Date of Award

8-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Teacher Education

Major Professor

Deborah Ann Wooten

Committee Members

Deborah Ann Wooten, Thomas N. Turner, Ralph G. Brockett

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to determine the effectiveness of Nancie Atwell's reading workshop in motivating homogeneously grouped, struggling adolescent readers in a public school setting. This naturalistic, personal narrative describes the Atwell workshop and the modifications made to it for implementation with this group of students. Atwell, a noted reading educator, uses specific strategies to teach the heterogeneously grouped students in her private school in Maine. Her students' independent thinking skills and personal connections to text are remarkable. Since I do not teach in the same environment as Atwell, I modified Atwell's strategies to meet the needs of my students and to teach Tennessee State Standards. I questioned whether this modified workshop approach would engage my students in reading and develop independent thinking skills. Data collected during normal classroom instruction included: teacher observation; student and parent comments (both written and verbal); students‟ written responses on literary letters; shared connections during book talks; and demonstrated critical thinking during class discussions. These data proved the success of the modified workshop. Additionally, recommendations are included to continue and further modify the reading workshop for the next school year. Future data collected will reveal the benefit of students participating in the workshop for two consecutive years.

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