Voices of striving elementary readers: An exploration of the enhancement of struggling reader research through portraiture methodology
This investigation was conducted to determine the value of using self-reports to elicit participant views of their reading struggles and to explore the potential benefits of using portraiture methodology as a means for illuminating the goodness inherent to struggling reader experiences in school. Three fourth grade participants were purposefully selected from one public and two charter elementary schools. Approximately three hours of interviews and 20 hours of observations were completed to collect data from each student over a 20 week period. With the participating students' teachers, approximately two hours of interview data were collected. Artifact gathering and the researcher journal were also used to collect data. The central stories of participants were represented through narratives, found poetry, and participant created poetry.
The significance of this study was revealed in the understanding gained concerning the use of portraiture methodology and the nature of struggling elementary readers. The use of Portraiture methodology resulted in open access to the classroom environment, acceptance by all participants, and immediate changes in teaching behaviors with increased attention to student perspectives. Furthermore, by adhering to student self-reports, several key understandings associated with the persistent struggles of elementary readers were revealed. It was determined that teachers and struggling readers hold differing views of the definition and importance of reading. The readers struggled in reading as it was defined by their teachers. They struggled to adequately perform reading tasks controlled by their teachers due to the contexts of those tasks and the materials used. When tasks honored material of interest to the student, authentic contexts for reading, and individualized purpose, the readers displayed proficient and advanced reading performance.
0535: Reading instruction