Date of Award

5-2004

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Major

Teacher Education

Major Professor

Lester N. Knight

Committee Members

William G. Brozo, J. Amos Hatch, Jinx S. Watson

Abstract

This interview study explores the legacy of the reading experiences of adults. The researcher, working from a constructivist paradigm, seeks to answer these two questions: (a) What are the characteristics of stories that participants remember, and (b) how do participants say these stories affect their thinking, their character, their worldview?

Eight participants, volunteers and referrals, were interviewed about their memories of their reading experiences. After each initial interview, the researcher read some of the literature cited by the participant as personally significant. A follow-up interview focused on the participant’s response to the literature cited.

The researcher used a typological analysis of data to determine the nature of the literature remembered by readers and the ways in which readers believed that this literature had affected them. The results of the analysis support opinions common in the field about the extent of the impact of the story on readers and provide additional data about the nature of stories remembered. The findings demonstrate the importance of readers’ emotional engagement with their significant stories and the enduring effects of that engagement. Some findings contradict another literacy scholar’s assertion that factual and fictional information are assimilated differently.

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