Date of Award

5-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Teacher Education

Major Professor

Richard L. Allington

Committee Members

Allison D. Anders, Colleen P. Gilrane, Stergios G. Botzakis

Abstract

Abstract

The impetus for this study was to understand a relatively new phenomenon, elementary students’ use of electronic readers for independent reading, and the impact it might have on reading behaviors. Interested in students’ perspectives, I examined third grade students’ experiences using electronic readers, including references to self-descriptions of reading motivation and engagement. This descriptive case study addresses the research question: In what ways does reading on electronic readers during independent reading affect third grade students’ reading experiences and behaviors?

Daily observations of students’ reading behaviors during independent reading were recorded in detailed field notes. In addition, transcripts of conversations during weekly book discussions where my participants shared the books they were reading and their reading experiences were gathered. Transcripts of pre- and post- interviews, annotations made on the electronic reader, and reading logs recording the number of books read were also collected. In order to create narratives of young readers portraying the details of my participants’ experiences using electronic readers during independent reading, I completed descriptive analyses using the constant comparative method across my observations, interviews, and documents.

Findings from this study capture the multidimensionality of participants’ lived experiences and provide insight for teachers integrating this digital tool into literacy to promote increased reading motivation and engagement. The five major findings include increased a) engagement in reading, b) motivation to read, c) positive attitudes toward reading, d) reading volume, and e) ease of reading using the electronic reader compared to regular books.

This study illuminates the reading possibilities electronic readers offer elementary students by providing choice of and access to a multitude of reading materials based on students’ interests, the opportunity to read anywhere and anytime, and a context through which to interact socially with others about reading. Obtaining documentation directly from students sharing their experiences, this research provides teachers support to pursue the use of electronic readers by offering information on the perceived benefits of incorporating this digital tool into their literacy instruction. In my opinion, the electronic reader, according to this study, is one tool we need to ignite a passion for reading.

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