Summer 8-3-2015



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Rachel Endo

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Kathleen Carthey

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Noah Mass


This study explored how literature circles were used to encourage 32 tenth­grade students enrolled in an English 10 class to generate critical questions about memoirs. The literature review overviewed the philosophy of student­centered classrooms as well as the specific benefits of using literature circles and question­answer relationship (QAR) reading strategies. This study covered a four­week unit where teams of students were observed in interest­based literature circles. Students discussed the texts and recorded questions that they used for discussions. Other data included analysis of teacher­generated reflection journals. The results of the study revealed that the students overall responded positively to the choice of choosing their own groups, and moreover, formed personal connections with text. The findings also revealed that students needed variety in the activities, and more authentic opportunities to engage in inquiry. Perhaps most significantly, the findings revealed that students needed clear guidance from the teacher in order to learn about the context of the stories that they read that would have enabled them to ask the critical questions that would inspire authentic inquiry about real­life social issues and problems that impact their current and future lives.


Curriculum, Literacy, Motivation, Reading

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