Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Missing “R”: A Reluctant Reader in a College Developmental Writing Class
by Young, John P., M.A., Prescott College, 2011, 71; 1503018
Abstract (Summary)

In theory and in practice, reading is kin to writing. However, large numbers of individuals who require developmental (remedial) writing courses in college do very little independent reading, some none at all. They represent in attitude and action the widespread social phenomenon of aliteracy: They have the ability to read, just not the inclination. Though taught the “three R's” in school, they largely spurn the first one except when it is required. Through narrative research, this thesis examines the literacy journey of a college freshman who exhibits aliteracy. Through autobiographical means, it compares/contrasts that person's attitudes and influences with my own as a reader, writer, instructor and researcher who was raised in a print-rich environment. This thesis examines student participation in activities related to dynamic reading (with written analysis, including the choice of key words and themes) of the student's choosing—“reading for pleasure”. While putting a human face on the issue of aliteracy, my research seeks to understand how reading, or an enhanced appreciation for it, fits into a college developmental writing course. It examines the dynamic by which a reluctant reader, reading material of his or her choice, can establish a comfort and confidence level with text that can add to his or her appreciation for writing as a craft and as an expression of self.

Qualitative methods are used to describe the conditions that contribute to one student's reluctance to read. With a semester of instruction as a backdrop, I describe through interviews, and excerpts of the student's work, his involvement in a developmental writing class that emphasizes reading along with composition. This provides a narrative that can help instruct and possibly inspire writing instructors who confront the same problem in the college classroom.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Aldern, Jared
Commitee: Amster, Randall, Oliver, Blair
School: Prescott College
Department: Humanities
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 50/03M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Language arts
Keywords: Aesthetic readers, Aliteracy, Developmental writing, Efferent readers, Functional illiteracy, Reluctant readers
Publication Number: 1503018
ISBN: 978-1-267-07314-3
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