated by Chris and Alices clarifying

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182 questions, You mean like reading books? or You mean what I do in school? After I responded with Whatever the word reading means to you, the girls independently offered images of teacher-directed activities such as round-robin reading, completing worksheets, answering comprehension ques tions, reading out of textbooks, which included their Success for All reading basals, and be ing forced to read stories of little interest. While the girls mentioned magazines, they said they didnt read them; they just looked at them. Some girls, such as Jackie and Alondra, seemed surprised by my question and engaged in some cognitive and perhaps social negotiation when responding. They appeared to grapple with what they thought I wanted to hear and what they wanted to say, as indicated below. Alondra: 78 Reading means that (1.0) um:::: 79 it means you have um:::: 80 when the teacher tells you time to rea:::d or read a textbook. 81 A textbook is kinda like a th ick book for reading class, 82 and reading reading you could uh::: read um:::: any kind of book 83 but really a textbook. (initial interview, March 9, 2006) Jackie: 43 Reading i::s::: lets see, umm (1.5) 44 I think that reading is something 45 that could be special for me to do. 46 And then it helps me, like, um::, I dont know. 47 It help me e::::z :, helps me. 48 The more I read, the better, well, 49 more I read, the better I write. 50 Itsso reading helps me learn 51 like OK if Im, I read a passage or something, ((leaning forward)) 52 well, put it like this Readins gonna be with you your whole life 53 so might as well find out how to read for your kids 54 and thats all. 55 So reading to me can be special 56 But its kinda just tests and doin worksheets and stuff. (initial interview, March 10, 2006)

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183 Alondra and Jackies use of hesitancy mark ers and fillers, such as uhs, ums, and elongated words, their repetition of verb s or gerunds such as means helps and reading, and their pronounced silence at the beginning of th eir responses indicate the act of inner dialogue reified through oral discourse (Bakhti n, 1986). The girls negotiated what reading meant to them through their utte rances, or the inner dialogue of what is being said or not said. After some initial he sitation, Alondra determined that a teacher and textbook are required for reading to occu r and that reading o ccurs in a classroom (lines 80-81). Alondra provided me with pri vileged information when she stated you can read any kind of book but then reve aled the unwritten policybut really a textbook (line 82). For Alondra, reading does not necessarily involve personal choice either in terms of time (line 80) or mate rials (82-83), although, according to Alondra, it was portrayed as such in school. Jackie, on the other hand, exemplified Ba khtins (1986) notion of heteroglossia, or multiple voices which are present in dialogue. Jackie used two different Discourses, school-based (formal) and conversational (inf ormal), to discuss what reading meant and could mean to her. She initially used Standard English to define reading (lines 44-45) and included a modified version of a phrase a nnounced daily by her teachers and principal, The more you read, the better you read, so read!(lines 48-49 ). However, she ultimately created a linguistic comfort zone, or her c onversational discourse, in line 52 when she leaned forward, elbows resting on her legs, and stated well, put it lik e this. Her use of more informal variants of words such as going and doing (lines 52, 56) or kind of (line 56) and her lack of hesitancy markers and fillers (e.g. uhs, ums) also attested to her consideration of me as a trusted indi vidual seeking knowledge from her.

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184 Jackies positioning of the two Discourses, formal/school-based at the beginning and informal/conversational at the end indica ted her desire to articulate what she should say to someone, especially if it was a former teacher who loves reading. Reading strengthens her reading and writing cap abilities. However, she opted for a more intimate discourse to convey her true feeli ngs. While reading is something she cant avoid (line 52), it could be special to her (l ine 55). She could help her future children, which is an aspect of intergenerationa l beliefs of literacy access and success among African-American communities (Gadsden, 1992, 2000) and working-class communities (Walkerdine, Lucey, & Melody, 2001). Parents, gua rdians, and elders st rive to ensure the younger generation achieves academic and social success and attempt to strip away the constraints currently in place. For Jackie, that success included reading (line 53). However, at the time, she was taking tests and completing worksheets, both of which she potentially considered meaningless because of her use of the adverb just to imply a diminished status of the action. When I aske d Jackie about her Disc ourse change during a member-checking session, she said she wasnt su re if she should tell me her real feelings, but decided to take a chance and see if it would be alright. Further confirmation of the embedded natu re of school within personal reading practices occurred when all of the girls ex cept for Candy and Alice expressed confusion when asked if they thought reading in sc hool was any different from reading out of school. The girls responses included Wha chyu mean reading out of school? Whats that? (Chris), and I dont get it. How do you read outside of school? (Jackie). For them, school and reading were synonymous. Alice did indicate she read at home; however her out-of-school reading consiste d of sitting down and I got a book in my

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185 face and reading at church for her upcoming confirmation. Reading for pleasure wasnt evident in her life at the beginning of the study. Candy was the only girl who clearly delineated between home and school-based r eading. Candy considers reading outside of school skimming or looking through a book. According to her, skimming is different from reading because it involves choice and she doesnt have to answer any questions. It is simply pleasurable. 177 Its fun to skim 178 because when Im skimming with my books, 179 or reading at home with my books 180 then I know that I pick out books that I wanna read. 181 Um humh 182 and then I dont have to do what the teacher tells me at home. 183 I dont have to answer any questions about every little thing in it. 184 My grandmashes not school-related 185 so she doesnt make me read books I dont wanna read. 186 Its also fun to cuddle up with my grandma before bed 187 and feel all cozy inside. (Candy, initial interview, April 13, 2006) Candys home reading experiences appear to be the antithesis of the other girls reading experiences both at home and at school. Skimming is pers onal and communal as she selects her own books, reads them for pl easure, and reads with her grandmother before bedtime. Candy clearly delineated between home and school reading and conveyed her disregard for school-mandate d reading when she distinguishes her grandmother from school (line 184). She also emphasized her literary freedom with her grandmother through her repetition of the phr ases I dont have to (lines 182-183) and she doesnt make me (line 185) when referencing her grandmother. Similar to Alondra informing me what a textbook was, Candy defined skimming as reading at home (lines 178-179). She, lik e Alondra, wanted to ensure that mutual understanding about reading existed between us. Cognizant of my position as an adult

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186 researcher still gaining entrance into her soci al and literary worlds, Candy invited me into her literary discourse community. In a fo llow-up interview with Candy, I accidentally used the term reading when I wanted to say skimming. I was still attempting to merge Candys reading horizons with mine. Candy, seemingly amused by my correction, responded with a smile, Its OK Miss Jennifer. I know its hard to use my words. You can say reading and Ill know what youre ta lking about. Its OK. Her distinction between her words and my words illustrates her awareness that we were operating with two different cultural constructs of reading and she was attempting to fuse our horizons. While I still wrestled with her multip le definitions of reading, Candy expertly code-switched and compensated for my lexical limitations. Candys linguistic adeptness and compassi on during my apprenticeship into her linguistic community, as evidenced above, wa s consistent throughout her narratives of skimming in subsequent intervie ws. Unfortunately her stance as teacher, facilitator, and informant disappeared when discussing school -based reading. In that context Candy described herself as a deject ed individual immersed in a castigatory atmosphere. Unfortunately, the other girls descriptions mirrored hers. Reading as a Punitive Endeavor The girls voluntarily discussed school-bas ed reading throughout their on-going interviews and spontaneous conversations. Oftentim es, the books borrowed during the study appeared to be catalysts for such di scussions. With the exception of Alondra who enjoyed her reading class, all of the girls explicitly or imp licitly discussed their reading classes as locales of literary imprisonment. Statements of habit and resignation, such as its always this way peppered Jaime, Candy, Jackie, and Alices recollections of reading comprehension and vocabulary exercise s. Additionally, statem ents of constraint

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187 or imperatives, such as you hafta or you gotta do this and they make us accompanied the descriptions of the activities. Allusions to prison also surfaced during our discussions, as indicated by Alices co mment when asked about how she felt about reading. And so how do you feel about reading? 200 I feel nuthin 201 The same that we do every day in school. 202 Can you tell me more about that? 203 It dont really matter 204 Its just sumem ya gotta do to get outta here. 205 You do your time 206 So you don 207 so if Im bored, I just read. 208 It looks like I be reading. (Alice, initial interview, March 9, 2006) This excerpt is indicative of how Ali ce referred to reading in subsequent interviews during the beginning of the study: reading was a habitual and meaningless activity. Her reference to the relative unimportance of reading in school for her (line 203), her doing time until she is released ( lines 204 and 205), and her illusionary act of reading (line 208) provide a deeper understanding of Alices earlier proclamation in Chapter 5 that she wanted to participate in a book study but not a reading study. Why volunteer to participate in an endeavor over which you have no control and believe unimportant? Her emotional disconnect from school-based reading (line 200) and her awareness of the possibility of an enga ging read becomes more pronounced in her discussion about reading about Carmelo Anthony. 01 Hey Miss J, that book ((Carmelo Anthony)) was good! Real good! 02 I read it like in one night! 03 For real? 04 For real 05a Man, like I missed reading about 20 pages in class today 05b cause I was so sleepy from readin this here book.

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188 06 Wow! 07 Yeah. (1.0) Hey, Im doin my readin responses on dese books 08 Im saying, Im not copying off the back of the book no more. 09 I actually read em They pretty cool too (Alice, spontaneous conversation, March 16, 2006) Alice subsequently discussed what sh e enjoyed and learned about Carmelo Anthony. In this instance, A lice actively sought me out to share her positive reading experience. Her pleasure in reading about Ca rmelo Anthony led to a night of little sleep and enthusiasm to authentically complete her r eading response. This scenario is in stark contrast to her previous desc ription of routinized reading exercises she was compelled to do if she was to matriculate, or get outta he re. In this instance, as well as other instances in her subsequent in terviews, books in which vested interests exist invigorated Alice to engage in reading. Candy also expressed pronounced boredom with school-based reading and referred to prison during her first interview. She described reading long boring pages, continuously looking at the clock wondering when reading will end, and compared her experience in reading class to her dad waiting to be released. Like four of the other girls, one of Candys relatives was incarcerated during the st udy, and she often spoke of him and her visits with him in prison. Candy s reference to reading class as prison and herself as an inmate shows the interplay be tween her official and unofficial worlds (Dyson, 2003a, 2003b). In order to effectively co nvey her feelings, she recalls personal experiences that both she and I re cognize as significant to her. Morgan offered a different perspective on the imprisoning state of reading during our first on-going interview whic h included some discussion about Sharon Creechs (2003) Love That Dog Morgan read parts of Love That Dog fluently and

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189 indicated she comprehended the text by discussi ng the text with me after reading it aloud. However, she began our conversation as follows. 01 Do I have to talk about every book I get? 02a No, not at all. Id like to know what happened with you and the books, 02b but if you dont want to share 03 OK good. 04 Why dont you? 05 I always have to answer every question about every book I read. 06 Sometimes I just wanna be alone ya know? 07 OK. Sure. 08 Its like the spotlight is like on me like like the shows on TV. 09 Always asking questions 10 Its like no one trusts us. 11 It kinda makes me feel like um:: uh um::: like a criminal 12 Really? Oh my! 13 Yeah. (Morgan, on-going interview, March 30, 2006) Morgans depiction of herself as a crimin al suspect being interrogated and presumed guilty by individuals such as law enforcement officials (lines 08-09) is a reminder of the Initiate-Respond-Evaluate (IRE) protocol (Lindfors, 1999; Mehan, 1979) where the teacher initiates a question, the student res ponds, and the teacher ev aluates her response as either correct or incorrect. For Morgan, this mode of questioni ng every time she reads (lines 01-05) is distrusting (line 10) and accu satory (line 11), with her crime potentially being her difficulties in reading and her marginalization in school. Noticeably absent from Morgans comme ntary, as well as the other girls commentaries were recollections of educat ional discourses such as instructional conversations (Tharp & Gallimore, 1993), dial ogic inquiry (Wells, 1999 ), and literature discussion groups (Gambrell & Almasi, 1996). All of these discourses involve interactions where different and multiple perspectives are offered and valued during meaning-making processes (Almasi, 1996; Br uner, 1986; Langer, 1999). Instead, the girls

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190 described instructional experiences similar to more traditional forms of instruction where skills are emphasized for struggl ing readers (Allington & Walm sley, 1995). In fact, just as the girls sought confirmation that they could borrow mass media books (Chapter 5), they wanted assurances that they would not receive any trouble or consequences if they spoke truthfully about their thoughts a bout reading and books. Thankfully, they had stopped seeking assurances by the end of the study. Paying particular attention to Gees d or language in use, I noticed the girls frequently used verbs that connoted involunt ary action such as force or make when referring to their school-based reading practices. They also repeatedly used modal verbs of necessity, such as have to/hafta, need to or got to/gotta. These modalities referenced assigned readings, types of books mandatory library check-outs, reading responses, and answering comprehension ques tions or treasure hunts in their basal readers. The girls continued use of these m odal verbs represented th eir lack of agency and pleasure in their reading practices and emphasized coerced practices. School does impart and control school curriculum to some extent (Shannon, 1995; Slattery, 1995); however, continual references to forced read ing which elicited anger, boredom, and sadness (all terms used by the girls to desc ribe how they felt about their school-based experiences) are disconcerting. These referenc es also suggest how school-based reading initiatives, while well-intentioned to incr ease reader engageme nt, might be counterproductive. If students feel forced to read ag ainst their will, thei r motivation is likely minimal. It is interesting and perhaps encouragi ng to note the relative decline of modal verbs of necessity as the girls progresse d through the study. The girls individual

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191 freedom to interact with their books a nd the various communicative opportunities afforded the girls may have contributed to this reduction. As th e girls continued to interact with books, social issues replaced school issues. Table 6-1 indicates the frequency of use of such verbs throughout the studys duration for each girl. Table 6-1. Frequency of modal verbs of necessity for each girl Girls Initial interview Ongoing interviews & conversations Final interview Alice 22 6 1 Alondra 8 5 0 Candy 17 7 5 Chris 12 8 2 Jackie 2 3 1 Jaime 10 2 5 Morgan 8 5 2 Note that Jaimes increased use of thes e modal verbs from her on-going to final interview sessions is a result of her comp arisons of her book and reading experiences during this study and while in school. Jaime di scussed how she enjoyed not having to do a reading response on the books and how she di dnt have to pick bor ing books that ole people would want read but not me like she does in school. Subverting the Locus of Power through Book Access Access to a variety of books em powered some of the girls during the study. Midway through the study, some of the girls began expressing anger and frustration with their school reading policies. During the member-checking se ssions, the girls attributed their instances of critical thought about their sc hool practices to their ability to select and interact with the books in this study. While discussing Locomotion (Woodson, 2004b) in April, Alice began expressing some of her frustrations with reading.

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192 288 Man-you know 299 reading been controlling me for all dese years 300 Now Im in control 301 I dont hafta answer any your questions 302 or talk about nuttin a bout dese books. 303 I can just have em 304 You said so. 305a Whoa! Wheres this coming from ? Yes. You dont have to answer 305b any questions. Whats going on? 306 Nuttin. Im just tellin you how it is. 307 O:::K:: (April, spontane ous conversation, April 19, 2006) Alices emphasis on her new-found agency or empowerment, defined as control (line 300), is compelling. In this excerpt, Al ice reminded me of th e studys stipulations and how she was in no obligation to answer any questions. While Alice may not feel completely in control, based on her emphasis th at I told her she didnt have to answer any questions (line 304), she does assert that she can and will possess a book with no strings attached (line 301). For Alice, it is reading that has cont rolled her, not books (line 289), and through her participation in this study, she challenged th at locus of control. Alice and the girls are lifetime members of the high-stakes assessment generation who have only experienced public school throug h the eyes of the NCLB legislation and the Reading First national initiative. Thes e legislative acts focu s on improving reading instruction through scientifica lly-based reading research pr ograms (U.S. Department of Education, 2006). According to NCLB, passing high-stakes reading assessments determines third-graders retention or gradua tion and all students as sessment scores play a significant role in determining a schools social and academic worth. These assessment scores help determine a schools gr ade, which is linked to federal financial assistance, not to mention the community pe rception of the school as an A or D school. Given the inordinate amount of pressure felt by school administrators, faculty,

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193 and students to pass high-stakes assessment tests with severe consequences upon failure (Allington, 2002; Kohn, 2000; Lent & Pipkin, 2003) Alices feelings are understandable albeit worrisome. Alice, Chris, Jaime, Jackie, and Morgan consistently referred to FCAT reading practices during their interv iews and conversations. Those references suggest their teachers devoted an inordinate amount of in structional time to prepare for the FCAT and curtailed the girls opportunities for pleasure reading or even autonomous book selections. The girls could not be with books, as Jaime, Morgan, and Jackie stated they especially enjoyed about the study, but had to do readingand do it well. Chris further illustrates the power of book access to foster critical awareness about her school-based reading practices with her diatribe wh ich greeted me at the EDEP entrance. 03 I get so mad 04 Every day on the announcements 05 ((principals name)) says after lunch menu, 06 The more you read, the bett er you read, so keep reading 07 I get so angry! I mean, do they have to say it every day ? 08 Why they be pushin' it? 09 We get it all the time. 10 But they got no books to read. 11a How we supposed to be readin when they got no good books to 11b read? 12 I just wanna not read 13 I be gettin so angry 14a always pushin' sayin' read, read, read ((speaking in a teachers 14b voice?)) Sayin Whatcha' doin'? Nothing? Then Read! ((grunts)) 15 I hate it. I hate them. (2.0) 16 But we got books from you 17 We kinda got a chance (Chris, spontaneous conversation, April 11, 2006) Chris school based reading policie s, which included daily words of encouragement to read (and to pass the FCAT reading assessment), and Chris minimal

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194 access to reading materials clearly resonate d in her monologue of frustration. Chris mentioned anger three times (lines 3, 7, 13) and hate twice (line 15), used the verb pushin twice (lines 8, 14a), and hinted at rebellion by not reading (line 12). She also questioned the school practices which remi nded her daily to read but offering few opportunities to read what she can or wants to read (lines 10-11). Chris even implies that her school is setting her up for failure (lin es 10-11, 16-17). A sense of injustice accompanies her conception of reading as a puniti ve endeavor, and this sense of injustice formulated as she participated in this study. Through the power of words, via book access, Chris, like Alice, rose up (Christensen, 2000) and challenged instituted practices at school that contributed to her marginalization. Chris mentions in her final interview that because of this study she knows there are books out there, just I didnt know about it. I never seen books like these. The books she particular enjoyed we re various and included the Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs and Geronimo Stilton series, which, based on her reading them aloud to me, were on her instructional or independent leve l of reading. Her aunt substantiated Chris (and her) unawareness of and delight in finding culturally relevant books such as Hewitt Andersons Great Big Life (Nolen, 2005), Our Gracie Aunt (Woodson, 2002a), and Girls, Keep Climbing (Richards, 2006), when she asked where I found such amazing books for Black children that I wish I had had growing up. Chris aunt then shared that she had asked Chris teacher to find books similar to those so Chris could bring them home to read to the family. What was so startling about Chriss co mmentary about her schools policies and book access is that she rarely expressed anger during the study. While she had previously

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195 questioned the reading response policy in March, her inquiry did not have same degree of passion and conviction as this one. In fact, Chri s, a quiet girl on a ny given occasion, tends to withdraw from conflict or wh en she feels angry. Her aunt said that Chris is a girl of few words, but when she speaks, she needs some one to listen. In this particular instance as well as others, Chris felt compelled to sh are with me, an outsider to the school and a link to accessible books, her concerns. Her preference for everyday language, as indicated by her use of AAVE, which sh e did not often use during the on-going interviews, confirmed her pa ssionate commentary as heartfelt and spontaneous rather than contrived for an anticipatory audience. Morgan and Jaime also mentioned in their final interviews the democratic and emancipating nature of this study for them. For Morgan the best part of the study was that I get to pick out the books I want instead of, like, the te achers assigning them to us. I could like vote for the books. Jaime concurre d with Morgan in her final interview, I really liked how we got to pick books and th en be alone with them. We could be free with them. That way they were for us Chris, Morgan, and Jamie all hint at the need for personal and pleasurable reading that begins with the availability and active selection of the books. Books were to some degree emancipatory. Considerations of Book Access as an Agent of Change Alice, Chris, Jackie, Jaime, and Morgan conceptualized reading as primarily a compulsory act performed in school with mandated textbooks and stories of little personal significance. As documented in Chapte r 4, prior to this study their recreational reading choices for home reading were ei ther selected by the teacher or couched amongst a minimal selection of books deemed b oring by the girls. For these girls, previous reading experiences generated feelings of apathy or animosity. The girls likened

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196 themselves to incarcerated individuals or felt penalized for their current reading capabilities, and were biding their time before they got out or were released. They were obedient and obliging to their schools reading requests; how ever, after gaining access to books the girls indicated they desired, some of them began to verbally criticize their schools reading policies and practices a nd question the viability of the systems in place. The books appeared to stimulate or o ffer opportunities to honestly talk about their dissatisfaction with readi ng education at school. The girls use of everyday language, as oppos ed to Standard English, or as Alice said, speaking proper, indicated their gen uine attentiveness, interest, trust, and comfort in speaking about reading and their boo k experiences. The girls felt comfortable asking for assurances that their responses would not result in punishment. They also felt comfortable posing rhetorical questions about why their sc hool demands daily reading but fails to provide them with a variety of reading materials. Such questions reflect an awareness of the injustices they believe present in their school. If anything, the girls revelations document their dedication to their education despite their marginalization in school. The Reductive Nature of Reading Reading is Fluency Not only did m ost of the girls initially cons ider reading to be a habitual exercise with negative consequences in school, they also often described reading from a reductive perspective. With the exception of Alondra, w ho defined herself as a good reader because she knows a lot of vocabulary, every girl expl icitly or implicitly defined successful reading as fluent reading. Fluency permeated their responses when discussing their interactions with their books. The girls evaluated their read ing abilities based on fluency,

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197 which most defined as rate (fast) and accura cy (perfect). Their definition of fluency aligns with a popular definition of fluency as rapid, automatic, and accurate reading (Kuhn & Stahl, 2003; Perfetti, 1985; Stanovic h, 1986). It also reflects the current emphasis on fluency as the primary predictor of reading success, as defined by the National Reading Panel (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development [NICHD], 2000). While the girls initial definitions of reading were not exclusively related to fluency, they did indicate their school valued fluency as a critical determinant for successful reading. Table 6.2 provides an overvie w of the girls self-appraisal of their reading capabilities and the crit eria they used for their ev aluation. The self-evaluations and criteria used in the table are the girls actual statements from their interviews. Table 6-2. Girls self-evaluations of their reading capabilities Girls Reading self-evaluation Criteria used Alice I'm a better reader My flue ncy is way up there this year. Alondra I'm a good reader I read a lot of captions on TV and I learn a lot of big words. Candy I'm a good reader I sometimes can read the words fast enough and I have a lot of reading experiences. Chris I'm a reader I'm reading faster. Jackie Im a good reader I read and I read real fast. I sound good when I read. Jaime I'm a good reader I read perfect. No mistakes. Morgan I'm not that good of a reader I don't read fast. But I do read with expression. In reading class we read the words but not the stories.

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198 As one can see from the table, fluency is noticeably present and comprehension is noticeably absent from the girls concept of successful reading. Alice even used the lexical term fluency when defining hers elf as a good reader. For comparison purposes, a table indicating the girl s criteria and self-eva luation of themselves as readers at the end of the study can be found in Table 6-3 at the end of the chapter. Fluency remains an integral step in d eveloping effective and efficient readers (Allington, 1983, p. 561), and one of the primary goa ls of reading instruction in schools is to assist children in becoming fluent readers (Morrow, Kuhn, & Schwanenflugel, 2006/2007). Reading teachers are making a conc erted effort to improve their fluency instruction as a way of improving their student s reading comprehension, especially those designated as struggling readers (Fuchs, Fu chs, Hosp, & Jenkins, 2001). Additionally, the National Reading Panel Reports (2000) recommendation for intensified fluency instruction, and the advent of the Dynamic Indicators of Ba sic Early Literacy Skills ([DIBELS]; Good, Wallin, Simmons, Kameenui & Kaminski, 2002) fluency assessment administered within Reading First schools, ar e additional indicators of the current focus on fluency. Despite the well-intentioned efforts of educators to include a once overlooked component of reading instruction, fl uency is a means of developing proficient readers, not the ultimate goal of reading instruction (Allington, 1983; 2001). Perhaps educators have overcompensated for prior neglect and are designing fluency-oriented instruction based on a surface construct of fluency (Pikulski & Chard, 2005). Fluency, once considered accuracy, automaticity, and prosody, seems to have been reduced to a competition pitting student s against each other, with the winner being the person who correctly read the most am ount of words in the least amount of time

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199 Rasinski (2004). Resultantly, the girls cons idered themselves either good or bad readers based on their rate and accuracy, not whether they understood or even connected to the stories read. Reading continues to be an impersonal performance of skill rather than thoughtful literacy (Allingt on, 2001) for these girls. While every girl except Alondra spok e of fluency on multiple occasions throughout the study, Alice appeared the most in fluenced by the need to become a fluent reader. Fluency permeated Alices official and unofficial worlds. When recollecting a previous reading experience which involve d her mother, Alice shared the following 200 I was reading this book 201 And I went on my mommas job 202 And she said, um, I can be done with that in 20 minutes 203 And I said, I said, I can too 204 but I just be ((laughing)), I just be too busy, 205 so I cant read it that much, 206 so I gotta read it day by day. 207 And she said, Oh, I thought you be reading real slow 208 And I was like, No, I dont read slow 209 I got fluency. ((smiling)) 210 Yeah. 211 Fluency. (Alice, initial interview, March 2, 2006) While Alices narrative could have involve d any type of reading experience, she chose to share a dialogue of her and her moth er which held an air of competitiveness (lines 202-208) based on ones reading rate. Even her last three statements, I got fluency. Yeah. Fluency (lin es 209-211), punctuated by deliberate silence in between each line and accompanied by a smile, appears poetic and contains an element of satisfaction. Those three lines exemplify tonal semantics of AAVE (Smitherman, 1977), which emphasize particular sounds in order to convey importance. In this particular

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200 instance, fluency, hence, school-based disc ourse, helped define Alices out-of-school, familial reading experiences. Alice, cognizant of the schools emphasis on fluency as an indicator of reading success, also bore the respons ibility for ensuring that he r younger siblings did not experience trouble in school. While discussing her interactions with Thats So Raven books Alice shared how concerned she was for her brothers and sisters reading performances. 98 My brother. He reads this one to me. 99 Hes not a readin person 100 But I try to let him read to get his fluency up 101 Cause his fluency is very low an he in the fourth grade. 102 An I just have to read and read 103 And den I read to him 104 To try to figure out to tell him how fast he need to read. 105 Ya gotta have good fluency 106 In school thats what we always talkin about. 107 And he like Raven. (Alice, on-going in terview, March 28, 2006) Alice, committed to helping her brother succeed in reading, believed fluency, or reading fast, was the critical factor for su ccess in school. Acknowledging his difficulty in reading based on his reading rate (lines 99, 101), Alice modeled the reading process for him. However, in doing so, she engaged in multiple re-readings (line 102) which could also benefit her (Faust & Glazer, 2000; Nist 1996; Samuels, 1997). Alice is genuinely striving to ensure that both she and her brother are academically successful. From her point of view, their reading rates constituted their success, not understanding. Literature discussions or even basic comprehension ques tions did not enter th eir experiences with these particular books. Her adoption of school-based discourse, as evidenced by her repeated use of formal terms (fluency; lines 100, 101, 105), her validation of her

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201 approach (line 106), as well as her reiteration of what appears to be a school mantra You gotta have good fluency! (line 105) reinforc es her commitment to both reading and school. Alice shared at least three additional instances of fluency-related discussions and behaviors at home throughout the study and mentioned readin g to her sister to help ensure her sister avoids trouble in school. Chris and Jackie described similar activities with their younger relatives in their on-going interviews. When reviewing the types of books Alice, Chris, and Jackie chose to read to their younger relatives, the majori ty of the books were mass media books such as Thats So Raven or non-fiction books about famous athlet es. According to the girls and indicated by Alice (line 107), these books were chosen because their relatives were familiar with and enjoyed either the TV shows or the athlet es. When thinking about the possibility of a reciprocal relationship between comprehe nsion and fluency (P ikulski & Chard, 2005; Samuels, 2002), it is interesting that the girl s consciously chose books with familiar plots or storylines and engaging topics for their younger siblings and cousins. Their familiarity with either the episodes or the athletes woul d enable them to focus solely on reading the words accurately and quickly rather than attending to the plot. This then complicates the notion of fluency contributing to comprehension and vice versa by brin ging in the social context and personal schemata of the individuals reading. To further illustrate the pervasiveness of fluency, Jackie, Chris, Morgan, and Jaime re-enacted a fluency session during one of my EDEP visits in March. While I was speaking with Alondra, the girls replicated a fluency assessment form on a white board, complete with a box for errors, time, and copied the first couple of pages of the picture book Freedom School, Yes! (Littlesugar, 2001). They then requested my presence to

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202 observe their fluency performances. They modeled the fluency assessment to perfection, including the introductory scri pt a teacher often reads. Although not every girl could read the excerpted passage fluently, all of th e girls were proud of their accomplishments and sought my acknowledgement and praise th at they were competent individuals who could participate in literacy activities with immedi ate success. They asked me how they did, if I was impressed with their abilities to read fast, and if this was something I wanted to videotape to show others. Jackie, Morgan, Jaime, and Alice also w ould ask me if I wanted to time them reading aloud to see if th ey were reading fast eno ugh or good enough, and Candy spoke of her classmates laughing at her and even bullying her if she didnt read their basal story fast enough. I better understood th eir rationales for thin or short books mentioned in Chapter 5 when the girls indicated they used those types of books for their own fluency practice. Recalling the girls we re considered marginalized or struggling readers and professed an avid distaste for a nd perhaps distrust in reading, I was impressed by the diligence and desire to become succe ssful readers. However, their operational definition of a successful reader seemed rest ricted to fluency and barren of vocabulary development, comprehension of characters and plot, personal connections, and lively discussions. Knowing that, one can empathize with Chris who said I try to read fast enough but I still have trouble. I dont get it. Why? Modes of Questioning In addition to initially defining reading as an activity which involves speed and accuracy, the girls conveyed beliefs that read ing requires little t hought and that reading responses are simply retellings. These beliefs were reified during their on-going interviews as they responded to my ques tions. Our reading hor izons, or reading

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203 schemata which are formulated by our socio-hi storical experiences, clearly resided in different referential spheres. This was tr ue for each of the girls; however, Morgan, Alexis, Jackie, and Jaime seemed to be affected the most. Even though I had piloted my open-ended questions on struggli ng readers in past large and small scale studies with struggling r eaders, particular questions such as What kind of experiences did you have with th is book, or What came to your mind when you are reading the book? caused quite a bit of consternation. I was met with physical expressions such as furrowed brows, wide-e yed looks, and frowns. The girls verbal responses to these questions during the months of March and April included some of the following statements. My teachers ask me what I learn from it, but they dont say what is in my mind, what I think. Can we talk about something else? (Candy) We dont talk about books. We do our r eading responses and answer questions about the book. What do you want me to say? (Chris) What you said dont make any sense. What does my experience or feelings have to do with the book? (Jackie) These questions are hard! No one asks us these kinda questions. I dont know if its right. Can I ju st tell you about the book? (Jaime) The girls were quite honest about their inexperience with conversations. They felt confused or uncomfortable about discussing thei r aesthetic experiences with text and they wondered about the relevance of their personal responses to the act of reading or even book interactions. Their familiari ty consisted of efferent r eading with the intent to correctly answer comprehension questions or correctly retell the story. Reading or even talking about books outside the domain of reco llection was initially inconceivable, as evidenced by their use of no one and we dont ~. Both the girls and I seem to have

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204 been members of different communities of reading practices (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Smith & Wilhelm, 2002). Yet the incomprehensibility of my re quests for their personal comments and opinions about the books did not necessarily result in the girls explicit avoidance. With the exception of Candy, who s uggested we change the topic to something she was knowledgeable about, the girls responded w ith their own inquiries. They sought understanding about the relevance of my questi on to their previous experiences and even asked what I wanted to hear from them. Th eir inquiries suggest their desire to gain entrance into a different community of readership that was an integration of what they knew and what I knewa fusion of horizons. Because of the girls unfamiliarity and stat ed discomfort with my initial questions, I welcomed the girls retelling of the books they had read. I also modeled what I meant by experiencing books or connecting to the book through clarifying statements or sharing how I or other children their age might respond to books. While Alondra, Chris, and Candy opted to consistently respond in the form of retellings, two of the girls, Morgan and Jackie, claimed ownership of the interv iew process on four separate occasions by switching roles with me and becoming the in terviewer after they had completed their retellings. They asked me to not only retell the stor ies of books they had selected (their horizons) but also asked simila r questions to mine about my experiences, feelings, and personal thoughts (my horizons) of those books. Whether the role reversals were for me to experience what they experienced when I asked questions or an attempt to determine how to respond correctly to my queries is unknown; however, over time, the girls

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205 commented less frequently about the types of questions and provided both retellings and personal connections. Morgans efforts to join the reading co mmunity I had created through my mode of questioning caused conflict within her school -based reading community toward the end of the study. During one of our interviews Morgan asked if I could just ask her what the books were about. While she thought the ques tions I asked were kinda cool and different she had begun to respond to books in class as she would respond to me and was getting them wrong. She was becoming confused about how she wanted to respond and how she should respond, and she wanted to eliminate her confusion. Even though I agreed not to ask those particular questions as follow-up questions after her book retelling, Morgan and I unfor tunately did not engage in any subsequent interviews. When I asked to speak with her, Morgan told me she didnt want to talk about the books and cited being tired or having t oo much reading homework to do. The experiences depicted thus far in this chapter can often be found in articles about adolescent readers, of ten male, who are perceived or portray themselves as disengaged or alliterate readers (Alv ermann, Hagood, Heron-Hruby, Hughes, Williams, & Yoon, 2007; Brozo, 2002; Smith & Wilhelm, 2002; Wilhelm, 2001). The frequency of narratives concerning struggling male adolescents reading experiences is logical since an overwhelming number of school-aged males are placed into remedial reading classes and consistently under-perform on standardized reading assessments when compared to females (Brozo, 2002). Additionally reading can be a socially prescribed activity geared toward females (Brozo, 2002; Millard, 1997; Pidgeon, 1994; Willinsky & Hunniford, 1993). However the individuals within this narrative are elementary-aged females and

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206 they are experiencing what education researchers have distinguished as adolescent perceptions and behaviors. Wh ile Im not advocating an extr apolation of seven girls to the entire school-aged female population, I be lieve it is signifi cant that literacy researchers findings related to adolescents perceptions of reading are similar to the perceptions articulated or demonstrated by th ese elementary-aged girls. Since elementary school has been purported to be last frontier for engaged learning based on exploration and inquiry, and any subsequent literacy learning in secondary school lacks pleasure due to an emphasis on competencies (Williams, 2004), I am concerned about the girls articulation of experiences that exclude e xploration and inquiry and emphasize skillbased academic literacy. The third motif, books as conduits for personal relationships also elicits concern about the lasting eff ects of the current de-emphasis on culturally relevant literature in scho ols (Cassidy & Cassidy, 2005/2006). Books as Conduits for Personal Relationships While the girls discourses during the first half of th e study consistently conveyed reading as a punitiv e and reductive experien ce which often lacked personal connection, their discourses during the s econd half of the study indicate d conceptual shifts about reading and offered different pe rspectives about books and th eir association to reading. Increased opportunities to spend time with books lead to more frequent conversations outside the realm of school. The girls began describing books and reading as tools which were both social glue and social dividers (Dolby, 2003, pg. 258). They also reinforced previously stated sentiments during their book selection interviews that books and reading could serve as opportunities to understand the self and society. In Chapter 5 and the first half of this chapter, I presented the girls collectively under each theme or subtheme to indicate th e threaded commonalities of the girls

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207 rationales and experiences with books. However, for this particular theme, books as conduits for personal relationships, I feel it is more benefici al to discuss each girl individually. Like reading re sponses, establishing relations hips are personal endeavors which are couched within particular social and cultural environments. While all of the girls considered books as artif acts or tools, how they wiel ded the tools and what they wanted to build or tear down often differed. Because each girl emphasized different ways of developing or distancing relationships or connections with themselves and others, I believe individual descriptions would honor their individual approaches to books and reading. At the end of this section, I will discuss what overlapping features existed between the girls. Establishing Power and Solidarity: Alices Book and Reading Experiences Referenced earlier in this chapter, Ali ce spoke of how this study had enabled her to take control of her reading process, wh ich had controlled her for m any years. She further conveyed her sense of new-fo und power in her discussions of her book experiences. During the study, A lice publicly proclaimed he rself the gatekeeper of books she had specifically requested for the study that represented her interests, such as the professional basketball athletes, or any book that particularly personally resonated with her, such as Jacqueline Woodsons (2004b) Locomotion. Alice reminded the other girls and me with a stern You know dese my books! on at least eight separate occasions that certain books were unatta inable/untouchable because she had called em. She shared stories with me where she would promise a friend shed share her books with her only to forget and return the books without sharing them. She also refused to return books, such as O (Grandberry, 2005), citing both her desire to re-read it and because others wanted access to it.

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208 Alice seemed to relish her ability to c ontrol what books others could gain access to, even her family members and neighbors. She often laughed or smiled when she spoke of her rejection of others requests to borrow or look at the mass media books and clearly enjoyed her status as a literary gatekeeper The following example illustrates her joy in being in control of particular books. 174 Hey you wanna hear what happened? ((smiling widely)) 175 Sure! 176 Well, I told my mom about the book ((O)) 177 and she wanted to take a look at the book. 178 I told her Id take a picture of it for her ((still smiling)) 179 and she said For real? 180 and I said yeah. 181 I told her this was my book 182 but Id let her have pictures to see what she be missin. ((laughing)) 183 My aunties friend wanna get a picture of dis book, 184 so I took her one. 185 But I got the book. 186 They just got some ole pictures. 187 I got the book. ((laughing)) (Alice, on-going interview, April 20, 2006) Alice demonstrated her command of not only sharing the story but also the events which created the story from the onset. She invited conversation by tapping into my curiosity and accompanying her invitation with a smile (line 174), something she rarely did during the study. Alice focused on how she teased her mother with O (Grandberry, 2005), a book which chronicles the life of Omarion, a young and popular R&B musician both she and her mother indicated they love on a couple of occasi ons during the study. Alice possessed the book but her mother and au ntie were privy only to selective photos of the book taken by Alice. Just as adults have determined what books Alice could experience or read in the past, Alice determin ed what her mother could experience. Based

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209 on her continual smiles and laughter throughout her narrative, Alice relished her newfound role in this pa rticular situation. Alice also indicated her sense of power and control through her repetition of I got the book, (lines 185, 187) and her abilit y to tell (lines 176, 178, 181), her mother and her aunties friend that she would let them have reminders of what they were missin (line 182). These reminders were poor replicas of the original which she possessed, judging from Alices use of the words just and ole (line 186) between the statement I got the book (lines 185, 187). In this scenario, Alice cl early delights in her ability to restrict access to a cultural artifactan aut obiography of a very popular musicianto others who desire it. Furthermore, Alice expressed entrepre neurial behavior rela ted to the athlete biographies and other mass media books. She twice admitted to allowing her male peers borrow the books in exchange for comple ting her homework. However, according to Jackie, she sometimes received a failing grade on her homework because the answers were incorrect. Jaime, Morgan, Chris, and Jack ie further attested to Alices perception of the social value of particular books during my conversations with them. According to the girls, Alice fronted the basketball books around her classmates, carrying them around, showing them to people but not lettin anyone read it. They could just look at it and laugh at the pictures. The summer brought a new opportunity for Alice: becoming a literary broker. During our final interview over the summer, Alice mentioned selling her Lil Romeo book to a neighbor because it be old now. Hes ((Lil Romeo)) all grown up but they dont really know that. Beside s I had already read it. Now I be readin a newer book

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210 about Romeo that you got me and I got me some money. Alice also stated that she charged others a fee to borrow some of th e books she wasnt going to read; however, she did not state which books those were. Cognizant of the social value associated with mass media books, especially books about popular athl etes and musicians, Alice considered book ownership to be financially advantag eous. Not only did she gain access and ownership of books, she created opportunities which benefited others who also had limited access to books and economically benefi ted her. The appeal of a book is not always intrinsic; it is somethi ng to be viewed in context to the larger socioeconomic and sociopolitical surround ings (Hunt, 1991). In addition to exhibiting entrepreneur ial behaviors related to books, Alice conceived of books as bridges for familial communication. During he r initial interview and when speaking to her peers during my visits, Alice spoke of her bond with her grandfather. She described their experiences together, usually in reference to watching basketball games on TV or playing basketball. However, her mother and grandmother, noticeably absent from much of her conve rsations, became central figures in her narratives about her experiences with books such as Dear Mrs. Parks (Parks & Reed, 1997), Carmelo Anthony (Anthony & Brown, 2004), and Mr. Chickees Funny Money (Curtis, 2005). Despite her barrier to the book O Alices mother apparently read and approved of Carmelo Anthony and Mr. Chickees Funny Money which surprised Alice. Whenever Alice spoke of discovering her mother had read her books, she would conclude either wistfully or with incredulity An she actually read em! Alice also spoke of emulating her mother during her reading experiences.

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211 188 With these here books I would walk round the room 189 and not hear anyone ask me anything. 190 Is that what happened? 191 Yeah, a lot of em. Most of em. 192 Like the ones that all were all about basketball. 193 My momma do that too 194 I say Ma! and she dont hear me. 195 Then shell say Girl, you know I be readin my book! 196 and Im like Mmm Hummh. 197 So with these books I be doin the same thang 198 and we be laughin about it (Alice, final interv iew, August 28, 2006) In this excerpt, not only di d Alice indicate her engagement in the storylines (line 189) but she also enjoyed enacting similar reading patterns to her motherpacing the floor and being inattentive to ones surroundings because of her textual immersion (lines 196-198). In subsequent interviews or conversa tions, Alice stated she doesnt talk to her mother about the books themselves; however when discussing their similar reading behaviors, she felt good and was happy to talk about other commonalities she had to her mom, such as their favorite musicians, dance, and church. For Alice and her mother, the act of reading contribut ed to their relationship more than a books content. The books Alice borrowed also improved he r relationship with her grandmother. During her initial interview, Alice stated sh e felt distant to her grandmother and cited limited opportunities to interact with he r. However, showing her grandmother Dear Mrs. Parks (Parks & Reed, 1997) resulted in a sense of intimacy between the two. Dear Mrs. Parks is a compilation of Rosa Parks responses to childrens requests for additional information about her life or seeking her a dvice on a variety of topics. While not necessarily a history book, this text gene rated a discussion of her grandmothers experiences during segregation and the Civil Rights movement.

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212 250 I showed this Rosa Park book to my grandma 251 An we actually talked about it. 252 She said it was a good book, too 253 She tole me her experiences back then. 254 And we talked about how she ((Rosa Parks)) 255 did a lot for like us Black people. 256 We dont usually talk about stuff like that. 257 Weve been talking more lately. (3.0) 258 Um humh 259 Um, Im thinkin Im gonna give this book to my grandma. (Alice, on-going interview, April 25, 2006) Interestingly, while Alice typically restri cted her peers and adult family members from access to the books she desired, she offe red this book to her grandmother, someone whom she had indicated was emotionally distan t from her. Her grandmother approved of Alices gesture (lines 252-253) and shared pe rsonal experiences from an era rife with racial animosity and turmoil for African-Americans in the United States. Alices use of the word actually (line 251) a nd admission that such conversa tions were rare (line 256) indicated her surprise when her grandmot her accepted her physical offering (book as artifact) and symbolic offering (request for personal intera ction). She formulated a fictive kinship, or collec tive identity (Fordham & Ogbu, 1986) with her grandmother and their shared heritage through her use us Black people (line 255) and her references to both her and her grandmother as we instea d of I and she (lines 256-257). When asked about this statement during member ch ecking, Alice confirmed that she wanted to make sure I knew she was talking about her as a Black person and not as a child. This positive experience with her grandm other created conversations between her and her grandmother, as indi cated in line 257, which contributed to her decision to give the book to her grandmother (line 259). While Alice didnt share ev ery book she selected

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213 or borrowed with her grandmother, she told me she did think about what her grandmother might like to see with her, such as Julius Lesters (2002) Why is Heaven So Far Away On a separate occasion Alice spoke of how reading the Rosa Parks book assisted her in navigating the complexities of life, like in justice and how you can make education help you be successful in life. For Alice, access to culturally relevant books enabled her to assume a hierarchical position of power amongst her peers which pr ovided her with other academic benefits beyond the simple pleasure of ownership, such as completed homework, or extra money from book sales. Books also helped bridge familial relationships with her mother and grandmother that, based on Alices statements were previously distant and detached. These books paved entryways to renewed di alogue about their heritage as not only African-Americans but also as people who enjoy reading Obtaining Social Worth: Chris Book and Reading Experiences Like Alice, Chris considered books to be, in part, m eans of elevating her social status. Books improved Chris image as a st udent and reader to her teacher and she benefited from the books without having to phys ically read them. Chris previous statements about her book sele ction rationales, included in Chapter 5, continued in her two on-going interviews. 101 I got these books (( Quinnie Blue and Lies and Other Tall Tales )) 102 because Ms. T. asked me to bring in books like the other one. 103 What other one? 104 The Big Life one (( Hewitt Andersons Great Big Life )) with all the pretty 105 pictures of Black people 106 Oh, Ok. Why did she want those books? 107 Cause people in my class like books about Black people. 108 We like to hear her read em to us. 109 So thats why youre bringing them in? 110 Well, I wanna show her that Im good 111 I can do good in reading.

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214 112 These are good books 113 Theyre short enough to read in class 114 and then we all get to hear em 115 and I got them for her. (Chris, on-going interview, April 13, 2006) Chris class (line 107) is a special education class sh e transferred to when she misbehaved in school. During the study, Chris was a member of this class until the last few weeks of school. In these particular stan zas, Chris not only mentioned the appeal of and desire for books with Black characters, she indicated the pleas ure of read-alouds (lines 107-108). While Chris earlier indicated she was a good reader because she was reading faster, (see pgs. 18-19) she expands that definition here to include individuals who can identify good books and assist a t eacher in accessing those books.(lines 110115). In this case, a good book was one whic h included Black characters and appealing illustrations (lines 101-108), was short (line 113), and could be read-aloud in class. By serving as an intermediary between pe ople and books, Chris seemingly became a valuable member of her class. The books Quinnie Blue (Johnson, 2000) and Lies and Other Tall Tales (Hurston, 2005) also held personal interest for Chri s. Two weeks earlier Chris experienced some difficulty reading aloud and comprehending both books. By loaning her teacher these books, Chris would not only represent a good re ader, (lines 110-111) and help her class gain access to good books, (112-115), she would also enjoy stories which were inaccessible due to their level of difficulty. When I sought confirmation from Chris of my interpretation, she responded with a wi de grin, twinkling eyes, and shrugged shoulders. I interpreted her ge stures as an affirmation.

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215 Books also helped strengthen relationships between Chris and her family members. While Chris didnt mention the effect iveness of the books she selected as peace offerings for her sister (see Chapter 5), she did speak of r eading with her younger cousins. In contrast to Alice, Jaime, Candy, Jackie, and Morgan, who all initiated contact with their family members through books, Chri s cousins were the initiators in their book-based interactions. Duri ng her on-going interviews, Chri s spoke of her cousins as nuisances, consistently bugging her to read to them her nice books. However, by the second interview, Chris admitted reading to her cousins was beneficial for everyone. 260 Once I got some books I could read it was fun. 261 We had a good time together 262 Although she would start cryin if she didnt get to turn the page, 263 and then shed leave out. ( JG: Really? ) 264 but shed just come back ( JG:Um humh) 265 I could get to enjoy reading 266 and I didnt need to read fast. 266 We get along better after readin 267 Readin can be kinda fun. (Chris, on-going interview, May 11, 2006) The cyclical nature of Chris narrative, beginning with fun (line 260) and ending with fun (line 267), emphasized the pleasure Chris experience d during her shared reading time. Not only was it personally pleasurable to read books she could read (line 260), it was pleasurable to spend time with her little sister (lines 261, 266). Her use of ability statements (e.g. I could read, line 260; I could get, line 265) provides striking contrast to her earlier depictions of reading as constitutive of speed and her participation in a punitive, school-based endeavor. While sh e did associate readi ng with reading rates (line 266), her association reflected speed to be unnecessary for an enjoyable experience. There was even a hint of recognition of the potential pleasure of reading in line 265 when Chris stated I could get to en joy reading. Chris reiterated th e potential joy of reading at

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216 the end (line 267) and alluded to the mutual benefits of shared reading (line 266). Chris shared reading experiences with her younger cousins were the only occasions where she expressed to me a genuine joy for reading books. Extending the Self: Jaimes Bo ok and Reading Experiences Jaimes book experiences va ried slightly from Alice and Chris experiences. Unlike Alice and Chris, Jaime often shared her Bow Wow Beyonc and Destiny Child books with her friends and suggest ed that if they wanted acce ss, they could talk to me about settin up a different kind of girls club. She also shared Thats So Raven books with a boy she thought was cute because 43 hes a fan like me 44 and I kinda like him. 45 I let him see it because we dont have those books here at school 46 and I know hed like to see it. 47 But I wouldnt let em take it home 48 cause it was mine. 49 We arent like that just yet. (Jaime, on-going interview, May 25, 2006) When peers who were not Jaimes friends asked to see her books, she adamantly denied them access. 127 They would come up and askin to see the pictures 128 and I told them no 129 They didnt do nuthin 130 to deserve to see em. (Jaime, on-going interview April 26, 2006) Recall that Jaime ultimately wanted to be a famous singer and selected R&B and pop musician biographies to gain insight into the world of musical fame and fortune. For her, those books not only represented her interests, but also her desires. For Jaime, access to particular mass media books, wh ich were reflections of her id entity as a girl interested in music and popular culture, was a privil ege earned through trust and established

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217 friendships. Book access also symbolized her attempt to communicate with a boy of romantic interest (line 44). In each in stance, her peers read the book as a symbolic artifact, a physical representation of Jaime s self, as opposed to reading the book as a literary text. These books were social stories rather than literary stories, and only Jaime determined who had access. Like Chris, Jaime also bonded with her little brother through books. However, unlike Chris, Jaime consciously used books as the primary medium to develop her relationship with her brother. 43 When school was out 44 I was like really busy at my moms day care every day. 44 But when I got home Id say 45 John, Im gonna read you a bedtime story 46 and he was like OK, but can I choose it? 47 And he chose Bow Wow. 48 So you were reading Bow Wow to him? 49 Yeah. And we sat next to each other and I read that to him. 50a Then I started reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to him a few days 50b afterwards 51 No wait, I started reading Beyonc 52 Then I read that one (( Charlie and the Chocolate Factory )) 53 We had time to bond more cause we hadnt had much time to bond. 54 He could like get to en joy reading some more too. (Jaime, final interview, August, 24, 2006) Jaimes Discourse in this narrative is that of a mother and her interaction with her brother John is similar to th at of a nurturing parent-child relationship. Jaime told John that she would read him a bedtime story (line 45), but allowed him to choose his own book, something parents often do with their chil dren before bedtime. She then described an intimate setting where they sat side-by-si de (line 49) and over the course of a few days, experienced different texts. This scenar io evokes memories of being read to as a young child, which Jaime indicated in an earlier interview her mother used to do. Jaime

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218 also used bond (line 53) as a term of e ndearment and indicated reading experiences based on love could be enjoyable (line 54). As with Jaimes friends and potential boyf riend, mass media books were preferred texts to establish or strengthe n personal relationships; however in this instance, reading the literal and social stories associated with this text contributed to reader engagement. All of the books Jaime mentione d (lines 47, 50a, 51, and 52) we re either associated with musicians both of them enjoyed or a m ovie both had seen. My interpretation was confirmed during Jaimes last interview at her home where her and her brother talked about enjoying the same music and movies. Books situated within th e cultural spheres of pop cu lture were the preferred medium through which Jaime connected with others. Jaime did independently read books such as What Did I Do to Deserve a Sister Like You (Medearis, 2001) and spoke of how it reminded her of her relationship between her and her older sister; however, this particular book was of personal, not social, significance. For Jaime, the social connectivity of mass media books enabled her to personally orie nt herself among her peers while improving her relationship with her brother. Crossing Borders: Candys B ook and Reading Experiences Social orientation and family positioning permeated Candys discourse of her book experiences. However, unlike Jaime, whos e books were indices of the self for her peers, Candy considered books to be manuals on how to improve her family dynamics, as well as passports into her peer s cultural worlds. Books instructed her and others on how to successfully interact within their peer and familial worlds.

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219 Non-fiction books such as the Everything Kids Cookbook (Nissenberg, 2002) and Family Science (Markle, 2005) motivated Candy to interact with her grandmother and sister and create lasting memories. 100 These books were interactive and inspirational 101 Like I could do things with um other people because of these books. 102 Like, um, Family Science has the word family in it 103 thats a good word. 104 I really wanted my family better ( JG: Un hunh ) 105 and I thought we could read this book (( Family Science )) together 106 and do the experiments together without buying nothing expensive 107 Un hunh 112 So one night my sister came up and asked me Whats that youre reading? 113 and I said Its just Family Science 114 and she said Cool, can I look at it with you? 115 So we just looked at the experiments together. 116a And the next day we did some of the experiments together with stuff 116b around the house. 117 It was so much fun! 118 We got to do it together. 119 We got along better and I had a family again. (Candy, on-going home interview, July 8, 2006) As one of the only people Candy said she interacted with, Candys older sister Sarah played an important role in Ca ndys life. While at EDEP Candy sometimes wondered aloud what might improve her relations hip with her sister and help her family stop arguing. Candys intertextual application of the book title, Family Science to her family (lines 102-104) and her positive evalua tion of the word fam ily gives credence to her view that books, and reading, could have a positive effect on individuals, especially families. For Candy, the availability of books such as Family Science created opportunities for fun family-ori ented activities (lin es 115-119) which excluded arguments between Candy and her sister. They enabled the family to read together (lines 105, 115),

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220 work together (lines 106, 116a, 118), and b ecome a family again (line 119). For Candy, books united people previously divided. Candy, who identifies herself as White, extended her trust in books as mediators for interpersonal inte ractions with her peers. During our interactions at EDEP Candy shared that she was continually bullied, wh ich was confirmed by her peers and the EDEP director. Candy indicated her uncertainty of what to do because regardless of what she said or did, they still bullied her. Howeve r, upon spotting books with Black characters, Candy informed me she had a plan. She belie ved culturally relevant books, whether highquality multicultural literature or media-based literature, would pave the way towards her social and cultural eligibility in a commun ity in which she was a minority. Books, and their authors, were agents of change Award-winning multicultural literature such as Jacqueline Woodsons (2001) The Other Side and Karen Englishs (2002) Francie initially inspired Candy. Alluding to The Other Side Candy wished to cross the fence and get along with others. To just be girls no matter what skin color we are. She wanted the physical confirmation of a book that Black girls are like me. We can read, we help each other, and we can wear dresses. The only thing different is that we got different skin colors. Similarly, the TV-based comic book, SpongeBob SquarePants: Friends Forever (Hillenburg, 2003), reinforced Candys optimism that she could find a way to become friends with her Black peers. In the episodes included in this book, the divers e sea creature char acters constantly bickered but ultimately remained friends. According to Candy, the SpongeBob book made me feel special because it showed me I could be close to one of the Black people or

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221 person who is not my color. While the Black kids say they hate me, they might soon like me. It worked for Mr. Krabs and SpongeBob and theyre different from each other. Regardless of the book genre, Candy, situated in a position of Other, strove to contest her social identity and discover commonalities and connec tions between her and other individuals. She also sought confirma tion that her goals were achievable. Candy fervently believed she could gain friendships with those who expresse d dislike of her if she could learn, from literature, their cultura l commonalities. In this sense, literature operated personally and socially by provi ding children with a means to understand, affirm, or negotiate social relationships among peers (McGinley & Kamberelis, 1996, p.56). Children need not only to see themselves but also see others and the complexity of self and others within culturally situated contexts and ideals. For Candy the stories she read became maps of possible worlds (Bruner, 1986, p.69); the literary narratives linked her sense of self and her sense of others in her so cial world (p.69). Ruby Bridges experiences in Through My Eyes (Bridges, 1999) were also inspirational to Candy. After re-reading that book, Candy concluded Bridges, as an individual who had experience d prejudice, could serve as he r ally. She indicated wanting to write Bridges and ask her if she would put her in her next book due to the similarities between their experiences. 71 I got troubles like sh e did although its flipped. 72 Im White and the people who dont like me are Black. 73 But shed know what to do. 74 Shed understand my situation. 75 And then maybe she could tell them what to do. 76 They could read the book and 77 know that its wrong. 78 They dont need to treat me like this. (Candy, on-going interview, May 10, 2006)

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222 Candys narrative reveals her trust in books and authors as authoritative figures who children listen to and learn from. If she cannot eliminate bullying, perhaps Ruby Bridges, an African-American who also endur ed a similar type of bullying could instruct or guide children to treat each othe r respectfully. As indicated by the shift from I to she after describing he r situation (lines 71-73), Ca ndy assigned the responsibility of remedying the situation to Ruby Bridges, an adult from a similar cultural community to which Candy desired entrance. By writing a book, Bridges will tell them what to do (line 75) and apparently they will listen (line 77). Candy acknowledges the persuasive power of cultural authority within social contexts. Candy emphasized the social authority of texts to not only instruct her and her peers but also to take her on a journey of hope and optimism. Candys book experiences included an array of books as described in Chapter 5. During her on-going interviews, she expressed the importance of textual variety to her social success. 138 When I get into school 139 they expect me to read as much books as I can 140 so I can be eligible or be fit into that school. 141 Then I can talk to other people and get along with them 142 OK. So you read these books like The Other Side and SpongeBob to fit in? 143 I read for the fun of it 144 The fun of it? 145 Reading to be eligible can be fun 146 I get to think about all the frie nds Ill get after reading these books (Candy, on-going interview, July 8, 2006) In this particular stanza, Candy interw ove a formal/school-based Discourse (e.g. reading proficiency generates academic succe ss) with an informal/community-based Discourse (e.g. read widely for social eligibil ity and interaction). Sh e used both eligible and fit in. Her assertion th at her peers considered wide reading as the fundamental

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223 factor of social elig ibility (lines138141) alludes to Mark Dressmans (1997) discussion of reading and book preferences as performa nces. Childrens choices often enact the habitus, or material logic of their cu lture (p.319). Reading and books, often schoolsanctioned materials, as revealed by the girls sentiments in Chapter 5 and this chapter, were considered optimal channels for social access. Reading books ostensibly provided cultural knowledge rather than academic knowledge for Candy and therefore was enjoyable. What seems quite interesting is that th e media (music, TV, and movies) enjoyed by Candy and her peers are readily availabl e without the presence of books. Yet Candy entrusted books to help her solve her social problems. Merely conversing about music, dance, etc. without the pres ence of books didnt suffice. She had to consult books, via reading, to ensure success. Popular texts, such as mass media books, are often rejected by school officials (Marsh & Millard, 2000), yet they are imperative for Candy. Candy integrates the values of both the official world of school (books as tools of knowledge) with her unofficial world (popular culture as tools for social inte raction). From Candys perspective, books and reading should re sult in friendship (lines 145-146). Unfortunately, upon the conclusion of th is study, Candy had yet to solidify any friendships with her Black peer s and indicated in her final in terview in August that she no longer enjoyed reading or books as much as she thought she would. Theres a lot more work getting a book that I like that relates to others and that I dont have to answer questions about. Books can help and hurt you. But they mostly hurt you They remind you of things you dont want to remember. They hurt your heart. (Candy, final interview, August 28, 2006)

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224 Discovering books that are both personally a nd socially engaging is, as Candy indicated above, a difficult and perhaps daunting task. This is especially true if people hold different conceptions of books and purposes for reading. Books affect the soul as they elicit positive and negative memories. I cannot definitively say that the pain Ca ndy described in her last interview is from her failed attempt to navigate the social terrain of her peers through books. However, prior to this statement Candy spoke of the failed attempts to find Black friends after reading culturally relevant literature wh ich reflected her Black peers interests. She also spoke of reading books which evoked memo ries of her father and mother, both of whom she missed. While Candy found books that she could personally relate to and books she thought her peers would personally rela te to, those books ge nerated ill-feeling within Candy to the point that she felt hurt. Candys experience is a reminder of how a variety of books is not only important to learn different types of written discourse and academic knowledge, it is also important for the growth and happiness of the soul. Candy might benefit from finding books that enable he r to escape, or enter another world where she can engage in story which carries her be yond her own life and allows her to take a break from herself (Blackford, 2004, p.19). Desiring Cross-Cultural Understanding : Jackies Book and Reading Experiences The variety of books selected by Jackie throughout the study was not necessarily present in her discussions a bout her book experiences. Jackies discussions, dichotomous in nature, included only a handful of books, such as Greatest Stars of the NBA: Allen Iverson (NBA, 2005), The Real Slam Dunk (Richardson, 2005), and The Other Side (Woodson, 2001). Jackie either discussed th e mass media books, which she did not read but loaned to her friends and family member s, or she discussed books which she did read

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225 but didnt necessarily find a conversational partner for. He r discussions were situated within the cultural arena of her peers and c ousins (mass media) and the social domain of interracial relationships (multicultural lite rature). Despite the topical schisms (mass media/multicultural literature) in her discussi ons, both types of disc ussions attested to Jackies consideration of books and herself as purveyors of knowledge which should be shared in order to improve relations between Blacks and Whites. Books became platforms upon which Jackie co uld discuss her concerns about race relations. Her concern for increased racial harmony dominated her discourse about books and reading. In Chapter 5, J ackie revealed her surprise of and enthusiasm for books which reflected herself as a Black girl. During her on-going interviews, those books, such as The Hard-Times Jar (Smothers, 2003), enabled her to share with me her past experiences as a Black minority in a pre dominately White school which she attended a few years ago. 69 See, this books about, well, when I moved with my mom 70 I thought I wasnt gonna have any friends at ((schools name)) 71 Because its like a school wher e mostly like White people go. ( JG: un hunh ) 72 And I didnt think that like this one girl dat dere-73 --And she White too-74 And she and shes mean to me (JG: Oh my!) 75 And now I dont care or nuthin 76 cause I met a couple of other fr iends there and theyre nice to me 77 There was one girl there thats my color and her and I got along good. 78a And its just sayin that I was like afraid dat I wasnt gonna make any 78b friends at my new school 79a Gotcha. So why is this the part of your experience with this book that you 79b want to share? 80 Well this book talks about it. 81 I mean, no books talk about things like dat. 82 But this one kinda do 83 It talks about the hard times. (Jackie, on-going interview, March 30, 2006)

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226 Particular aspects of The Hard-Times Jar resonated with Jackie due to her parallel experiences. To provide context, The Hard-Times Jar involves an African-American migrant family who experience economic hardship which prevents them from purchasing anything extra such as books. Any money save d is placed in a hard-times jar. When Emma turns eight, she begins attending a pr edominately White school and experiences a classroom library for the first time. Within the story Emma describes her hesitancy to attend school, much less a school largely comp rised of White children. While the textual narrative centers upon Emmas economic hardsh ips and her desire for books, Jackies narrative focuses on one event in the bookher entrance into the all White world of public education (lines 69-71) and finding friends (lines 78a-b). When sharing the story with me, Jack ie expressed her concern and negative experiences as not only a new student but also a minority ( lines 69-71; 78a-b). She also evidenced life-text connectio ns (Cochran-Smith, 1984). At the beginning of lines 69 and 78a, she begins talking about the book (e.g. t he books about; its just saying), but then switches to first person-I. Her stor y is embedded within the textual story. The book spoke for her. Jackies persona l connection to the text increa sed its significance for her, which Eeds and Wells (1989) noted was common with fifth and sixth-grade students and Sipe (2000) documented with the read-a loud experiences of second-graders. While Jackie indicated her problem was re solved (lines 74-76), she stressed the importance of having books which reflected si milar experiences and concerns as her (lines 80-83). The hard times for Jack ie were neither economics nor finding books. Jackies hard-times were finding friends and a place in a community in which she perceived herself as an outsider in terms of race and experienced hardship (lines 70-73).

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227 The theme of race relations and the n eed for books to address this theme continued in April, when Jackie talks about another pict ure book she had selected and apparently read. 05 This book (( Freedom School, Yes )) is like that other one by that woman 06 Whos that person who writes, um, Jacqueline something 07 Oh yeah! The Other Side Yeah. 08 Um, its about like how Black people and White people get along. 09 I dont really see those kinda books 10 And we need those books round here. 11 For real. 12 We need to be readin such kinda books (Jackie, on-going interview, April 11, 2006) In this example, intertextuality, or the connections made betw een texts and/or the connections between texts and life (Cochr an-Smith, 1984; Short, 1992; Sipe, 2000), is ever-present. Just as Jackie noted similarities in E.B. Lewis illustrations, as mentioned in Chapter 5, she connected the historical fiction picture book Freedom School, Yes (Littlesugar, 2001) to The Other Side (Woodson, 2001) (lines 05-07). She compared books (line 05) and then united them by referring to both books (and perhaps others she read) as those kinda books (line 09), those books (lin e 10), and such kinda books (line 12). Jackie consistently evidenced her familiarity with and expertise in intertextuality through her cons tant comparisons of or refe rences to books, authors, or media and books. Jackie reiterated her interest in ra cial understanding, the absence of books addressing issues about racial interactions and understand ing, and the serious need for access to books, especially within her commun ity, in lines 09-12. Her inclusion of the phrase for real (lin e 11) indicates the seriousness and sincerity of her opinion. However, Jackie identifies a lack of audien ce or participants for a discussion on race

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228 relations when she revealed that her friends dont really seem to car e. Dont really care much. I aint never tole my friends about this cause this isnt something they, you know, talk about. While Jackie might want to discuss interracial experiences and help reduce cultural misunderstandings, the opportunities for discussion appear limited. Even when she gained access to books which address this topic, her discussion seems to end with her closing the books. As mentioned in Chapter 3, and reflecte d through the presence of bullying in Candys earlier statements, racial tensions permeated Jackies school environment. Jackie and Candy expressed a desire to minimize the racial tensions at th eir school through the printed word; however, they both stated to me they couldnt talk to one another because of mutual dislike or perhaps cultural misunde rstanding. For both girls, the Word as power (Sims, 1982) and in the form of a book, served as a safe and indirect representative of their experiences and their desires. What they seemed to want was a facilitator to bridge them to others through a disc ussion of a books content. Jackies experiences and expressed desire s remind us that children do identify and wish to read and speak about racial tensi ons. Books provide an initial venue for such discussions; however just as book access may not be enough for improving childrens reading proficiencies (Allington, 2002) it is also not enough for societal contemplation and negotiation. Opportunities for authentic dialogue in the classroom and beyond must accompany book access if engagement in the printed word and the imprinted world is to occur. By partnering book access with discussion, children will be able to discuss the intersection of race and culture. Reading and discussing culturally relevant literature

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229 encourages personal narratives, self-det ermination and representation, and enables progress towards a more ju st society (Ching, 2005). Uniting the Self with the Natural World: Alondras Book and Reading Experiences Unlike Alice, Candy, Chris, and Jaim e, w ho used books to establish interpersonal relationships with other people, Alondra c onsidered books as vehicles to help her establish a relationship between herself and the natural world. She wished to better understand weather phenomena such as to rnadoes and sought to understand the connections between humans and nature Alondra did borrow a variety of books; however the books she wanted to discuss or sh are with me within the timeframe of the study were Molly Grooms We are~ series picture books, Schim Schimmels (1997) Children of the Earth, Remember picture book, and the Magic Tree House non-fiction series books. Alondras enthusiasm for the biologi cal and physiological sciences was infectious. As she spoke of picture books such as Children of the Earth, Remember (Schimmel, 1997) or We are Puppies (Grooms, 2005) she stroke d the illustrations or pointed out particular concepts that were thought-provoking fo r her. She also read aloud one of the picture books each time we talke d, and talked about how engaged she was in both the written and visual stories. For ex ample, when speaking about Molly Grooms We Are ~ series, Alondra conveyed the following 182 When I get these books Im thinking about animal behavior 183 Oh really? 184 Yeah. They are the most greatest books ever. 185 Neat! How so? 186a They make me think about real animals and what the real horse and the real 186b puppy do. 187 I learn about their body language and how that tells them what to do. 188 They look like theyre talking but they use thei r body language. 189 They have senses and they help them hunt, eat, grow and stuff.

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230 190 Were kinda like them. 191 We talk without talking. 192 I wanna know more about them. 193 They are like us an we are like them. 194 But we dont know them. (Alondra, on-going interview, April 11, 2006) In this example, as well as six ot her references in her other two on-going interviews, Alondra consistently referred to connecting human behavior with animal behavior (line 190, 193). For her, she was intrigued about nonverbal communication (lines 187-189, 191) and sought to change the fact that we dont know them (line 194). Reading was about learning (line 187) and knowledge became the way to know them (line 194). She believed our role in species extinction was a di rect result of not knowing about a part of us like the animal part. Reading fostered environmental awareness in Alondra, which she said she shared with othe rs such as her friends Linda and Drew but not the other girls in the study. Alondra extended her interest in comm unication via non-verbal language to weather systems and how nature speaks to us through the weather. During her two additional on-going interviews, she compared th e variety of tornadoes (e.g. dust, water, and big fat tornadoes) to human diversity (its just like how were all different). Weather books sustained Alondra s desire to read because 198 it prepares me. 199 You never know whats gonna happen. 200 It happens every day or every week 201 Its a cool thing cause its a part of life. 202 Um:: It kinda is life 203 You can be aware of it 204 but you never know what might happen. 205 Its cool. (Alondra, on-going interview, April 25, 2006)

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231 Reading not only prepared Alondra for in clement weather but also reflected the unpredictability of life (lines 199-204). Life like weather, occurs daily and while we have some control over the present, the future is always uncertain (lines 203-204). All she can do is be cognizant of her relation to all aspects of th e world. While Alondra appeared comforted by her philosophical approach to li fe (e.g. its cool, lines 201, 205), she did express fear about how volatile and destructiv e life can be. For her, looking at beautiful illustrations of animals in Schimmels (1997) Children of the Earth, Remember, soothed her nerves. When I feel like um like Im havi ng a heart attack inside, like when I read about tornadoes and all that, I look at these illustrations. They look so pretty and real. I reach out and pet the animals and I think th ings are OK. Environmentally themed books paradoxically agitated and consoled her. Alondras engagement with and emphasis on the natural world in the books she chose to speak with me about is striking c onsidering her request to drop out of the study. Alondra approached me at the end of March with her concerns. 200 Um:: I dont want to do this anymore. 201 Oh no. Really? Why not? 202 I dont like it because people are al ways asking Let me see the book 203 I dont know if they like me or they jus want the books. 204 Its bothering too much 205 I cant tell. 206 So I dont wanna do this too much 207a Hmmm. Im sorry to hear this. Do you not want to do it at all, or do you 207b want to do it but not really tell people you are doing it? 208 I want to see the books. I just dont want people to know. 209a Well, how about we do that? You can still be a part of the study, but you 209b don have to show or tell anyone? Hows that? 210. Ill keep the books a secret. (Alondra, spontaneous conversation, March 22, 2006)

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232 The potentiality of superficial friendships (lines 202-204) due to book access and her inability to determine the si ncerity of her peers (lines 203, 205) compelled Alondra to initially want to leave the study (line 206) be fore ultimately reconsidering (line 210). She conceded she did want access to books (lin e 208); however, the social ramifications, the books social capital among her peers, seemed overwhelming (line 204). Alondras conception of reading as a wa y of understanding the world did not include understanding the variety of relati onships between individuals. She connected with the scientific world through animal s and weather, but not necessarily the psychosocial world of personal friendships. For Alondra, books and reading were more personal than social and did not include befriending people in order to enter the literacy club (Smith, 1997). In this study, Alondra di d not share her peers views of book as social capital (Baron, Field, & Schuller, 2000). Instances of Perplexity: Morgans Book and Reading Experiences Morgans experience with her books during this study differed considerably from her peers. As indicated earlier in this chap ter, Morgan expressed difficulty and confusion related to the types of questi ons I asked, which resulted in minimal discussions about her book and reading experiences. Also, based on her admissions and her read-alouds with me, she experienced difficulty reading and comprehending some of her selected books, such as never mind! A Twin Novel (Avi & Vail, 2005) and Nutty Knock Knocks (Rosenbloom, 1986). Prior to my knowledge of her difficulty, Morgan claimed the books were boring no less than 15 times during her three on-going interviews. However, when probed, vocabulary and comprehension difficulty surfaced as the primary reason why she didnt enjoy the majority of the books she sele cted. To Morgan, the words inside ((the book)) were so confusing. They ma de me not want to open it.

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233 Multiple perspectives of what Morgan c ould and should read also contributed to Morgans aversion to books in this particular study. The required reading by the school, Morgans book preferences, and her mothers criteria for acceptable books, were often disharmonious. Morgan demonstrated difficu lty reading her required books for class, such as The Whipping Boy (Fleishman, 1986) and Which Way Freedom (Hansen, 1982), due to the linguistic vernacular in both nove ls. During one on-going interview, she shared her frustration with not unders tanding the English variants and wondered why in school Im learning how youre supposed to not ta lk, not how you are supposed to talk! Her mother also voluntarily expre ssed concern to me that Morgan was reading a book that was so boring and full of poor English. Knowing the books were difficult, Morgan became even more disenchanted with findi ng books she could read after hearing her teacher remind her class that the books were fifth-grade level books so this should be easy for you. The lack of literary choices on Morgans independent reading level proved frustrating for Morgan as she began to ask me to read aloud the books for her and help her answer her comprehension questions during EDEP. She said she would rather fail than go through the torture of reading this alone. Morgan also spoke of her mothers desire for her to read good books like awardwinning books, although Morgan loved books which were scary or were based on movies. Her mother inadvert ently reinforced Morgans st atement by asking me one day if I could add the good books from the S unshine State Reading List to the books Morgan selected. This way she could ensure Morgan improves her reading and wont struggle next year. Despite my explana tion that those books w ould probably be too difficult for Morgan to read independently, her mother was adamant about adhering to

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234 award-winning books. I informed her of my in ability to do that; however, I was certain local bookstores or the public library would have those books readily available for her if she wanted to purchase or borrow them. Morgans mothers determination for what was an acceptable book added yet another layer of expectations which didnt align with Morgans desires. Morgan painted a provocative portrait of what reading books that were too difficult felt like. She expressed frustration th rough gestures of su ch as long sighs, eyerolling, and laying her head on the table when reading dur ing EDEP. Looking at the pattern and timing of the following descripti on of reading, I believe she addresses the disparity between home and school exp ectations and her wants or needs. 527 Its like, if its your bedtime or something 528 and you have this really really hard math problem 529 and you, and your mom or your sister 530 like you ask them how you do it but they dont know. 531 Theyre like just try it by yourself youll probably get it. 532 But you know you cant do it. 533 You just cant get anyone else to know you cant do it. 534 So I just go to sleep. (Morgan, on-going interview, April 11, 2006) Morgan immediately attempted to ensure that her audience, me, entered her scenario through her use of you as the subj ect (lines 527-533). However, she concluded her story with I, (line 534) providing a definitive conclusion to her narrative (I just go to sleep), and ensuring that I, as the liste ner, understood that sh e was speaking of her actual predicament, not a hypotheti cal situation. Just as she had yet to find a variety of books she could read, she didnt solve the ma th problem. Instead, she opted to sleep. The setting of Morgans na rrative bore some resemblance to reading a bedtime story. It occurred at home just before bed a nd involved her mother and sister, two people

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235 whom she loves. Morgan could have set he r comparison in school, at EDEP, or any other location. However, she chose an intimate lo cation which evoked an aura of familiarity reading before bedtime. The primary differe nces between a cultural story of bedtime reading and Morgans version were that r eading became a really really hard math problem (line 528), which Morgan must solve independently. In this story she must also read instead of being read to. Morgan accentuated her frus tration by first speaking of her mother and sisters confidence and expectation of her reading competency and then following with her certainty you know you cant do it (lines 530-532). Two individuals who seemingly know her wellher mother and sisterapparent ly dont know her that well in regard to reading. Morgan cant convince them or anyone else (line 533) that she needs to read easier books. Therefore she escap es through sleep (line 534) Morgans sentiments echo other struggling readers depictions of reading and th eir struggle to gain reading proficiency (Wilhelm, Baker, & Dube, 2001). The selection of books offered in this study didnt necessarily improve Morgans conception of books and reading either. Even though Morgan participated in this study from the onset and helped decide what books to include, she expressed frustration with the book offerings. During her final interview in May, Morgan offered her opinion about the selection of books. 250 Well, if you were going to do this again, 251 Id think about what books you give us 252 What do you mean? 253 Well, I mean, like maybe you could get less books for certain people 254 Certain people? 255 Well, you know ((nods her head towards some of the other girls)) 256 Oh, you mean you think I have too many books for some of the other girls? 257 Well::: yeah.

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236 258 OK. I see. So what books would you want me to include next time? 259 Well, if its people like me then books more for my people. 260 I dont get it. What do you mean? 261 Like, Im not against Black people or anything ((looking down at the table)) 262 I just think there shouldnt be so many books for them. 263 OK. So why are those books not for you? 264 Well, theyre not not for me, theyre just like not my kinda book These excerpts reveal one locus of fr ustration for Morgan: the abundance of literature she considered a ppropriate for/geared towa rd Black people which was inappropriate or disengaging for her as a Wh ite person. Morgan definitively created an oppositional framework between her and the other girls who were Black in her advice to me. She began her commentary with the word us, which I initially assumed to include all of the girls in the study. However, her response of certain people (line 253) when I asked for clarification indicat ed a separation between her and others. When she gestured towards Jackie, Chris, and Alice (line 255), she identifies the separation as raciallyoriented. Morgan, as a White person, excl uded herself from Black people. She defined Black people as certain people (line 253255)or people who were not like me and then extended that separation to racially or culturally-specific books (lines 259; 262). The term Black people is al so lexically related to the pr onoun referent them in lines 261-262 through the use of just and is contra sted by Morgans use of my people in line 259. Morgan initially included me in her di stinction between White and Black people and assumed I, as a White female, would understand her opinions. She used the pronoun us (line 251) and you know (line 255) to indicate an assumed understanding between us. However, after I asked for cl arification, Morgan be gan to assert that she was not racist (line 261); rather her concern resided in the type of book, not the people she thought were

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237 interested in the book (line 264). She was talk ing about personal pr eference not racial prejudice. However, during the summer Morgan shared with me that she was very happy to be in a school where more people of, like, my culture attended and was glad to have left Meadowlawn Elementary. Her statemen ts reflect the difficulty White people have when negotiating and discussing their t houghts about race and White privilege (Copenhaver, 2000; Glazier, 2003; McIntyre 1997; Willis, 1995). This difficulty, or silence, seems to begin early in el ementary school (Copenhaver, 2000; 2001). Morgan, statements aside, might have had a point. Morgan seemed to be telling me that I provided more books for her Black peer s than I did for her. I decided to see if indeed I had unconsciously, from a racial standpoint, offered more books which were assumed to be desired by the Black girls. Upon reviewing the pe rcentages of books by race/ethnicity, the percentage of books with Black characters was 49%, books with White characters was 25%, books with other ethn icities constituting 11% and books with no explicit association to any race or ethnicity wa s 15%. In this study, four out of the seven girls (57%) considered themselves Black. Three out of seven girls c onsidered themselves White (42%). Numerically speaking, the book per centages are more or less aligned with the girls stated race/ethnicity. However, this assumes that the girls only wished to read books that reflected their raci al selves, which was not true for every girl. For Morgan, there seemed to be a clear bias of books fo r her Black peers. Her considerations might have been influenced the minimal amount of culturally relevant literature published yearly (Cooperative Childrens Book Center, 2007) or the paucity of such literature available to her in her school Her pronounced aversion to th ese books, revealed only at

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238 the conclusion of the study, is a wake-up call for the need to not onl y have a variety of diverse literature in the classroom but also enga ge in discussions about such literature. Despite her frustrations, Morgan expre ssed enthusiasm for gaining ownership of books she could read and had read, mainly the Scary Stories Lemony Snicket and Chronicles of Narnia series. Two of those series also have cinematic versions which could help scaffold Morgans comprehensi on. Those books became Morgans literary life preservers as she indicated during our last discussion that she may not be a good reader, but when she finds books she likes and can c hoose what she wants to read, she enjoys reading. Reading Conceptions Synthesized: The Girls Entrances and Exits During this study I became privy to some of the girls literacy narratives (Gallas & Smagorinsky, 2001): their previously unexami ned opinions, desires, recollections, and stories which were representative of th eir home, public, and previous classroom experiences. I had assumed that by focusing on the girls personal use of books, I would better understand the out-of-school book and/or reading experiences of girls considered to be marginalized readers. I anticipated gaining insight into the parallel and intersecting hemispheres of books and reading when s ituated in personalized environments. However, as I listened to the girls, my horizons quickly altered. The preponderance of talk hovering around the girls official worl ds of reading indicat ed the considerable influence reading practices had upon the girl s relationships with books and reading in and out of school. It was not until approxi mately midway through the study that their stories crossed the academic borders of their read ing classes. This is not to say that they didnt have prior stories about their reading or book experien ces out of school to share. Trust, rapport, and the understa nding that I was not a part of their official world of

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239 school could have been contributing factors to when their stories were shared; however, increased opportunities to interact with books without academic demands could have also generated new narratives. The girls narratives initially created disconcerting images of reading as decontextualized performances of rate and accuracy and as acts of frustration in order to become academically successful. They reflecte d how reading, as a singular program and books as uniform devices could hinder their academic and social journeys. Their considerations of reading were verisim ilitudes of academic incarceration with limited rights (Alice, Candy, Chris, Jaime, Jackie, Morgan) and social exile (Alondra, Candy, Jackie, Morgan). However, as they bega n interacting with the books, Chris and Alice challenged their school-based reading pr actices and limited book access, and Jackie declared the need to have cu lturally relevant books in the cl assroom and within classroom discourse. These girls assertions reminded me of the 1960s Womens Movement adage, the personal is political. Reading, as a pers onal and social endeavor is also a political construct. To adhere to the notion of reading as a solely skill-based process is to support intellectual compliance and denies th e relevance of difference and diversity (Novinger & Compton-Lily, 2005, p.202). The girls reading attitudes and abilities, as outcomes, are a part of systemic relations such as commercialized reading programs, high-stakes assessments, and at the very le ast, access to a variety of readable and desirable books; all of which are beyond the girls control. However, as the girls suggested in their narratives, access to books and opportunities to talk are initial steps towards acknowledging and attempting to subvert those political forces.

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240 The girls narratives outsid e the realm of classroombased reading and reading response homework contested official discours es of reading. They also invited new, or perhaps forgotten, conceptual positions of books and reading as social intermediaries. Our interviews and conversations reminded me that studies with lite rature or texts are often studies of culture because literary te xts are cultural texts and are read from various cultural positions (R ogers, 1997). From the girls vantage points, books possess social worth even before one opens them. Books, as physical artifacts, served as conduits for the girls interpersonal relationships and social dominance. They became some of the girls negotiation tools, garnering them prestige and power among thei r peers (Alice) assumed respect from influential adults such as teachers (Chr is), and opportunities to bond with family members and friends (Candy, Jaime) or share the benefits of book access (Jackie). For these girls, a book became part of a social story, not a written story. A books life was how it was enacted, not what it said betw een the pages. The girls communicated with books not necessarily about books. There were intrinsic pu rposes to the books but not necessarily to reading. Books were once sacred (e.g. reading scri ptures) (Spufford, 2002), and they still retain social status often associated w ith educated, middle-to-upper class citizens (Griswold, 2001; Hunt, 1991). Books serve as cult ural indicators of intellectual wealth. The girls use of and interactions with books literally read or unread, reflects a more socially-oriented emphasis on book-as-object. Mass media books, as cultural products (Hade & Edmunson, 2003; Taxel, 2002) constitu ted the majority of books used by the girls to initiate social dial ogue between the girls and their peers or loved ones. These

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241 books operated in similar manners in which music, videos, and movies operate. They created discourse communities of solidarity, de spite their official format as a book. Mass media books became intertextual links between popular culture and academic culture (Dyson, 2000, p.263). Failure to acknowle dge the importance of mass media, or popular culture, in childrens lives severs the possibility of better understanding childrens relationship to them selves, others, and school. The girls did consider books and reading to be interdependent at times. Reading written stories which reflected and validat ed their personal expe riences and desires improved family relations (Alice, Candy, Ja ime). Books and reading also offered opportunities to challenge and change social norms and behaviors. They helped create private domains of literary excitement a nd discouragement (Alondra, Morgan). The books selected by the girls, regardless of ge nre, became extensions of their selves and symbolized their personal and social identiti es. Judging from the girls narratives, books and reading reflect . the inner life of people with absolu te candor . (Montenegro, 1942, p. 347). With all that has been said, did book access and interactions reshape or influence the girls conceptions of reading? Did they l ook at themselves differe ntly as readers? It depends. My intention was not to create a causal study and assume that access to books would result in a positive change in read ing attitudes or c onceptions; however, experiences and social interactions can alte r language and thought, as evidenced through the girls oral discourses. I have therefore included Table 6-3 to indicate how the girls described themselves as readers at the beginning and end of the study.

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242Table 6-3. Girls initial and final con ceptions of themselves as readers Girls Initial reading self-evaluation Criteria used Final reading self-evaluation Criteria used Alice I'm a better reader My fluency is way up there this year. Im a good reader I can read fast and I can build my thoughts with the stories. Alondra I'm a good reader I read a lot of captions on TV and I learn a lot of big words. I'm a good reader I know a lot of facts and big words. Candy I'm a good reader I can read the words fast enough and I have a lot of reading experiences. I'm a good reader I know that books can help you and hurt you. Chris I'm a reader I'm reading faster. I'm sorta a reader I said I was a reader before but I wasn't. Now I do read and I kinda like to read, but I can't read too fast. Jackie Im a good reader I read and I read real fast. Im a great reader I can read fast and I pick books that are like my life. Jaime I'm a good reader I read perfect. No mistakes. I'm a good reader I can get the concept if I read more slow. Morgan I'm not that good of a reader I don't read fast. But I do read with expression. In reading class we read the words but not the stories. Im a so-so reader I can read fast but I'm not a good reader. But I do like to read but only a couple of books.

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243 Most of the girls did retain their concep tion of good reading as fast reading. Some also expressed interest and engagement in reading, while others included elements of reading such as comprehension, autonomous choice, and readi ng response. In their latter evaluations, the girls referenced indi viduality rather than conformity. As the study progressed, the girls used si miles of lyrical or culinary consumption to discuss their readi ng experiences. Some of the girls enriched reading experiences with books from the study are listed below. These experiences are distinctly different from their initial statements of reading meaning nuthin or that Ive got a book in my face. Reading is kinda like eating my favorite f ood, like a slice of pizza. Its the pizza with the stringy cheese. Youre eatin g it but you can see the stuff coming up. (Jaime) Its kinda like sharing food at the dinner table. I got to mix them ((books)) all up and enjoy it. Or I can pass it along to my left. (Candy) Think of a tall glass, an those martini glasses with like six scoops of vanilla ice cream, chocI mean strawberry syr up and chocolate covered bananas and it makes a sundae. Its the be st feeling digging in getti ng all the flavors and just never stopping. Thats kinda lik e reading at times. (Jackie) Its now kinda like a song but the beat dont go with the son g. I like the song but sometimes Im off the beat. But it works for me. (Chris) Readin nowwell, dese booksis like list ening to my favorite music. I can memorize it and play it in my head when I want. But it has to be a book I can read more than once. (Alice) The commentaries and stories articulated by the girls attest to the validity of childrens social experiences (Dyson, 2000). B ooks as social artif acts and reading as a social process can be critical components of childrens experiences and can help validate those experiences in the classroom. However, in doing so, we must look within our own personal and social horizons a nd look out at others person al and social horizons; we

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244 must see others and ourselves from differe nt vantage points. In doing so, we not only rearrange our relationships, we rearrange th e coordinates of our experienced worlds (Geertz, 1973, p. 28). Perhaps this rearrangem ent will then highlight the strengths and determination of girls who are designated marginalized readers at school despite adhering to their school policies and practices.

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245 CHAPTER 7 PERMUTATIONS OF BOOKS AND READING The question is not what you look at, but what you see. --Henry David Thoreau The initial purpose of this study was to bett er understand the book selection rationales and experiences of preadolescent girls w ho were identified as marginalized readers. These new understandings will presumably help educators in their quest to increase reading motivation and engagement among individuals who struggle with r eading or express allite rate tendencies despite their reading competencies. It may also potentia lly help educators and librarians reconceptualize books, reading, and struggling readers. My two guiding questions in th is investigation were 1) What rationales undergird preadolescent girls self-selections of books for personal use ? and 2) How does access to culturally relevant literature reflect and reshape their conceptions of reading and books ? These two questions involve three integral components to reading engagement: book access, book genres, and reading conceptions. All three of these components influence peoples book choices and their engagement or disengagement with thos e choices. Likewise, peopl es selection of and interactions with books influence their conceptu alizations. Because I wanted to understand the interdependent nature of readers and texts from the perspectives of the girls as reified through language, I focused on the girls narratives during in terviews and spontaneous conversations while also taking extensive field notes for addi tional support and contex t. I analyzed the interviews and conversations using Braun and Clarkes (2006) thematic analysis and Gees (2005) Discourse Analysis models. Additionally, I thematically analyzed my field notes to bolster the validity and reliability of my anal ysis of the interviews and conversations.

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246 In Chapters 5 and 6 I shared the girls commentaries about their book choices and subsequent experiences with those books. In this chapter I extend my consid erations of the girls narratives, contemplate the impli cations of my findings, and offe r ideas for future research studies that were gene rated from this study. Book Selections: Reflections of Competency The girls demonstrated their belief that book access and readi ng would help ensure their academ ic and social success. Successful reading was the only sub-theme in which every girl had a dominant presence. The girls initially selected books of various genres and topics based on the books physical characteristics (e .g. the cover, title, illustrations, chapter length, and book thickness), which corroborates pr evious research about book se lections (Fleener, Morrison, Linek & Rasinski, 1997; Swartz & Hendricks, 20 00). Thin books, books with short chapters, alluring illustrations, and just ri ght font sizes enable d the girls to feel academically successful in reading and fostered reading motivation and engagement. With these books, the girls demonstrated academic savvy that belied their label as struggling readers. By choosing books with specific features, the girls could complete homework which they had previously faked, improve their fluenc y, better comprehend the textual stories through visual clues, and feel motivated to re-read books. Clearly their ra tionales were situated within a scholastic or efferent domain and represented all three categories of Wigfield and Guthries (1997) taxonomy of reading motivation: competen ce and efficacy beliefs (self-efficacy), intrinsic purposes (desire to improve or master someth ing) and extrinsic purposes (reading to gain acceptance (e.g. grades, praise, etc.). Instead of expressing alliterate be haviors that one might expect from individuals who cons istently assert their distaste for reading (Poppe, 2005) the girls exuded confidence and assuredness of th eir future success with those books.

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247 Books which validated the girls identities as females, citizens, athletes, and individuals capable of social success were also selected. Fema le celebrity, civil rights activist, and inventor biographies were cited as books which exemp lified the tenacity a nd capabilities of women. Additionally, the girls desired realistic fiction books that encouraged them to fulfill their dreams, validated their sense of equality among males, and provided verisimilitude s of life devoid of the teasing and bullying they experienced. Through thes e books, the girls conceive d of themselves as successful readers, felt a sense of validation of self, and were inspired to be courageous and successful individuals who could and would cont ribute to society. Psychosocial determinants such as these appear to be absent from the findings of previous book selection studies. While the girls professed disinterest in read ing, their book selection ra tionales provided an alternative point of view. The gi rls were interested in books and appeared to be interested in reading books; they just hadnt f ound a variety of books that reflect ed their interests, desires, selves, and were indicative of their reading abilities. The girls rationales reveal their willingness and ability to read when provided access and choice (Ivey, 1999). The rationales also suggest that their positions as struggling readers co nceivably shifted through the simple (or not so simple) provision of books deemed worthy of cons ideration. The girls se lection criteria support research by literacy education researchers w ho are guided by a transactional perspective of reading difficulties. From this perspective, reading ability is complex, variable, and does not solely reside within th e individual (Mceneaney, Lose, & Schwartz, 2006). Book Selections: Limited Sources of Familiarity References to peer, relatives, and teacher reco mm endations as critical determinants in their book selection process rarely occurred. The absen ce of these individual s influence upon the girls selections counters existi ng book selection research which i ndicates that all three groups of individuals are quite influentia l in childrens decision-making pr ocesses about books (Casteneda,

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248 1995; Greenlee, Monson, & Taylor, 1996; Kragle r, 2000; Mohr, 2006; Simpson, 1996; Williams, 2005). Their absence from the girls rationales also suggests a literary schi sm between the girls desired texts and the literary offerings in the classroom, as well as the potential absence of books and book discussions within the girls immediat e communities. Even though the school library served as a source of familiarit y for a couple of their selected books, the girls didnt appear to reap the benefits of efficiency, certainty, and social negotiation, which are associated with peers recommendations of books (Hepler & Hickman, 1982). Instead they gravitated towards another form of recommendation: popular culture. Popular culture, as peer culture, became catalysts fo r choosing particular books. Familiarity with mass media storylines which were often tie-ins to TV shows or movies was the most popular rationale offered by the girls. Th is finding mirrors Williams (2005) theory that sources of familiarity, which include mass medi a texts, influence childrens book choices. Mass media books were chosen because the girls were fa miliar with the storylines and felt entertained by those storylines. Just as readers experience comf ort and engagement with series books such as The Babysitters Club and Goosebumps series that are not associated with mass media (Allington, 2001; Greenlee, Monson, & Taylor, 1996), so too did most of the girls experience comfort and engagement with TV series books such as Thats So Raven and Unfabulous bookbased movies such as Lemony Snickets Series of Unfortunate Events and Aquamarine, and biographies of famous musicians and singers Mass media books were cinematic peer r ecommendations and served as virtual communities of readers for mo st of the girls. The girls wanted to read the books because they saw the TV show or movie or listened to thei r music. Mass media books allowed some of the

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249 girls to enter social worlds of entertainment that were economically inaccessible and provided encouragement for others to improve their reading. Mass media simply made books fun. While some educators might not consider ma ss media texts as worthy reading material (Booth, 2006), the girls elaborations of their me dia-based book choices we re critical in nature and signified the girls beliefs of a hierarchy be tween print and visual/med ia literacy with print reigning supreme. The girls wanted to check th e books to make sure what were hearing about ((on TV)) is for real. Their desire to authen ticate information disseminated by media outlets suggests that for them, media-based popular culture entertains and print culture informs By mixing the entertainment/aesthetic and informationa l/ efferent elements of mass media texts, the girls exemplify Rosenblatts (1938/1995) transactional th eory of reader response, which Schraw and Bruning (1999) have found to be a more engaging model of reader response than transmission and translation models of reading. The girls comparisons of print and media-base d narratives also indicated their positions as constructors of meaning instead of passive consumers. According to Marsh and Millard (2000), while the mediums of print and media can be diffe rent, the processes overlap. Both have similar narrative structures and conventions shared by a collective audience and situated with sociocultural contexts. The girls, relying on shared experiences and understandings of narrative structures, used semantic and syntactic clues of print-based and televisu al texts to determine meaning and formulate opinions ab out those texts. Neuman (1995) suggests that accessibility and interest in content facilitates spirited interplay betw een video and print-based texts among children (p.180). Additionally, the intertextuality of TV or movie tie-ins is almost inherent in childrens lives because of the centr ality of televisual texts in th e narratives of childrens lives. Televisual texts promote read ing among younger children as i ndicated by increased book sales

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250 when print narratives become cinematic narra tives (Marsh and Mill ard, 2002; Robinson, 1997). The girls desire for mass media texts reflects the central position of televisual texts and their desire to integrate the academic world of book with their personal world of entertainment. Some might consider the girls statements about comparing and c ontrasting books and TV shows or movies to be contrived and indicative of what they believe they should say to adults, especially teachers, not what th ey truly think. However, when discussing their experiences with mass media books, the girls expressed genuine disappointment over some of the mass media books. Plot digressions, an overwhe lming amount of dialogue, and sp arse action scenes made the books unreadable. Ultimately, with the excep tion of Candy whose posse ssion of mass media books was imperative for her, the girls selected fewer TV series or movie tie-in books during the final book fair when compared to the initial book fair. The reasons for these differences are unknown at this time; however, the disjuncture between anticipation a nd reality could have contributed to the shift. The Value of Books The girls interests in an d experiences with books compel s consideration of value. How is a book valued? What part does culture and contex t play in that evaluation? From the perspective of many adults in the U.S and ot her print-rich countries, books, as emblematic of print culture, are clearly valuable. An entire field of research is dedicated to the hist ory and influence of books (Finkelstein & McClee ry, 2002) and Lyndon B. Johnson believ ed that A book is the most effective weapon against intolerance and ignoran ce. Books, as social and cultural messengers, contain power and are influential. They are centra l in the cultural and so cial transformations of many societies, which is why adult censorsh ip is frequent among childrens books. Yet how are books valued in childrens worl ds, especially those children with limited access to books? Do children believe a books existence and worth is entirely dependent on the

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251 meaning found in or created from the visual or printed messages within bound pages? Is a books worth dependent on its current author or owner on societal opinion, or a combination of factors? While not explicitly asked, the girls offered a variety of ways in which they value books through their sentiments and behaviors. Fo r these girls, books and reading can operate on perpendicular horizons, intersecting on occasion. Books as Exports The exportability of books (Smith & W ilhelm, 2002, p.152) was of importance to the girls. Like the adolescent males in Smith and Wilhelms study, the girls desired books that could be easily exported into convers ation (p.152). Books that could be quickly referenced in conversations or used to initiate conversations we re considered valuable to most of the girls because they generated interfam ilial activities and fostered a sense of community among friends. Joke books, cookbooks, family science books an d mass media books were the more common book genres that proved to be exportable. The girl s cracked jokes with friends and family, shared recipes with grandmothers, conducted science experiments together, and expressed shared delight of R&B singers and fam ous athletes. The girls exuded c onfidence and competency when interacting with othe rs via these books. Some of the culturally relevant book options present in the study were not as exportable for the girls. This literature was a private pr actice which did not stimulate the same range and degree of social discourse th at the mass media books or f unctional books (e.g. cookbooks) did. One potential reason for culturally relevant literatures limited cap acity for exportability is the unfamiliarity of the books among the girls and thei r communities. The girls, their families, and even some teachers indicated they were initia lly unaware of award-winning culturally relevant literature. Even when the girls did become familiar with such literature, they felt they lacked an

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252 audience of peers to discuss what they felt wa s important, namely cross-cultural communication and understanding. The social complexity of culturally relevant literature could serve as another reason for its lack of exportability. Books including seri ous topics such as imprisoned parents, race relations, and divorce could prove difficult to quickly synthesize in conversations with others. Generally speaking, it is far easier to generate dialogue in public over jokes or sound bytes about celebrities lives than it is to talk about why Black and White individuals dont get along in school or how to grapple with your parents divorce. Environment is critical for dialogue about difficult topics (Copenhaver, 2000) and the girls did not view thei r environment as conducive for serious conversations without the inclusion of popular cu lture. From a societal perspective, the potential exportability of books el evates their social worth. Books are social capital, and for these girls, culturally relevant literature was valuable but not as socially valuable as mass media texts during the study. Instead, culturally relevant literature was persona lly enriching as it validated the girls senses of self and reflected their personal inquiries. Books as Social Intermediaries The value of culturally relevant literature for som e of the girl s resided in the opportunity to learn about other cultures in an attempt to solve the racial tensions existing in the girls communities, and establish friendships betw een Blacks and Whites. Based on the girls narratives, literature which focused on interracial relations provided the girls with mirrors and windows (Bishop, 1990) that reflected their selv es and society (Copenhaver, 2001; Hefflin & Barksdale-Ladd, 2001; Katz, 1983; Rudman, 1984; Yokota, 1993). Yet these books were not shared with others. The girls used the books as a springboard to share with me their desire for improved cultural relations and understanding but cl aimed their peers werent interested or the books were ineffective because conversations didnt occur. They wanted an adult to initiate and

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253 facilitate the discussion about race relations through reading a nd discussing books that included interracial relations. In this in stance, read-alouds would be a great avenue for such discussions, as suggested by Copenhavers (2000, 2001) research. However, such discussions rarely occur due in part to educators frequent adoption of a colorblind perspective and their beliefs that talk about race and race relations in sc hools is taboo (Schoenfield, 2003). Despite the girls inability to build communities through multic ultural literature focusing on race relations, the girls in this study were able to develop communities of readers in a similar capacity as other readers who gained access to b ooks (Cherland, 1994; Guice, 1992; Hepler & Hickman, 1988; Mohr, 2003; 2006; Mller, 1999; Simpson, 1996; Williams, 2005). They read and discussed mass media books and othe r culturally relevant li terature with their peers and relatives on occasion. Reading those bo oks enabled them to create opportunities to reacquaint themselves with their ancestral heritage and their im mediate family members who had grown distant from them, something the girls indicated they had rarely, if ever, done. They also read their books in alternative wa ys which indicated thei r beliefs that books were not just reading material; th ey were also bartering tools to gain various positions of status and power. For these girls, the medium was the message; books held social capital. They quickly ascertained the value of books for a variety of people and offered those individuals access to those desired books in exchange for literal and symbolic goods the girls desired. They loaned teachers multicultural picture books in exchange for improved status as a reader in the classroom, and exchanged or shared (but di dnt necessarily read) books about athletes, celebrities, and TV shows with peers in exchange for comp leted homework, candy, and soda. Additionally, the girls offered books as a) symbolic peace offerings to love d ones; b) requests for reconnection or personal time with relatives or fr iends; and as c) self-re ferents to boys who the

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254 girls were attracted to. In these scenarios, girls became cultural brokers with books as currency. Their uses of books illustrate distinctions be tween individuals based on different social backgrounds and interests (Kraaykamp & Dijkst ra, 1999) and potentially convey a form of resistance to the dominant definition of readin g books as literally reading the printed text (Bergin & Cooks, 2002). Reconsiderations of Worthy Books So what is a worthy book and in what context makes it valuable? The girls shared many educators and librarians valuation of books based on the potential messages within the bound pages of textsthe literal re ading of text. They also co mprehended and valued books as mechanisms for social positioning outside the real m of print. Books are symbols of status, of academic and social wealth in terms of peer and familial acceptance. David Booth (2006) recalled a story where a customs officer inform ed him that only rich people read (p.153). While this customs officer might have been re ferring to the economic value of books and other reading materials, the girls have exemplified how books can garner social wealth. The girls can potentially gain entrance into various social ci rcles necessary for social success. They have validated the reality of liter acy as practice (Gerstl-Pepin & Woodside-Jiron, 2005, as cited in Pennington, 2007, p.466). The girls read for variou s reasons and within different cultural spheres. Books considered light reading are also commonly desired for personal or recreational reading by children (Krashen, 2004; McKenna, K ear, & Ellsworth, 1991) and adults (Nell, 1988); yet these books are rarely acknowledged and honored in the classroom and school libraries (Booth, 2006; Worthy, 1996; Worthy, Moor man, and Turner, 1999). Their restriction from the classroom seems grounded in the social differentiation between different genres of

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255 books. The complexity and prestige of reading materials elevate thei r literary worth among literary scholars and educators (Hunt, 1991; Kraaykamp & Dijkstra, 1999). Being educated also conveys an aura of developed thought and complexity and typically elevates ones socioeconomic and social status. Therefore educ atorsespecially literacy educatorsbelieve books worthy for personal and academic develo pment should include a level of complexity that light reading does not c ontain. Literary preference is situated within class (Kraaykamp & Dijkstra, 1999) which complicates the presence of and access to a variety of reading materials in the classroom. Morgan unfortunately suffered the repercussi ons of desiring light reading material when her desired texts were not honored by her mo ther or school. Morgans experiences affirm the need for not only permeable classrooms (Dyson, 1993) but also permeable classroom libraries. We need to understand and respect th e knowledge students carry with them and invite their out-of-school worlds to reside within th e classroom walls. As Dyson suggests (2003b), we do not need to share our students literary preferences in order to respond to them respectfully and incorporate them into the classroom. Mandated Reading Programs Influence upon Reading Conceptions The girls discourses about their classroom -bas ed reading practices si gnified the residuals of current reading legislation upon students conceptions of read ing and perhaps approach to books. This is especially true for children in low-income ar eas with limited opportunities to access and interact with books. When discussing thei r conceptions of reading at the onset of the study the girls described aversive conditions. They were not allowed to read picture books, were fearful of selecting books that were not endorsed by school, and were forced to do reading activities that they felt were meaningless. The girls recollected episodes of teasing and bullying by classmates due to the girls oral reading capabilities and they compared themselves to

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256 incarcerated individuals who were held to unattain able standards because of a lack of materials and engagement. Their experiences reify Fra nk Smith (2003)s portra it of children who are pressured to read. Children coerced into reading with punitive consequences for failure, will only learn that reading is a mystery, school is av ersive, and teachers ar e agents of tyranny (p.52). While I did not observe the girl s classroom reading instructi on first-hand, I did learn from one of the girls teachers that Mead owlawn Elementary School used the Success for All basal reading program for their reading instruction. Considering the type of reading instruction provided to the girls, I believe the girls narratives reflect how current legislation for reading instruction, based on scientific reading research as defined by the National Reading Panel (NRP) report (National Reading Panel, 2000), has not only constr icted childrens concepts of reading but has also reduced, if not eliminated the pleasure of reading for both children and teachers. When I compared the girls Discourses of detachment and imprisonment with intermediate grade teachers be liefs about literacy instructi on using Reading Mastery, another mandated scripted reading program (Shelton, 200 5), I noticed striking similarities. These similarities illuminate the debilitating effects of current scripted reading instruction programs upon not only students but also teachers. The discourses used by the girls and the teach ers in Sheltons study speak to a larger discourse community of disenfra nchised and defeated individuals who possess little personal agency in education practices. It reflects Pa trick Finns (1999) definition of domesticating education. Domesticating education stresses func tional literacy and en sures the productivity, dependability, and docility of a person (p.ix-x) Table 7-1 shows the similarities between the girls and Sheltons teachers discourses and illuminates how both groups of individuals are

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257 disengaged and disempowered with the type of reading instruction currently mandated in many elementary schools. Table 7-1. Comparison between the girls talk an d teachers talk about reading instruction Girls' talk about their school-based reading practices Teachers' talk about their experiences with a scripted reading program (Shelton, 2005, p.195-196) Its just sumem ya gotta do to get outta here. I feel kinda like my dad waiting to be released. You are caught. These questions are hard! No one asks us these kinda questions. Can I just tell you about the book? It's difficult and it's stressful. Theyre like just try it by yourself, youll probably get it. But you know you cant do it. You just cant get anyone else to know you cant do it. A kid will be stuck on something and you'll want to go to it knowing that you really can't. It dont really matter. I don't feel nuthin' So reading to me can be special But its kinda just tests and doin worksheets and stuff It's not useful. Reading been controlling me for all dese years Autonomy. I don't have any. Its like no one trusts us. You sure we ainarent gonna get in trouble with these? There are people telling us we have to do this and we have to do it this way. Ya gotta have good fluency! In school thats what we always talkin about. You're so constrained to this little box I'm learning to dislike reading more and more at this school. My motivation got less and less.

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258 In Table 7-1 the girls portray themselves as resigned individuals w ho have to play the game in order to be released and show the de trimental effects of current reading legislation, as interpreted by local education agencies a nd state governments, upon the psyches of students and educators. This is a striking blow to the goa ls of reading legislati on which include leaving no child behind. If the statements above are a ny indication of the eff ects of current reading legislation, then we are not only leaving childre n behind, but we are extr acting the passion and denouncing the expertise of our teachers. Interest ingly the provision of books and the freedom to interact with the books as each girl wished became powerful influences on the girls approaches to and conceptions of books and reading. The Power of Book Access Researchers are conflicted about whether m erely providing access to books can improve childrens achievement. Worthy, Pa tterson, Salas, Prater, and Turn er (2002) determined that access to books considered interesting by resistan t readers is not enough to improve their reading achievement; interpersonal interaction is integral Teachers and reading tutors need to take a personal interest and responsibility in the instruction of struggling readers. On the other hand, Allington and colleagues (2007) concluded th at consistently providing economically disadvantaged children access to books of persona l interest did significa ntly increase their reading achievement. While determining the positive effect of book access upon childrens reading achievement was not the purpose of the st udy, the findings from this study attest to the power of book access for these girls and the girls expressed need for inte rpersonal interactions with books. The Emancipatory Nature of Book Access Access to bo oks became an act of social justi ce for some of the girls. The opportunity to be with the books instead of doing reading fostered awaren ess among some of the girls

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259 about their reading policies and pr actices at school. The girls began questioning the locality of their reading struggles and determ ined that their lack of readi ng materials for reading response homework, their restricted access to readable books because they were picture books, and the decontextualized nature of thei r reading instruction, contributed to their attitude towards and competency in reading. While only Jackie acted upon her realization during the duration of the study by asking her teacher to read a couple of picture books in order to understand they were quality books for Jackie, the fact that ac cess to books elicits critic al thought is quite encour aging. I can imagine the potential benefits of both access and authentic di scussion. In a sense, book access is one element of empowering education (Finn, 1999). It can le ad to positions of power and authority (Alvermann, 2003, p.4). Increased Reader Engagement through Personal Responsibility, Autonomy, and Choice The girls clearly enjoyed their decision-m aki ng responsibilities, despite their initial hesitations and confusion about the authenticity of their active roles in the study. They were responsible for helping decide which books to include, had sole ownership of how they interacted with the books, and helped steer our interviews and c onversations. This was in stark contrast to their reading and book interactions in school where they were instructed on what to read, when to read, and how to respond, with little deviation from the script. The girls displayed their enthusiasm through smiles and laught er, as well as through their discourse. They used evaluative terms and exclamations in th eir slang, such as cool fye, (slang for good, cool, or something likeable) and snap (slang used here to express enthusiasm and positive surprise) when they saw books of interest and shared those particular books with me. The positive effects of the novel situation of uncensored book access didnt necessarily subside as the study continued. At the conclusion of the study, four of the seven girls voluntarily

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260 stated that one of their favorite aspects of th e study was being able to pick out books that I wanted. Additionally, some of the girls shared that they loved tryin out the books without feeling rushed or as if they had to prove their reading by an swering comprehension questions. They suggested I talk to their librarian about how she could select books for the library and let people hang out with books. Interestingly, they balked at my suggest ion that they either accompany me or they tell her themselves. The girls enjoyment did not include sharing it with individuals associated with th e official world of school which housed a plethora negative reading experiences for them. Therrien (2004) speaks of the motivationa l benefits of repeated and consistent experiences of effective instru ction in fluency and comprehe nsion to struggling students. Similarly, repeated and consis tent opportunities for free and autonomous interactions with interesting books can be motivational for stude nts who struggle with developing their reading practices and finding aesthetica lly pleasing books. With the exception of Morgan, the girls considered ownership of books and their readi ng experiences to be mo tivational. Morgans experiences of frustration due to conflicting perspectives about read ing and books from her teacher, parents, me (via my questions and expectations), and herself, seemed debilitating. Curious about how they would respond to th e ERAS study after participating in this study, I asked the girls to volunt arily complete the survey fo r the second time. With the exception of Morgan who did not want to take the survey again, all of th e girls agreed. Alondra completed the survey in May since I was unable to visit her during the summer. The other girls completed the survey during my last interviews with them in the summer. Interestingly, while completing the survey each girl commented that her responses would be the same as before. The results in Table 7-2 indicate otherwise.

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261 Table 7-2. Comparison of the girls initial and final Elementary Reading Attitude Survey (ERAS) percentiles Girl Initial Overall ERAS Percentile Final Overall ERAS Percentile Change in ERAS Percentile Points Jaime 10 66 +56 Alice 13 84 +71 Morgan 79 N/A N/A Jackie 26 52 +26 Chris 46 79 +33 Candy 9 13 +4 Alondra 72 78 +6 Table 7-2 includes the overall ERAS percentil es which aggregates the girls academic and recreational reading attitude scores and indicates the degree of positive change as indicated by the girls responses. When looki ng at just the recreational reading scores, the differences are even greater; however, for all of the girls w ho completed the survey the second time, their academic scores also increased from their initial su rvey results. Therefore, I chose to provide the aggregate percentiles to indicate a positive shif t towards both classifications of reading. The results of this survey appear encouraging and substantiate research ers assertions that access to interesting and desired books elevates individuals reading engagement. It also confirms the girls statements and behaviors during the study. Jackie, Jaime, and Alice were three girls who shared their enthus iasm for books they were either unaware of or had been denied access to. They also expressed the value of books and book ownership to them and the larger community by acting as literary gatekeepers to their peers and family members. They provided access to only those who proved themselves to the girls, just as the girls gained access to books in school. They had to prove them selves to be trustworthy (library loans) and competent (reading competency scores). The gi rls were engaged with books because of the

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262 literary pleasures and the soci al power contained within th e bound pages of books and this engagement was reflected in their ERAS scores. Chris stated that she still felt as though sh e didnt love reading; however, she enjoyed reading with her cousins because she possesse d books she could read independently. Even Candy, whose plan to use books as entrance passes into a different cultural community seemed ineffective by the end of the study, indicated ha ving a more positive attitude towards reading. Although, she still harbored a negati ve attitude towards reading (13th percentile). While I cannot say for certain that Morgans attitude scores would have declined due to her somewhat tumultuous experience in the study, I infer her refusal to complete the survey as that possibility. The girls comparisons of their reading experiences to dietary consumptions of literary desserts and favorite foods bolster ed their numerical statements Pizza and ice cream sundaes, while not faring well in the nutriti on department certainly satisfies ones cravings. Isnt that what educators, especially literacy e ducators, wish more children w ould doindulge in reading? At the end of this study the girls conceptions of reading encompassed more than reading rates and accuracy counts. They included their selves and society. Abated Enthusiasm about the Girls Engagement with Reading While the girls comm ents about the positive be nefits of their participation in the study were encouraging, the girls also mentioned that the access they had with the types of books in the study was temporary. During the following school y ear, I occasionally received phone calls from Candy, Jackie, and Alice informing me of their in ability to find books in their school library and requesting my help to gain access to books they would like. After I asked them why they were asking me, they replied that I was the book lady or book person who knows where to get good books for us. They admitted that accessing and owning the types of books in the study was

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263 a one time thingy and they wanted to keep on doin it. Additionally, they said that they didnt trust their librarians or teachers to know about good books. The girls beliefs that access to desired books was a unique experience and their distrust of school officials to help them find interesti ng books are worrisome and speak to the need for school and classroom libraries to contain a we alth of reading mate rials that extend beyond award-winning, mono-cultural books. School and classroom libraries should include the literature of peoples ever yday lives, or as Alice said, books about real stuff to me, about what happens to my kinda people, not any ole thing ole people rea d. It has to be real. Classroom Implications People lead storied lives. In education, teach ers and students tell and retell their personal and social stories. They are bot h storytellers and characters in their and others stories (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990, p.2). The stories told by these seven girls are similar stories told by others in different locales and with slight plot variati ons. As we continue to hear these stories, perhaps we will renew our commitment to reflect upon our students and our own conceptions of books, reading instruction, and litera cy practices as they are situat ed in our lives. The following implications for teachers are reverberations of previous suggestions by educators and education researchers; however, they are included because th e girls have indicated th rough their stories that those suggestions have gone unheeded. If we are to ensure that our students become life-long compet ent readers and can appreciate the myriad of ways to read and purposes for reading, we need to distance ourselves from the current consolidation of reading as a set of skills to be mastered and return to the expansive view of reading as practices and pro cesses which involve genui ne inquiries into the self, society, and include critical thought. While gaining meani ng from print has always been a goal of reading instruction (Venezky, 1987, p. 257), meaning is not limited to skill-based

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264 competencies. It also involves cultural, social, and personal reflections an d contemplations about the situated nature of life and our actions within it. Reading instruction in the 1950s included a lack of teachers input in curricular development (Langer and Allington, 1992, p. 703). Like today, readi ng instruction was construed as work, not fun. However, unlike to day, reading childrens li terature for pleasure was also recommended (Dolch, 1955 as cite d in Martinez & McGee, 2000, p. 159). While literature was considered a reward once the r eal work had been completed, according to the girls, such a reward doesnt necessarily exis t for them today. Educators can alter those experiences by providing a wide variety of books (including cultu rally relevant and mass media books) in their classroom libraries and including those books in their instructional practices. This is especially true for those children who rely on schools for their reading materials. Books matter. They matter in different ways at differe nt times and in different contexts. Educators should acknowledge the breadth and depth of books purposes and di scuss it with their students. By addressing the various purposes of reading and contemplating the various ways in which books and reading are both purposeful and purpos eless, educators can help broaden their students conceptions of reading, enrich their ow n instructional practice, engage in critical thought, better ensure their students academic and social success. Despite their label as a s truggling reader the girls de monstrated their reading competencies and generated wonderings about wh ether their struggle was with the reading process or the socialized nature of reading in the classroom. By inquiring about why students select books, modeling why they themselves select particular books beyond the textual features, and engaging in genuine discussions, teachers can gain a better grasp of their struggling readers beyond comprehension and fluency scores. They can also learn more about their own

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265 instructional practices and ped agogical horizons and convey to st udents that every aspect of books and reading is important. The need and desire for discussion about books beyond the plot was strongly conveyed in this study. The emphasis on IRE protocols and the ab sence of authentic discussion contributed to the disengagement in classrooms and the girls comparisons to themselves as criminals. Alvermann (1996, 2003) and Wells (1996) case-study research about adolescents engagement with reading revealed that adolescent readers be lieve the best learning co nditions for them were discussion-oriented classes amongst students, not teachers and students, with the teachers stimulating the discussion by making the topic in teresting for them. By creating opportunities for dialogue, with punitive consequences, reader engagement is potentially elevated. Race and race relations are on childrens minds and they need a platform upon which they can discuss these important issues. Classrooms communities can be that platform and culturally relevant literature can serve as safe and indirect routes to discuss those critical issues. Like the students in Copenhavers (2000, 2001) st udies, the girls in th is study openly brought up the topic of race and cross-cultural understandin g. They were also adamant about the presence of culturally relevant literature in their classrooms. Read-alouds could initiate positive discussion which could then become independent inquiry pr ojects or book club topics. Students willingness to dialogue about such serious and pe rtinent topics should not go unnoticed. Opportunities for Further Inquiries Sentences end with full stops. Stories do not --Harold Rosen While I began this study with two overa rching questions, I en ded the study with additional questions. T he girls reactions, commentaries, and be haviors generated new inquiries

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266 about the interplay of readers, texts, and contexts which would prove worthy as follow-up studies. A similar study with a broader selection of in termediate and middle grade readers of both genders, who come from linguistically and cultu rally diverse communities, and are considered marginalized readers would be a worthy i nvestigation. My study was limited to seven preadolescent girls who identified themselves as members of only two different cultural communities, making it difficult to generalize my findings. Additional studies including children of various ethnic heritages and both genders would provide additional context to my conclusions. While I attempted to focus on the girls personal use of books, school was clearly included in their definition of pe rsonal use of books and reading. Based on the girls statements and previous research (Arya, 2003; Guice, 1992; Landis, 1999; Mller, 1999; Rasinski & DeFord, 1988; Reutzel & Sabey, 1996), schools have a great impact on childrens conceptions of books and reading. A similar study with intermediate students about the wa ys in which children perceive and interact with books that includes classroom observations and teacher interviews would be a valuable contribution to the field, especially with the ove rwhelming presence of NCLB and Reading First s reading mandates. Teachers play a critical role in arranging childrens reading histories. Their talk mediates childrens activity and experience, an d helps them make sens e of learning, literacy, life, and themselves (Johnston, 2004, p.2). Therefor e, a study focusing on intermediate teachers discourse about books and reading during formal reading instruction and informally throughout the day would complement existing research on teachers of primary aged children. Another study could focus on teachers conceptions of re ading, especially after the passage of NCLB, Reading First, and the mandatory reading endorse ment courses for teachers at any grade level.

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267 The study could also include documentation of the ways those conceptions influence their instructional practices and subsequently their students reading conceptions. Researchers of early childhood, primary, and secondary level students such as Linda Labor, Anne Haas Dyson, Margaret Hagood, She lley Nu, Donna Alvermann, James Gee, and other New Literacies researchers have documented the educational potential of media literacies or technologically-based texts. These studies do not include traditional forms of printbooks yet books still remain a prevalent resource in sch ool and dont appear to be leaving. Investigating how children approach and reconcep tualize mass media texts, as in tertextual documents of print and media, once the texts become a part of the school or official curriculum would complement existing research focusing solely on media literacy, popular culture resources, and books as separate entities. Both Williams (2005) and this study determ ined mass media or popular culture texts generated great excitement among economically disadvantaged children who had limited access to books. Conducting a study with more affluent ch ildren or children who have a broader access to a variety of books would provide valuable informati on about the intersection of socioeconomic status and literary preferences. Additiona lly, the girls in this study selected both culturally relevant literature and mass media literatu re, just as the 11and 12-year-old students in Greenlee, Monson, and Taylors (1 996) study. However, over time, the girls selected fewer mass media books. A study investigating students selection of mass media and culturally relevant texts over an extended period of time to determine in what contexts both are considered worthwhile and the stimulus for their worth coul d provide additional info rmation for teachers who are hesitant to allow mass media books into their classrooms, even as classroom library materials.

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268 The girls often referred to the pace of a book as a textual element that contributed to reader engagement. Action, rather than characterization, motivated them to read, which supports contemporary research that many girls no longer prefer books which emphasize character development (Blackford, 2004). This elicits the question, How is our fa st-paced, technological society, with an emphasis on sound bytes and media literacy, influencing th e ways in which we read and what we desire to read? Additionally, what implications does this have for future reading instruction and the type of literature offered in cl assrooms and schools? Studies concerning these questions would update educator s on the unanticipated influences of this technological era upon reading practices. Concluding Thoughts Advisory statem ents such as Let the data guide you and to Ques tion your perspective typically echo in my consciousness when I conduc t qualitative research. That psychological release of control can be scar y, exciting, and humbling. The data from this particular study enabled me to view things from horizons that I was not personally accustomed to. As a former teacher and an avid reader who typically excelled in reading and literacy as a whole, I reside in a world of books and reading that differs starkly from the world of books and reading depicted by the girls. Their perspectives of reading through academic and social lenses were energizing and perplexing. I attempted to merge their conceptions with mine in the hope of helping determine how educators can better support students who demonstrate reading difficulties or express alliterate behaviors; however, some of our horizons have yet to merge and are hovering alongside, above, or underneath each other, on the cusp of uniting. In a way, this is understandable and comforting for it ensures the need for continued conversations. Listening and responding to narratives as vicis situdes of human inte ntion (Bruner, 1986, p.16) never ends if one wishes to be a life-lo ng educator and learner.

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269 APPENDIX A INFORMED CONSENT AND ASSENT FORMS Parent Informed Consent Letter and Permission Form Dear Parent/Guardian(s): I am a graduate student at the University of Florida and I am conducting research on why girls want to read particular books and their opinions of the books after selecting them. To do this, I will pick some girls to receive free books to read outside of school and meet to talk to their peers and/or me during their extendedday program. The girls will individually se lect the books to read. Some of these books might be re lated to popular musicians, such as Beyonc and T.V. shows, such as Thats So Raven Other books offered to the gi rls will include award-winning books, historical and multicultural books, as well as both fiction and non-fiction books. You are welcome to look at the books at any time. I need your permission for your child to participate. Giving your permission means that: Your childs current reading test scores will be obtained. Your child will be asked to complete a short survey on her reading habits. Your child will select and bring home up to 15 books to read and audiotape her responses if desired. Your child may opt to take pictures with a camera of what they th ink is important about the book (for example, where they keep their books, their favorite page or the illustration in the book, etc.) These pictures are to incl ude only things related to their books or reading practices and will only be used duri ng your childs interviews I will develop the photos and destroy the negatives after development. At the end of the study, your child will se lect up to 15 books to keep and own. Your child will have the opportunity to vol untarily discuss her books with the other participating girls. Your child will be asked to pa rticipate in voluntary interviews about the books she read and her opinions on reading. Your child will be asked to voluntarily artistically respond to the books she read. Your child might be asked to read aloud a few pages from the books she is reading. You child will benefit from the a dded reading that she does. Th ere are no known risks to the participants. Participation in this study will not affect your childs grades or placement in school programs. I will keep the results confidentia l by assigning your child a unique number and pseudonym created by your child. Additionally, any data, including the audio recordings will be placed in a locked cabinet. The audio recordings will be destroyed within one year after the studys conclusion. Any photographs will be given to your child at the end of the study and the negatives will be destroyed af ter the development of the photos. You and your child can withdraw consent for your child s participation at any time.

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270 Results of this study will be available in August 2007 upon request. If you have any questions about this project, please cont act me or my faculty superv isor, Dr. Fu, at (352) 392-9191. Questions or concerns about your ch ilds rights as a research part icipant may be directed to the UFIRB office, University of Florida, Box 1122550, Gainesville, FL 32611, (352) 392-0433 To allow your child to participate in this reading study, complete and sign the following permission form and return it to [directors name ], your childs after-school care director. Please keep this letter for your records. Sincerely, Jennifer M. Graff

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271 Reading Study Permission Form I have read the description of the Jennifer Graff's Reading study. I voluntarily give my co nsent for my child. ( print child's first and last name below ), to participate in this study. I have received a copy of this description. _________________________ ___ ______________________ (Child's First Name) (Child's Last Name) ______________________ _________ ___________ Parent / Guardian Signature Date ______________________ _________ ___________ 2nd Parent / Witness Date

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272 Child Assent Form My nam e is Jennifer Graff and I am from the Univ ersity of Florida. I am interested in knowing about what girls think about read ing and what books girls might like I also want to learn about what made the books you pick so good or not so good. I would really like it if you participated in my study on girls reading selections and experiences. If you agree to participat e, you will be able to 1. Pick books you want to read outsi de of school, which you will be able to keep and own at the end. 2. Record your thoughts about the book on tape or take pictures of things that were important to you and the book you selected. 3. Talk about these books with your friends. 4. Respond by yourself to the books using art, drama, etc. 5. Talk about these books and your opinions about reading to me. 6. Read aloud a few pages of your book. 7. Complete a survey about reading. You do not have to do anything you dont want to do. You also dont have to answer any questions you dont want to answer This is not a part of school and your grades will not be affected by your participation. You can choose to stop participat ing at any time. Do you want to participate? _________ YES ______________NO _______________________________________________________________ (Child Signature) _______________________________________________________________ Childs Name (Printed) Date

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273 APPENDIX B EXTENDED DAY ENRICHMENT PROGRAM (EDEP) SAMPLE AGENDA Table B-1. Extended day enrichm ent program (EDEP) sample agenda EDEP Schedule (Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri.) Timeframe Gr. K-1 Activity Gr. 2-3 Activity Gr. 4-5 Activity 1:45-2:30pm Attendance, snacks, daily meeting 2:30-3:15pm Outside Activity(3:30) Homework/SSR Outside Activity 3:15-4:00pm Homework/SSR Outside Activity Homework/SSR 4:00-5:00pm Clubs Mon: Nature Club Tues: Soccer Club Thurs: Literacy Club Fri: Computer Lab Clubs Mon: Nature Club Tues: Soccer Club Thurs: Cooking Club Fri: Computer Lab Clubs Mon: Cheerleading Tues: Soccer Club Thurs: Cooking Club Fri: Writing Club/ Computer Lab 5:00-5:30pm Free Time/Cleanup Free Time/Cleanup Free Time/Cleanup EDEP Schedule (Wed.) Timeframe Gr. K-1 Activity Gr. 2-3 Activity Gr. 4-5 Activity 12:30-12:45pm Attendance and daily meeting 12:45-1:30pm Planned Outdoor Activity 1:30-2:00pm Book Buddies 2:00-2:15pm Snack time 2:15-3:00pm Outside Activity(3:30) Homework Outside Activity 3:00-4:00pm Homework Outside Activity Homework 4:00-5:00pm Clubs Mon: Nature Club Tues: Soccer Club Thurs: Literacy Club Fri: Computer Lab Clubs Mon: Nature Club Tues: Soccer Club Thurs: Cooking Club Fri: Computer Lab Clubs Mon: Cheerleading Tues: Soccer Club Thurs: Cooking Club Fri: Writing Club/ Computer Lab 5:00-5:30pm Free Time/Cleanup Free Time/Cleanup Free Time/Cleanup

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274 APPENDIX C INTERVIEW PROTOCOLS Initial Semi-Structured Int erview Protocol at EDEP (~30 minutes) {Greeting with Participants Name). It s great to see you today! Hows it goin? Well, were here today because Id like to unde rstand what you think about reading, what books you like to read, and know about your reading experiences at home and at school. Do you feel comfortable talking with me about your reading interests and experiences? { If no, what would help you feel more comfortable with me? } Because I cant remember everything that you say, Ill be tape recording our conversation. This will help me know exactly what you said. I may also write down some notes too. Is this OK with you? [If yes, then proceed with the following questions making sure this is a conversation that the participant controls.] 1. First, I want to make sure that when we ta lk about reading, we are on the same page, so Id like to know what you think the word reading m eans to you. So if I say the word reading, what comes to your mind? If participant says I dont know Elaborate with Well, what do you think reading is when somebody asks you to read? 2. How do you feel about reading? If needed: What does {term of emoti on} mean? Describe it to me. 3. If someone were to ask you what kind of read er you are, what would you say? What does that mean? If they ask for clarification about what kind of reader If an adult was to say to others, This is (name) and she is a ________ reader or This is (name) and she reads _________, what would they say? Clarifying Question: So if Ive heard you correctly, you are said you are a _______ reader 4. Id like you to think about school and your classroom and the reading activities that occur there. What reading activities happen during the week? What reading ex periences do you have?

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275 5. What do you like to read outside of school? 6. Id now like you to think about your home an d reading. What kinds of reading activities happen at home during the week? Who does the reading? What is read? What reading experiences do you have at home? 7. Where do you usually get your reading materials? How often do you get them? 8. Tell me about some of your favorite reading materials. What makes them so good? 9. When you are reading, what do you think about? What thoughts come into your mind? Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experien ces with me! Ive had a really cool time talking with you. Is there anyt hing youd like to ask me?

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276 On-going Open-Ended Interview Protocol (~30 m inutes) Establish rapport Hey (name). Whats happenin? Howre ya doing/Whats been going on? Briefing /Begin Discussion Im really curious about what has been happening with you and the books you have been selecting. Just like before, Ill be recordi ng our conversation because I cant remember everything that you say. I will also be taking some notes as well. (If digital photos): Now what do we have here? Whats going on with these photos? (If books): Now which book(s) do you have righ t now? Can you bring the books out so we can see them? OK. Now, whats been happeni ng with you and these books so far? Sample Extensions: 1. If they have read the book *What were you thinking about when you were reading it? *What kept you reading it? *What made you want to say i ck (or whatever word the participant often used) and stop reading it? 2. If they havent read the book. *Why do you think youve been unable to read the book? Whats been going on? *Did you or anyone else do a nything with the book? Other Probing Questions/Statement: Why do you think so? Tell me more about that Other techniques to use include if the girls ar e having difficulty articulating their experiences : 1. Asking girls to help me imagine how they would imagine the story: (e.g. Ive never read ~. I know nothing a bout ~. Tell me about that story.) 2. Asking them to compare experiences so I can better understand what they were experiencing. (e.g. Tell me about an experience that felt the same as when you were reading~ or If you were to compare your experience with this book to something you enjoy, what would it be? Describe it.)

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277 Final Semi-Structured Interview Protocol at EDEP (~30 m inutes) Introduction Weve been able to talk and meet for the past few months and Id like for you to let me know how this experience was for you. Like always, Ill be recording our conversations in case I forget something. I may also take a few notes Questions 1. What sorts of experiences would you say you ve had with the books youve selected over the past three months? (Who were involved and what happened?) If needed: What were those expe riences like for you? 2. If I were to do this study again, what do you suggest I do? 3. If you were to describe yourself as a reader, what would you say? 4. How do you currently feel about reading? If needed: What does {term of emoti on} mean? Describe it to me. 5. At the beginning of this study, you said you felt ________ about reading. Now you say you feel _____________ about reading. Why do you think your feelings are different/same? If participants say I dont know What do you think helped those feelings to change/stay the same? 6. Is there anything else youd like to add? Probing Questions/Statements: Why do you think so? Tell me more about that

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278 Initial and Final Book Selectio n Open-Ended Interview Protocol (~30-60 minutes) Introduction Hey there (name). You all done? OK. Lets make sure we have all the books you want. Lets take a look at them here. Be sure to put th em in the order you want to talk about them. So what did you think about the books here toda y? Were there any that you were happy to see here? Were ther e any missing books? Refresher and Question: As you might remember, I am interested in knowing what books you like enough to borrow. I could guess why you might like these books, but Id probably be wrong quite a bit. So Id like for you to tell me why you chose these book s to help me know what kinds of books you and possibly other girls might would like. Your opinions might help teachers and librarians get these types of books in the class or the library too! Now you know what my memory is like, so Im going to record our conversation to make sure I dont forget anything or write anything down wrong. Lets take a look at these books you chose t oday. How did you decide these were the books to get? If needed. Tell me what happened as you chose your books today. Think back as you began to pick these books and talk about what you were thinking until you had finished picking. If needed Did anything else happen today th at helped you pick the books you did? Tell me about it. Verification: Tell me/let me see if I heard you right. I hear d you say that you picked this book because ~ Probing Tell me more about why ~ Tell me why you think ~ Did anything or anyone else help you pick these books? Tell me about it If the participant says she read the book before How did you read these books before? If the participant says she knows the book How did you get to know this book before? Thanks for sharing why you got these books. It was fun to listen to you and I learned a lot! Is there anything else youd like to say about this or ask me?

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279 Summer Semi-Structured Interview Protocol (~30 m inutes) Introduction Hows your summer goin? Whats been ha ppenin? Hows ~ (e.g. family members) Questions 1. Which of the books that you got at the end of the school year caught your interest (eye) this summer? Which did not? 2. Which of the books did you hang out with? 3. What happened when you hung out with the books? 4. Who did you share these books or talk about these books with 5. What other kinds of reading material caught your interest/eye this summer? How did you get them? Probing Questions/Statements: Why do you think so? Tell me more about that Thanks again for spending some time with me and sharing your opinions. I really appreciate what you are doing and saying. (Continue talk with participan t about the participan ts life outside the literary realm).

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280 APPENDIX D TRANSCRIPTION CONVENTIONS These conventions were adapted from Silverm an (1997). ( ) Empty parentheses indi cate the talk was unintelligibl e to transcribe. Any letter combinations or words inside these parent heses indicate my best estimate of what was said. (( )) Double parentheses indicate my commen ts which usually describe an event such as a participant laughing or looking at a book. These are not transcriptions of the participants words. (2) Numbers in parentheses indi cates periods of silence or pause in total seconds greater than 1 full second () An ellipsis is used when a period or silence or pause lasts less than 1 full second. [ A left-side bracket indicates where overlapping talk began ] A right-side bracket indicates when ove rlapping talk ends or marks alignment within a continuing stream of overlapping talk InterA hyphen indicates an abrupt cu t-off or self-interruption of the sound in progress. In this case, the word int erview was self-interrupted = Equal signs, which are often at the end of one line and the beginning of another line, indicate continuous talk or an interrup tion of talk. It indica tes a unification of both lines Mmm Multiples of the same letter indicate the lengthening of a particular sound as an affirmative to anothers utterance ::: Colons indicate a lengthening of the sound just preceding them. The length of the sound is proportional the number of colons That is Underlining indicates stre ss or emphasis by the participant A degree symbol indicates talk lowered in pitch or volume ^ A circumflex accent symbol indicates elevated pitch or volume Silverman, D. (Ed.). (1997). Qualitative research: Theory, method and practice London: Sage.

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281 APPENDIX E BOOK ORDER FORM Date: ___________________ ____________________________s 15 Initial Book Selections

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282APPENDIX F BOOK LOG ______________s Book Log Date Borrowed Book # Book Title (1st few words) How far did you get with the book? (Circle one) Finished it Read 1/2 Read ___ Chap/pgs. Looked at Pictures Only Didnt Read it How Good Was It?(Choose One) 1= Not good 2=A little good 3=OK 4=Very Good 5=Great! (You can use your own scale too) Date Returned Finished it Read 1/2 Read ___ Chap/pgs. Looked at Pictures Only Didnt Read it Finished it Read 1/2 Read ___ Chap/pgs. Looked at Pictures Only Didnt Read it Finished it Read 1/2 Read ___ Chap/pgs. Looked at Pictures Only Didnt Read it Finished it Read 1/2 Read ___ Chap/pgs. Looked at Pictures Only Didnt Read it

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283APPENDIX G LIST OF BOOKS OFFERED Table G-1. List of books offered Book No Year Published* Book title Author Genre Series/ NonSeries Type Lexile** 1 1993R/ 1998R The BFG Roald Dahl Fantasy Non-Series Chapter Book 720 2 2001/ 2002R Aquamarine Alice Hoffman Fantasy Non-Series Chapter Book 940 3 2000R James and the Giant Peach Roald Dahl Fantasy Non-Series Chapter Book 870 4 2002R Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl Fantasy Series Chapter Book 810 5 1999 Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning Lemony Snicket Fantasy Series Chapter Book 1010 6 1999 Series of Unfortunate Events #2: The Reptile Room Lemony Snicket Fantasy Series Chapter Book 1040 7 2000 Series of Unfortunate Events #3: The Wide Window Lemony Snicket Fantasy Series Chapter Book 1150 R means reprint **Lexiles were determined using the lexile analyzer tool at www.lexile .com

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284Table G-1. Continued Book No Year Published* Book title Author Genre Series/ NonSeries Type Lexile** 8 1996 Magic Tree House # 7: Sunset of the Sabertooth Mary Pope Osborne Fantasy Series Chapter Book 350 9 2001 Magic Tree House #23 : Twister on Tuesday Mary Pope Osborne Fantasy Series Chapter Book 310 10 2004 Geronimo Stilton #1: Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye Geronimo Stilton Fantasy Series Chapter Book 540 11 2006 Geronimo Stilton #2: Valentine's Day Disaster Geronimo Stilton Fantasy Series Chapter Book 560 12 2005R Poppy Avi Fantasy Series Chapter Book 670 13 2005 The Land of Elyon Book I: The Dark Hills Divide Patrick Carman Fantasy Series Chapter Book 940 14 2003 Fortune Teller's Club: Playing with Fire Dotti Enderle Fantasy Series Chapter Book 960 15 2005 Ghostville Elementary #10: Class Trip to Haunted House Marcia Thornton Jones/ Debbie Dadey Fantasy Series Chapter Book 680 16 2004/ 2005R Ghostville Elementary #9: Beware of the Blabbermouth Marcia Jones/ Debbie Dadey Fantasy Series Chapter Book 660

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285Table G-1. Continued Book No Year Published* Book title Author Genre Series/ NonSeries Type Lexile** 17 2000 Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type Doreen Cronin Fantasy Series Picture Book 160 18 2003 SpongeBob SquarePantsFriends Forever Cinemanga TokyoPop/ Steven Hillenburg Fantasy TV Series Chapter Book 420 19 2005 Fairy Dust and the Quest for an Egg Gail Carson Levine Fantasy TV Series Chapter Book 660 20 2004 W.I.T.C.H: The Disappearance Elizabeth Lenhard Disney Fantasy TV Series Chapter Book 710 21 2004 W.I.T.C.H: The Power of Five Elizabeth Lenhard Disney Fantasy TV Series Chapter Book 760 22 2003 Bicycle Madness Jane Kurtz Historical Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 810 23 2004 Coming on Home Soon Jacqueline Woodson Historical Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 550 24 2001 The Other Side Jacqueline Woodson Historical Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 300 25 2001 Freedom School Yes Amy Littlesugar Historical Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 390

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286Table G-1. Continued Book No Year Published* Book title Author Genre Series/ NonSeries Type Lexile** 26 1998R The Friendship Mildred D. Taylor Historical Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 750 27 2004 Circle Unbroken Margot Theis Raven Historical Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 1050 28 2004 A Sweet Smell of Roses Angela Johnson Historical Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 910 29 2004 Don't Say Ain't Irene Smalls Historical Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 720 30 2003 The Hard Times Jar Ethel Footman Smothers Historical Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 570 31 2003 Fishing Day Andrea Davis Pinkney Historical Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 690 32 2004 One Candle Eve Bunting Historical Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 420 33 1999 Riding Freedom Pam Munoz Ryan Historical Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 720 34 1996 The Midwife's Apprentice Karen Cushman Historical Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 1240

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287Table G-1. Continued Book No Year Published* Book title Author Genre Series/ NonSeries Type Lexile** 35 1993 Lightning Stephen Kramer Non-Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 800 36 2005 Family Science Sandra Markle Non-Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 1350 37 2004 The Weather Detectives Mark Eubank Non-Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 910 38 2001 Weather Legends : Native American Lore and the Science of Weather Carole Vogel Non-Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 960 39 2005 O Omari Grandberry Non-Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 730 40 2002 The Everything Kids Cookbook Sandra K. Nissenberg Non-Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 1040 41 2006 Families Susan Kuklin Non-Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 700 42 2005 To Be an Artist Maya Ajmera / John D. Ivanko Non-Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 840 43 2005 Time for Kids Almanac 2006 Time Non-Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 0

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288Table G-1. Continued Book No Year Published* Book title Author Genre Series/ NonSeries Type Lexile** 44 2002 Girls Think of Everything Catherine Thimmesh Non-Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 960 45 1991 Signing for Kids Mickey Fl odin Non-Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 0 46 2001R What Do You Do if Something Wants to Eat You? Steve Jenkins Non-Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 1050 47 1998/ 2004R Hottest Coldest Highest Deepest Steve Jenkins Non-Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 920 48 2005 Lebron James (NBA Reader) John Hereas Non-Fiction Series Picture Book 1080 49 2003 Before They Were Stars John Smallwood Non-Fiction Series Picture Book 810 50 2004 Carmelo Anthony: It's Just the Beginning Carmelo Anthony/ Greg Brown Non-Fiction Series Picture Book 780 51 2004 Vince Carter: Choose Your Course Vince Carter/ Greg Brown Non-Fiction Series Picture Book 780 52 2003 Magic Tree House #8: Twisters and other Storms Will and Mary Pope Osborne Non-Fiction Series Chapter Book 680

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289Table G-1. Continued Book No Year Published* Book title Author Genre Series/ NonSeries Type Lexile** 53 2005 Magic Tree House #12: Sabertooths of the IceAge Natalie Pope Boyce and Mary Pope Osborne Non-Fiction Series Chapter Book 580 54 2005 Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul-The Real Deal #2 Jack Canfield/ Deborah Reber/ Mark Victor Hansen Non-Fiction Series Chapter Book 840 55 2004 Chocolate: A Sweet History Sandra Markle/ Charise Merideharper Non-Fiction Series Picture Book 570 56 1994 Big Cats Seymour Simon Non-Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 1050 57 1999 Through My Eyes Ruby Bridges Non-Fiction Autobiography Non-Series Picture Book 860 58 2003 Portraits of AfricanAmerican Heroes Tanya Bolden Non-Fiction Biography Non-Series Chapter Book 1140 59 2002 Destiny's Child Ian Gittins Non-Fiction Biography Non-Series Picture Book 1320

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290Table G-1. Continued Book No Year Published* Book title Author Genre Series/ NonSeries Type Lexile** 60 2004 Pop People: Lil' Romeo Marie Morreali Non-Fiction Biography Non-Series Picture Book 950 61 2000 Let It Shine : Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters Andrea Davis Pinkney Non-Fiction Biography Non-Series Chapter Book 940 62 2005 Rosa Nikki Giovanni Non-Fiction Biography Non-Series Picture Book 900 63 2002 The Negro Leagues : AllBlack Baseball Laura Driscoll Non-Fiction Biography Non-Series Picture Book 610 64 2002 When Marian Sang Pam Munoz Ryan Non-Fiction Biography Non-Series Picture Book 780 65 2002 Talkin' About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Bessie Coleman Nikki Grimes Non-Fiction Biography Non-Series Picture Book 970 66 2002 Only Passing Through Anne Rockwell Non-Fiction Biography Non-Series Picture Book 790 67 2005 Great Stars of the NBA: Allen Iverson NBA Non-Fiction Biography Series Chapter Book 510 68 2004 Bow Wow John Bakston Non-Fiction Biography Series Chapter Book 590

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291Table G-1. Continued Book No Year Published* Book title Author Genre Series/ NonSeries Type Lexile** 69 2004 Beyonc Kathleen Tracy Non-Fiction Biography Series Chapter Book 880 70 1997 Dear Mrs. Parks Rosa Parks, Gregory J. Reed Non-FictionAutobiography Non-Series Chapter Book 850 71 1998 Coming Home Floyd Cooper Non-FictionBiography Non-Series Picture Book 770 72 2000 Wilma Unlimited Kathleen Krull Non-FictionFictionalized biography Non-Series Picture Book 730 73 2005 Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl's Baseball Dream Crystal Hubbard Non-FictionFictionalized biography Non-Series Picture Book 760 74 2006 Keep Climbing Girls Beah E. Richards Poetry Non-Series Picture Book 1010 75 2006R If Pigs Could Fly and Other Deep Thoughts Bruce Lansky Poetry Non-Series Picture Book 0 76 2004R Locomotion Jacqueline Woodson Poetry Non-Series Chapter Book 0

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292Table G-1. Continued Book No Year Published* Book title Author Genre Series/ NonSeries Type Lexile** 77 2002 Remember the Bridge Carole Boston Weatherford Poetry Non-Series Picture Book 0 78 2003 Rock of Ages Tanya Bolden Poetry Non-Series Picture Book 0 79 2005R Visiting Langston Willie Perdomo Poetry Non-Series Picture Book 0 80 2003 Blues Journey Walter Dean Myers Poetry Non-Series Picture Book 0 81 1998 The Palm of My Heart Davida Adedjouma Poetry Non-Series Picture Book 0 82 2002 When Daddy Prays Nikki Grimes Poetry Non-Series Picture Book 0 83 1986 Nutty Knock Knocks Joseph Rosenbloom Poetry Non-Series Chapter Book 0 84 2005 Spooky Creature Riddles Janet Nuzum Myers Poetry Non-Series Chapter Book 0 85 2003 Love That Dog Sharon Creech Poetry Non-Series Chapter Book 0

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293Table G-1. Continued Book No Year Published* Book title Author Genre Series/ NonSeries Type Lexile** 86 2003R Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great Judy Blume Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 590 87 2005 The Real Lucky Charm Charisse Richardson Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 670 88 2005 The Real Slam Dunk Charisse Richardson Realistic Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 590 89 2005 101 Ways to Bug Your Parents Lee Wardlow Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 700 90 2003 A Smart Girl's Guide to Friendship Troubles American Girl Library/Patty Kelly Criswell/ Angela Martini Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 850 91 2003 Fame and Glory in Freedom Georgia Barbara O' Connor Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 740 92 2006R Buttermilk Hill Ruth White Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 790 93 2003 It Only Looks Easy Pamela Swallow Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 670

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294Table G-1. Continued Book No Year Published* Book title Author Genre Series/ NonSeries Type Lexile** 94 2004 Ida B: and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World Katherine Hannigan Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 970 95 2005R 101 Ways to Bug Your Teacher Lee Wardlow Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 700 96 2001 Because of Winn-Dixie Kate DiCamillo Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 610 97 2002 Visiting Day Jacqueline Woodson Realistic Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 1430 98 2000 Sweet Sweet Memory Jacqueline Woodson Realistic Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 380 99 2002 Our Gracie Aunt Jacqueline Woodson Realistic Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 370 100 2005 Mr. Chickee's Funny Money Christopher Paul Curtis Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 1010 101 2003 Dancing in the Wings Debbie Allen Realistic Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 540 102 1988 Journey to Jo'Burg Beverly Naidoo Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 760

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295Table G-1. Continued Book No Year Published* Book title Author Genre Series/ NonSeries Type Lexile** 103 1999 Philip Hall Likes Me I Reckon Maybe Bette Greene Realistic Fiction Series Chapter Book 900 104 2006R Bird Angela Johnson Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 710 105 1993 Zeely Virginia Hamilton Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 690 106 2003 Double Dutch Sharon Draper Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 760 107 2004 Some Friend Marie Bradby Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 1070 108 2001 What Did I Do to Deserve a Sister Like You? Angela Shelf Medearis Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 560 109 2000 Jazmin's Notebook Nikki Grimes Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 980 110 2004 Jazzy Miz Mozetta Brenda C. Roberts Realistic Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 920 111 2001 Auntee Edna Ethel Footman Smothers Realistic Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 620

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296Table G-1. Continued Book No Year Published* Book title Author Genre Series/ NonSeries Type Lexile** 112 2000 Quinnie Blue Dinah Johnson Realistic Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 710 113 2005 Squashed in the Middle Elizabeth Winthrop Realistic Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 490 114 2005 Becoming Naomi Leon Pam Munoz Ryan Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 830 115 2005 My Name is Bilal Asma MobinUddin Realistic Fiction Non-Series Picture Book 760 116 2003R /2001 Skeleton Man Joseph Bruchac Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 730 117 2005 Olive's Ocean Kevin Henkes Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 680 118 2005R never mind! A Twin Novel Avi, Rachel Vail Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 620 119 2005 So B. It Sarah Weeks Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 860 120 2003 The Secret School Avi Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 540

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297Table G-1. Continued Book No Year Published* Book title Author Genre Series/ NonSeries Type Lexile** 121 1997 Amber Brown Wants Extra Credit Paula Danziger Realistic Fiction Series Chapter Book 710 122 1999 Junie B Jones is (Almost) a Flower Girl # 13 Barbara Park Realistic Fiction Series Chapter Book 380 123 1992 Junie B Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus (Stepping Stone Book) Barbara Park Realistic Fiction Series Chapter Book 380 124 2001 Starring Grace Mary Hoffman Realistic Fiction Series Chapter Book 740 125 2006R Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs (#2)-Lost in the Tunnel of Time Sharon Draper Realistic Fiction Series Chapter Book 720 126 2001 The Breadwinner Deborah Ellis Realistic Fiction Series Chapter Book 630 127 2000 Junebug and the Reverend Alice Mead Realistic Fiction Series Chapter Book 480 128 2001 One True Friend Joyce Hansen Realistic Fiction Series Chapter Book 720 129 2006R Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs (#1)--The Buried Bones Mystery Sharon Draper Realistic Fiction Series Chapter Book 720

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298Table G-1. Continued Book No Year Published* Book title Author Genre Series/ NonSeries Type Lexile** 130 2004 Willimena Rules #3: How to Lose Your Cookie Money Valerie Wilson Wesley Realistic Fiction Series Chapter Book 520 131 2005 Animal Ark: Labrador on the Lawn Ben M. Baglio Realistic Fiction Series Chapter Book 960 132 2005 Olivia Sharp Agent for Secrets: The Sly Spy Marjorie Weinman Sharmat/Mitchell Sharmat Realistic Fiction Series Chapter Book 560 133 2006 Animal Ark: Racehorse in the Rain Ben M. Baglio Realistic Fiction Series Chapter Book 810 134 1999 Cheetah Girls #1: Wishing on a Star Deborah Gregory Realistic Fiction TV Series Chapter Book 800 135 2000 Cheetah Girls #4: Hey Ho Hollywood! Deborah Gregory Realistic Fiction TV Series Chapter Book 1130 136 2005 That's So Raven #10Psyched Disney/James Ponti Realistic Fiction TV Series Chapter Book 660 137 2005 That's So Raven #11Boyfriend Blues Disney/Kimberly Morris Realistic Fiction TV Series Chapter Book 730

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299Table G-1. Continued Book No Year Published* Book title Author Genre Series/ NonSeries Type Lexile** 138 2006 Unfabulous #3-Starstruck TeeNick Realistic Fiction TV Series Chapter Book 760 139 2006 Unfabulous #4-Jinxed TeeNick Realistic Fiction TV Series Chapter Book 770 140 2005 Zoey101 #1-Girls Got Game TeeNick/ Jane Mason/ Sarah Hines Stephens Realistic Fiction TV Series Chapter Book 1030 141 2005 Zoey101 #2-Dramarama TeeNick/ Jane Mason/ Sarah Hines Stephens Realistic Fiction TV Series Chapter Book 1030 142 2003 Thunder Rose Jerdine Nolen Traditional Literature Non-Series Picture Book 910 143 2005 Hewitt Anderson's Great Big Life Jerdine Nolen Traditional Literature Non-Series Picture Book 840 144 2001 The Dark-Thirty : Southern Tales of the Supernatural Patricia McKissack Traditional Literature Non-Series Chapter Book 730 145 2005 Lies and Other Tall Tales Zora Neale Hurston Traditional Literature Non-Series Picture Book 1040

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300Table G-1. Continued Book No Year Published* Book title Author Genre Series/ NonSeries Type Lexile** 146 1997 Aida Leotyne Price Traditional Literature Non-Series Picture Book 730 147 2003 The Magic Gourd Baba Wague Diakite Traditional Literature Non-Series Picture Book 440 148 2000 The Girl Who Spun Gold Virginia Hamilton Traditional Literature Non-Series Picture Book 360 149 2001 Goin' Someplace Special Patricia McKissack Traditional Literature Non-Series Picture Book 550 150 2003 Beautiful Blackbird Ashley Bryan Traditional Literature Non-Series Picture Book 540 151 2004 Whose Got Game? Poppy or the Snake? Toni and Slade Morrison Traditional Literature Non-Series Picture Book 500 152 2002 Sense Pass King: A Story from Cameroon Katrin Tchana Traditional Literature Non-Series Picture Book 510 153 2003 Tale of Despereaux Kate DiCamillo Traditional Literature Non-Series Chapter Book 670 154 2002 Why is Heaven So Far Away Julius Lester Traditional Literature Series Picture Book 940

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301Table G-1. Continued Book No Year Published* Book title Author Genre Series/ NonSeries Type Lexile** 155 1950 The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe C.S. Lewis Fantasy Series Chapter Book 940 156 1986R Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret Judy Blume Realistic Fiction Non-Series Chapter Book 590 157 1981/ 1986R Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark Alvin Schwartz Traditional Literature Series Chapter Book 640 158 2002 We are Dolphins Molly Grooms Fantasy (Faction) Series Picture Book 820 159 2002 We are Bears Molly Grooms Fantasy (Faction) Series Picture Book 820 160 1997 Children of the Earth Remember Schim Schimmel Fiction Non-Series Picture Book AD 490 161 2001 Scary Stories Box Set of 3 Alvin Schwartz Traditional Literature Series Chapter Book 640

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302 APPENDIX H GIRLS BOOK SELECTIONS Table H-1. Alices book selections Alice Initial Book Selections Borro wed Books Final Book Selections Carmelo Anthony: Its Just the Beginning Carmelo Anthony: Its Just the Beginning Carmelo Anthony: Its Just the Beginning Locomotion Locomotion Locomotion The Real Lucky Charm The Real Lucky Charm The Real Lucky Charm Mr. Chickees Funny Money Mr. Chickees Funny Money Mr. Chickees Funny Money 101 Ways to Bug Your Parents 101 Ways to Bug Your Parents Vince Carter: Choose Your Course O O Double Dutch Lebron James (NBA Reader) Pop People: Lil Romeo Pop People: Lil Romeo Great Stars of the NBA: Allen Iverson Love that Dog Great Stars of the NBA: Allen Iverson The Real Slam Dunk Dear Mrs. Parks The Real Slam Dunk Thats So Raven #10Psyched Thats So Raven #10Psyched Thats So Raven #11Boyfriend Blues Thats So Raven #11Boyfriend Blues Why is Heaven So Far Away? Why is Heaven So Far Away? Bow Wow

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303 Table H-1. Continued Alice Initial Book Selections Borro wed Books Final Book Selections 101 Ways To Bug Your Teacher Before They Were Stars

PAGE 304

304 Table H-2. Alondras book selections Alondra Initial Book Selections Borro wed Books Final Book Selections The Land of Elyon Book I: The Dark Hills Divide The Land of Elyon Book I: The Dark Hills Divide Freedom School Yes SpongeBob SquarePantsFriends Forever SpongeBob SquarePantsFriends Forever Time for Kids Almanac 2006 If Pigs Could Fly If Pigs Could Fly Girls Think of Everything Buttermilk Hill Buttermilk Hill Poppy Junie B Jones is (Almost) a Flower Girl # 13 Junie B Jones is (Almost) a Flower Girl # 13 Keep Climbing Girls Tale of Despereaux Tale of Despereaux Through My Eyes Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type Magic Tree House #12: Sabertooths of the Ice Age Magic Tree House #12: Sabertooths of the Ice Age Don't Say Ain't Magic Tree House #8: Twisters and other Storms Magic Tree House #8: Twisters and other Storms Aquamarine Children of the Earth Remember Children of the Earth Remember Fairy Dust and the Quest for an Egg Willimena Rules #3: How to Lose Your Cookie Money Fairy Dust and the Quest for an Egg Hottest Coldest Highest Deepest Big Cats Don't Say Ain't Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul-The Real Deal #2 We are Puppies Sweet Sweet Memory A Smart Girl's Guide to Friendship Troubles The Weather Detectives

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305 Table H-2. Continued Alondra Initial Book Selections Borro wed Books Final Book Selections One True Friend Our Gracie Aunt Why is Heaven So Far Away? We are Bears We are Dolphins

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306 Table H-3. Candys book selections Candy Borrowed Books Initial & Final Book Selections O O Destiny's Child Destiny's Child The Other Side Zoey101 #1-Girls Got Game Freedom School, Yes The Everything Kids Cookbook Don't Say Ain't Family Science Bow Wow SpongeBob SquarePants-Friends Forever Francie (Not a part of the study but she requested the book from me) Cheetah Girls #1: Wishing on a Star Becoming Naomi Leon Cheetah Girls #4: Hey Ho Hollywood! Visiting Day Unfabulous #4-Jinxed Through My Eyes WITCH: The Disappearance WITCH: The Power of Five The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning Series of Unfortunate Events #2: The Reptile Room Series of Unfortunate Events #3: The Wide Window

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307 Table H-4. Chris book selections Chris Initial Book Selections Borro wed Books Final Book Selections O O O Geronimo Stilton #1: Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye Geronimo Stilton #1: Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye Ida B and her plans to maximize fun.... Geronimo Stilton #2: Valentines Day Disaster Geronimo Stilton #2: Valentines Day Disaster What Did I Do to Deserve a Sister Like You? Thats So Raven #11Boyfriend Blues Thats So Raven #11Boyfriend Blues Aquamarine Thats So Raven #10Psyched Olivia Sharp: The Sly Spy Olivia Sharp: The Sly Spy Unfabulous #3 Starstruck So B. It So B. It Unfabulous #4 Jinxed Starring Grace Starring Grace Junie B Jones is (Almost) a Flower Girl # 13 Time for Kids Almanac 2006 Time for Kids Almanac 2006 Nutty Knock Knocks Spooky Creature Riddles Nutty Knock Knocks Amber Brown Wants Extra Credit Buttermilk Hill Amber Brown Wants Extra Credit Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning Hewitt Andersons Great Big Life Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs (#1)The Buried Bones Mystery Series of Unfortunate Events #2: The Reptile Room Double Dutch Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs (#2)-Lost in the Tunnel of Time

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308 Table H-4. Continued Chris Initial Book Selections Borro wed Books Final Book Selections Zoey101 #1-Girls Got Game 101 Ways To Bug Your Teacher The Friendship Zoey101 #2 Dramarama Lies and Other Tall Tales Olive's Ocean Pop People: Lil' Romeo Quinnie Blue Going Someplace Special

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309 Table H-5. Jackies book selections Jackie Initial Book Selections Bo rrowed Books Final Book Selections Bow Wow Bow Wow The Other Side The Real Lucky Charm The Real Lucky Charm Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning Coming on Home Soon Freedom School Yes Coming on Home Soon Dont Say Aint A Sweet Smell of Roses Dont Say Aint The Everything Kids Cookbook The Hard Times Jar The Everything Kids Cookbook Carmelo Anthony: Its Just the Beginning Jazmins Notebook Carmelo Anthony: Its Just the Beginning Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul-The Real Deal #2 Bird Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul-The Real Deal #2 Sweet Sweet Memory Great Stars of the NBA: Allen Iverson Sweet Sweet Memory Auntee Edna The Real Slam Dunk Auntee Edna Destinys Child Are You There God, Its Me, Margaret Are You There God, Its Me Margaret Pop People: Lil Romeo Visiting Day Thats So Raven #10Psyched Circle Unbroken Thats So Raven #11Boyfriend Blues When Daddy Prays Unfabulous #3-Starstruck Our Gracie Aunt

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310 Table H-5. Continued Jackie Initial Book Selections Bo rrowed Books Final Book Selections Unfabulous #4-Jinxed Zoey101 #1-Girls Got Game

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311 Table H-6. Jaimes book selections Jaime Initial Book Selections Borro wed Books Final Book Selections A Smart Girl's Guide to Friendship Troubles A Smart Girl's Guide to Friendship Troubles Ida B and her plans to maximize fun.... Cheetah Girls #4: Hey Ho Hollywood! Cheetah Girls #4: Hey Ho Hollywood! Amber Brown Wants Extra Credit Bicycle Madness Bicycle Madness Buttermilk Hill Destiny's Child Destiny's Child The Secret School That's So Raven #10Psyched That's So Raven #10Psyched The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe That's So Raven #11Boyfriend Blues What Did I Do to Deserve a Sister Like You? That's So Raven #11Boyfriend Blues Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Trouble Don't Last Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Bow Wow Bow Wow Beyonc Beyonc Cheetah Girls #1: Wishing on a Star Cheetah Girls #1: Wishing on a Star Fairy Dust and the Quest for an Egg Fairy Dust and the Quest for an Egg O Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning Becoming Naomi Leon Series of Unfortunate Events #3: The Wide Window Because of Winn Dixie Pop People: Lil' Romeo

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312 Table H-7. Morgans book selections Morgan Initial Book Selections Bo rrowed Books Final Book Selections Aquamarine Aquamarine Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning Fairy Dust and the Quest for an Egg Fairy Dust and the Quest for an Egg Series of Unfortunate Events #2: The Reptile Room Signing for Kids Signing for Kids Series of Unfortunate Events #3: The Wide Window Nutty Knock Knocks Nutty Knock Knocks Chocolate: A Sweet History never mind! A Twin Novel never mind! A Twin Novel It Only Looks Easy Skeleton Man Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark Because of Winn-Dixie Super Visions Because of Winn-Dixie The Land of Elyon Book I: The Dark Hills Divide Love that Dog Buttermilk Hill SpongeBob SquarePantsFriends Forever Bird Ida B and her plans to maximize fun. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe The Secret School Scary Stories Set of 3 Books Unfabulous #4-Jinxed Zoey101 #1-Girls Got Game

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313 Table H-7. Continued Morgan Initial Book Selections Bo rrowed Books Final Book Selections Zoey101 #2 -Dramarama

PAGE 314

314 LIST OF REFERENCES Albers, P. (1997). Art as literacy. Language Arts, 74(5), 338-350. Allington, R L. (1983). Fluency. The neglected reading goal. The Reading Teacher, 36 556561. Allington, R. L. (2001). What really matters for struggling readers. Designing research-based programs. New York: Longman. Allington, R. L. (2002). (Ed.) Big brother and the national reading curriculum Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Allington, R. L., Guice, S., Baker, K., Michaelson, N., & Li, S. (1995). Access to books: Variations in schools and classrooms. Language and Literacy Spectrum, 5, 23-25. Allington, R. L. & McGill-Franzen, A. (2001, March). Minimizing summer reading loss among poor children Federally funded proposal by U. S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Washington, DC. Allington, R. L., McGill-Franzen, A., Camilli, G. Williams, L., Zmach, C. C., Zeig, J. L. & Graff, J. (2007, April 11). Ameliorating summer reading setback among economically disadvantaged children. Presented at the 2007 AERA A nnual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, April 9-13, 2007. Allington, R. L. & Walmsley, S. A. (1995). Re defining and reforming instructional support programs for at-risk students. In R. Allington & S. Walmsley (Eds.), No quick fix: Rethinking literacy programs in Americas elementary schools (pp.19-44). New York: Teachers College Press. Almasi, J. (1996). A new view of discussi on. In L. Gambrell & J. Almasi (Eds.), Lively discussions! Fostering engaged reading (pp.2-24). Newark, DE: Internationa l Reading Association. Alton-Lee, A., & Nuthall, G. (1993). Refram ing classroom research: A lesson from the private world of children. Harvard Educational Review 63(1), 50-84. Alvermann, D. E. (2000). Researching libraries, literacies, and lives: A rhizoanalysis. In W. Pillow (Ed.), Working the ruins: Feminist poststructuralist theory and methods in education, (pp. 114-129). New York: Routledge. Alvermann, D. E. (2003). Seeing themselves as capable and engaged readers: Adolescents and re/mediated instruction Naperville, IL. Learning Point A ssociated [Government Contract Number ED-01-0011]. Institute of Education Sciences (IES). U.S. Department of Education. North Central Regi onal Educational Laboratory.

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315 Alvermann, D. E., Hagood, M. C., Heron-Hruby, A., Hughes, P., Williams, K. B., & Yoon, J. (2007). Telling themselves who they are: What one out-of-school time study revealed about underachieving readers. Reading Psychology, 28 (1), 31-50. Alvermann, D.E. & Xu, S. (2003). Childrens ev eryday literacies: Intersections of popular culture and language arts instruction. Language Arts 81(2), 145-154. Alvesson, M. & Skoldberg, K. (2000). Reflexive methodology: Ne w vistas for qualitative research. London: Sage. Anderson, G., Higgins, D., & Wurster, S.R. (1985). Difference in the free-reading books selected by high, average, and low achievers. The Reading Teacher 39 326-330. Anderson, M. A., Tollefson, N. A., & Gilbert, E. C. (1985). Giftedness and reading: A crosssectional view of differences in reading attitudes and behaviors. Gifted Children Quarterly, 29, 186-189. Anderson, R., Wilson, P., & Fielding, L. (1988). Growth in reading and how children spend their time outside of school. Reading Research Quarterly 23, 285-303. Arya, P. (2003). Influences of reading group ex periences on second grad ers perceptions of themselves as readers. Literacy Teaching and Learning, 8 (1), 1-18. Au, K. H. (1997). Ownership, literacy achie vement, and students of diverse cultural backgrounds. In J. T. Guthrie & A. Wigfield (Eds.), Reading engagement: Motivating readers through integrated instruction (pp. 168-182). Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Baker, L. & Wigfield, A. (1999). Dimensions of childrens motivation for reading and their relations to reading activity and reading achievement. Reading Research Quarterly, 34(4), 452-477. Bakhtin, M. M. (1981). Discourse in the novel. In M. Holquist (Ed.), The Dialogic Imagination (pp.259-442). Austin: Univers ity of Texas Press. Bakhtin, M. (1986). The problem of speech genres (V. McGee, Trans.). In C. Emerson & M. Holquist (Eds.), Speech genres and other late essays (pp. 60--102). Austin: University of Texas Press. Bard, T. B. & Leide, J. E. (1985). Library book s selected by elementary school students in Hawaii as indicated by school li brary circulation records. Library and Information Science Research, 7 115-43. Baron, S., Field, J., & Schuller, T. (Eds.). (2000). Social capital: Critical perspectives New York: Oxford University Press.

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316 Bergin, D. A. & Cooks, H. C. (2002). High school students of color talk about accusations of acting White. The Urban Review, 34 (2), 113-134. Bernstein, R. J. (1983). Beyond objectivism and relativism: Sc ience, hermeneutics, and praxis Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press Bishop, R. S. (1990). Mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors. Perspectives, 6 ix-xi. Blackford, H. V. (2004). Out of this world. Why lit erature matters to girls. New York: Teachers College Press. Bleicher, J. (1980). Contemporary hermeneutics: Hermeneu tics as method, philosophy, and critique. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Bogden, R. (1998). Qualitative research for educati on: An introduction theory and methods Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Bondy, E. (1985). Seeing it their wa y: What childrens definitions of reading tell us about improving teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 41 (4), 33-45. Bontekoe, R. (1996). Dimensions of the hermeneutic circle Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press. Booth, D. (2006). Reading doesnt matter anymore Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers. Borko, H. & Eisenhart, M. (1986). Students conceptions of reading and their reading experiences in school. The Elementary School Journal, 86 (5), 588-611. Boyatzis, R. E. (1998). Transforming qualitative information Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Boyd, C. O. (2001). Phenomenology the method. In P. L. Munhall (Ed.), Nursing Research: A qualitative perspective (3rd Ed.) (pp. 93-122). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett. Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006). Usin g thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3, 77-101. Brooks, G. W., Waterman, R., & Allington, R. L. (2003). A national survey of teachers reports of childrens favorite series books. The Dragon Lode, 21(2), 8-14. Brozo, W. G. (2002). To be a boy, to be a reader. E ngaging teen and preteen boys in active literacy Newark, DE: Internationa l Reading Association. Bruner, J. (1986). Actual minds possible worlds Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Burhmester, D. (1990). Intimacy of friendship, in terpersonal competence, and adjustment during preadolescence and adolescence. Child Development, 61, 1101-1111.

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317 Bussert-Webb, K. (2001). I won't tell you a bout myself, but I will draw my story. Language Arts, 78(6), 511-519. Cai, M. (1998). "Multiple definitions of multicultura l literature: Is the debate really just "Ivory Tower" bickering?" The New Advocate 11 (4), 311-324. Cairney, T. (1988). The purpose of basals. What children think. The Reading Teacher, 41 420428. Cambourne, B. (1995). Toward an educationally re levant theory of litera cy learning: Twenty years of inquiry. The Reading Teacher, 49, 182-192. Campbell, J. R., Voelkl, K. E., & Donahue, P. L. (1997). NAEP 1996 trends in academic progress (NCES Publication No.97-985). Wash ington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Campbell, K., Griswold, D., & Smith, F. (1988). E ffects of trade back covers (hardback or paperback) on individualized reading choices by elementary-age children. Reading Improvement 35(3), 166-178. Canney, G., & Winograd, P. (1979). Schemata for reading and reading comprehension performance (Technical Report No. 120). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois, Center for the Study of Reading. Canney, G., & Winograd, P. (1980). Schemata for reading and reading comprehension performance Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Boston, MA. Carter, M. (1988). How children choose books. Im plications for helping develop readers. Ohio Reading Teacher, 22, 15-21. Cassidy, J., & Cassidy, D. (2005/2006, December/Ja nuary).Whats hot, whats not for 2006. Reading Today 23(3), 1. Casteneda, M. (1995). A look at Hispanic childrens reading choices and in terests: A descriptive study. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Texas Womens University, Denton. Chall, J. S., Jacobs, V. A., & Baldwin, L. E. (1990). The reading crisis: Why poor children fall behind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Cherland, M. R. (1994). Private practices: Girls reading fiction and constructing identity. London, Taylor and Francis, Ltd. Ching, S. H. D. (2005). Multicultural children s literature as an instrument of power. Language Arts, 83, 128-136.

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343 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Jennifer Graff completed her b achelors degree in English L iteratu re with a minor in Womens Studies at the University of Florida (UF) and entered the teaching profession as a school drop-out prevention specia list for at-risk fourth and fi fth graders where she focused on developing the students literacy capabilities. Her desire to bett er understand world cultures and develop cross-cultural understa nding led her to Wakayama pref ecture in Japan where she taught English as a Foreign Language at two rural, public secondary schools for over three years. Jennifer returned to the UF and obtained a Ma sters degree in Readi ng Education under the advisement of Dr. Richard Allington and Dr. A nne McGill-Franzen. She continued her academic journey as a doctoral student in Curriculum and Instruction at UF, focusing on language, literacy, and culture. During her doctoral studies Je nnifer taught Secondary Readin g and Childrens Literature courses for pre-service and in-ser vice teachers and served as a research assistant on a variety of education and reading grants including Dr. Rich ard Allington and Dr. Anne McGill-Franzens U.S. Department of Education Office of Educat ional Research and Improvement (OERI) grant, Minimizing Summer Reading Loss among Poor Children. Jennifer continued her commitment to cultural understanding and professional development through her assistance with the UF Transnational and Global Studies Centers Teach ers (K-12) Global Education Workshop series, and worked with Save the Children U.S. in Naka songola, Uganda, on literacy initiatives for girls and women. After obtaining her doctoral degr ee, Jennifer accepted a positi on as Assistant Professor of Reading Education in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.