Understanding the emergence of aliteracy: a case study of upper elementary students





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This case study research studied the complex construct of aliteracy in upper elementary students. Six students were selected from the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades, through the use of quantitative sources. These sources included report card grades, standardized test scores, and the Motivation to Read Questionnaire results. After the selection of students, qualitative data was provided by the students, eleven parents, and five classroom teachers. Questionnaires, interviews, observations, and reading logs comprised the qualitative data, which was analyzed using grounded theory methods. The substantive theory that emerged from the grounded theory analysis demonstrated how the home and classroom environments produce a unique set of commonalities. These commonalities may perpetuate the development of aliteracy among students in the intermediate grades. Over time these students, who can read proficiently and yet choose not to read for pleasure, may lose valuable reading skills due to the decreasing amounts of time spent reading. They may view reading as strictly a school-related activity, and continue to choose other activities to fill their leisure time. Therefore, it is possible that the decreased amount of time spent reading in a student's upper elementary years may directly impact their future academic and career performance. The increasing numbers of aliterate students in our school systems is a problem that must be fully understood before any school-wide changes can be implemented. Educators and parents must also be educated about the factors that contribute to aliteracy in the home and classroom settings. Reading is essential in today's fast paced information-based society. While it is important that educators teach children how to read proficiently, it is critical that the classroom teachers provide opportunities for them to develop into lifelong readers.

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